Publication timescales for decisions

J Roberts made this Freedom of Information request to Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service,

I am interested in information concerning the publication of MPTS decisions on delinquent doctors. Where a particular decision has not yet been published on your website it is stated that: 'Full details of this hearing will be published shortly'. However, 'shortly' does not appear to be the right word in many instances. The hearings of, for example, Dr Annie Robertson, Mr Kona Rao and Dr Jane Dyer all concluded in January 2019. The outcome was the same in each case – erasure. However, full details have not yet been published:

https://www.mpts-uk.org/hearings-and-dec...

1. Please provide all recorded information on recommended timescales for the publication of decisions.

2. Please provide all recorded information concerning the time taken to publish decisions after hearings concluded for 2018/19. Perhaps a report was written or some other document prepared which measured the length of time between hearings concluding and decisions being published.

Yours faithfully,

J Roberts

Enquiries, Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service

Thank you for your enquiry.

I have forwarded your email to the Freedom of Information team and they will reply to you.

Yours sincerely

Bernadette Beisty, Governance Officer MPTS

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Dear J Roberts,

Your information request - F19/10239/EH

Thank you for your email dated 20 June, in which you ask for information
regarding the publication of MPTS decisions on doctors.

 

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

Elizabeth Hiley will be handling your request. If you have any questions
you can call her on 0161 923 6314 or email her at
[1][email address].

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lauren Barrowcliffe

Information Access Team Assistant

 

[2][email address]

0161 240 8356

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

 

 

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Elizabeth Hiley (0161 923 6314),

Dear J Roberts

Thank you for your request for information on the time taken for the MPTS to publish decisions after hearings that concluded in 2018/19.

The MPTS is committed to transparency and fairness in its processes, and in the publication of doctors’ fitness to practise history.

After a public hearing, we redact information from a tribunal’s decision in line with the GMC publication and disclosure policy. For example, anonymising the names of witnesses or removing information about a doctor’s health.

When deciding what information to redact we must carefully balance:
• The circumstances of each case on its own merit,
• The need to protect vulnerable individuals with the public interest in openness about our hearings, and
• Confidence in our processes and the profession.

This means that the redaction process can sometimes be complex and time consuming.

In answer to your first question, we have a target in place to publish decisions within 28 days following the conclusion of a hearing. In relation to your second question, we are able to extract current data from our hearing management system.

In 2018 it took us an average of 69 days to publish a decision following the conclusion of a hearing. We recognise that this is too long and have been taking steps to address this. There were a variety of operational reasons for this, including an increase in the number of hearings we had to hold.

To increase transparency, in September 2018 we launched a new website, which includes the outcome of every hearing regardless of whether the full decision has been published yet. Prior to this, no information was published until the record of determination was published.

Throughout 2019 we have been working hard to improve the length of time it takes to publish hearing decisions. So far this year, we have reduced the length of time to an average of 46 days.

We recognise that we still have work to do to reduce this figure further and we have a plan in place to get back to our target of publishing decisions within 28 days.

The figures above are for all public medical practitioners tribunal hearings, but excludes a small number of preliminary hearings, as details of those are not published until the substantive hearing takes place.

I hope this information is helpful.

Finally, the cases you highlighted in your email are all now available to view online:

https://www.mpts-uk.org/hearings-and-dec...
https://www.mpts-uk.org/hearings-and-dec...
https://www.mpts-uk.org/hearings-and-dec...

If you have any queries regarding this request please contact me. If you have any concerns regarding the handling of your request please write to the Information Access Manager at [email address].

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Hiley
Information Access Officer
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street, Manchester, M3 3AW

Telephone: 0161 923 6314
Email: [email address]

Working with doctors Working for patients

The General Medical Council helps to protect patients and improve medical education and practice in the UK by setting standards for students and doctors. We support them in achieving (and exceeding) those standards, and take action when they are not met.

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J Roberts left an annotation ()

Some interesting information on 'ash cash', or more formally the money doctors get for signing cremation forms. The doctor (Mr Rao) was on sick leave, but he came into the hospital to sign the forms (without seeing the bodies).

“38. Mr E explained the payment system in his evidence, namely that the doctor certifying the Cremation Form 5 was paid a fee of £84 which was then charged by the funeral director to the family of the deceased as part of funeral costs. He stated that, when the funeral director picked up the completed Cremation Form 5, the name and details of the doctor were included and when the payment is received for the funeral the funeral director would pay the fee by cheque, made out to the doctor, which was then sent to the doctor at the hospital. This fee was not paid as part of the doctor’s salary or by the Trust and the responsibility lay on the doctor to declare and account for these payments as part of their taxation obligations.”

“The sums involved a significant amount of money, some £1500 in relation to work during a five week period." (page 30)

https://www.mpts-uk.org/-/media/mpts-rod...