number of doctors commiting suicide under GMC

elz100 made this Freedom of Information request to General Medical Council

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The request was successful.

Dear General Medical Council,

Please could you supply me with the following-

1) An update on 'the number of doctors who have committed suicide in the last 5 years while under GMC investigations'.

2) number of doctors who have committed suicide in the last 5 years while under GMC restrictions.

3) number of doctors investigated and given undertakings purely for having a mental health problem in last 5 years.

Yours faithfully,


FOI, General Medical Council

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Information access team

General Medical Council

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Telephone: 0161 923 6365

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FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Amy,


Your information request – F17/9069/ME

Thank you for your email dated 26^th August 2017, in which you ask for
information regarding doctors committing suicide under the GMC.


How we will consider your request


You’ve asked that we  consider your request under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA). The FOIA gives us 20 working days to respond,
but we’ll come back to you as soon as we can.


Who to contact


Mark Ellen will be handling your request. If you have any questions you
can call him on 0161 923 6347 or email him at [1][email address].


Yours sincerely,




Natasha Whittaker

Information Access Assistant

[2][email address]

0161 240 8178

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street


M3 3AW


Mark Ellen (0161 923 6347), General Medical Council

Dear Amy


Reference: IAT/ME/F17/9069


Thank you for your e-mail of 26 August 2017. 


As you may be aware, in December 2014 the GMC published a review into
doctors who had taken their own lives whilst under the GMC fitness to
practise procedures. The review looked at all such deaths that had an open
and disclosed GMC case between 1 January 2005 and 31 December 2013. A link
to the review is here:

You will see that the review identified a total of 114 doctors who had
died whilst there was an open and disclosed fitness to practise case
concerning them. Of this number, 24 doctors had taken their own lives and
4 were suspected of having done so. 


The review covers the earlier years. I can confirm that in 2014 there was
1 doctor who was under GMC investigation and where an inquest has recorded
a verdict of suicide. This is the only record we have of a doctor in the
years 2014-2016 who took their own life whilst under active investigation,
though there were 2 doctors during this period who took their own lives
whilst they had undertakings on their registration.


As regards doctors who have been investigated and given undertakings in
respect of a mental health problem.  As at June this year, there were 265
licensed doctors with effective conditions or undertakings related to

From 2012 to 2016 a total of 824 doctors were considered under our health
procedures and of these, a total of 612 doctors were considered for an
organic mental health condition.

Please note, we have defined mental health as either an organic mental
health condition or a substance abuse condition.

Please also note that the numbers referred to above are doctors who have
had a health assessment where the investigation case was closed between
2012 and 2016. The number of doctors includes those who were found by
either or both health assessors not to have a health condition which
affected their fitness to practise.


The outcome of the 824 doctors breaks down as follows: 



Investigation Outcome Grand Total
Erasure 31
Voluntary Erasure 45
Suspension (Ave length 9 months) 61
Condition (Ave length 21 months) 16
Undertaking 434
Warning 20
Closed 154
Closed - Advice 49
No action at hearing 14
Grand Total 824


The investigation outcome may or may not solely relate to the doctor’s
health. A doctor cannot be subject to a disciplinary erasure solely for
health reasons. 


I hope that this information is helpful to you. 



Kind regards

Mark Ellen






Mark Ellen

Information Access Team

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester  M3 3AW

Direct Line: 0161 923 6347


Dear Mark Ellen (0161 923 6347),
Thank you for your response, that is helpful.
Unfortunately I was given undertakings purely for being off sick with a health condition, when I had never done anything wrong, so that is not true.
I do know it says in your own guidelines a doctor won't be given limitations just for having a health problem, so its a shame the guidelines aren't followed.

Yours sincerely,

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