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Filing your Fitness To Practise Complaint with the GMC

Filing your Fitness To Practise Complaint with the GMC

My Fitness To Practise complaint was compiled in a Microsoft Word document and then filed using the GMC’s website online form in 2016. Be clear about the incident you are complaining about. Include chronology and all events that are relevant. Set out you allegation clearly and make your position very clear. You will be allowed to attaching documents using the online form and the GMC will usually respond quickly once they receive your complaint. 

Be aware there are eight thousand plus complaints a year so make sure you read my GMC Guide What you should know before you begin your FTP complaint

The GMC Fitness to Practise statistics page is here and lists 2009 – 2019 Fitness To Practise figures. These include the number of complaints filed per year, who by and the numbers investigated. The numbers closed without action is a mean average of 75% of cases.  I find the increase in closed cases alarming. Especially after 2014/15 when the GMC introduced the ‘preliminary investigation’ stage.

This, in reality, meant case examiners could close cases in the early stage if the criteria were met for ‘a single clinical incident.’ In my view and from cases I have gained access too, there seems to be no understanding or allowance for the seriousness of the case, oversight or injury to the patient. It would appear when patients, service users die or are subject to severe harm and long term injury, case examiners can no close cases without further investigation.

GMC registered Doctors who have possibly killed or seriously harmed patients in their care may have their cases closed at this preliminary stage after the triage stage. Regardless of the outcome for patients and service users. The case examiners and Assistant Registrars are given carte blanc to close cases without any further investigation from even GMC experts. The criteria for this threshold and implementation of the single clinical incident preliminary stage does not appear to be publically available.

This to many people may prove to be the most upsetting and distressing abuse of power when Filing your Fitness To Practise complaint with GMC. In the face of suffering and sometimes, catastrophic outcomes for patients. It seems the GMC protect their registrants at any cost. Unless you witness this behaviour and conduct first hand and have been involved in this process, it’s hard to believe this practice is acceptable by any regulatory authority in 2019.

In view of Morecambe Bay, Gosport and the NMC Investigations in 2018 it appears little has changed, the public is still being misrepresented and unsupported when they raise concerns. The previous enquiries are a testimony to the lapses in standards and the self-regulation that still exists. The government, especially the health minister needs to gain more insight, scrutinise regulators to make sure there is a fair balance between the public/layperson and clinical professionals opinion when things go wrong. 

Don’t think for a moment if you have disclosed your information to a regulatory body they will automatically act on your concerns. Doctors have rights and are given multiple chances and opportunities to respond to FTP concerns. Some don’t comment, some show no remorse, insight or remediation. Some are arrogant beyond belief and defend their position in the face of overwhelming clinical evidence to the contrary. This is par for the course, get used to it.

As a (complainant) referrer you will not be afforded the same rights as the Doctors who are heavily protected by the Medical Defence Union (MDU) and Medical Protection Society (MPS). They of course subscribe and pay subscriptions to these organisations who will aggressively defend them. You get to see very little in the way of comments and responses from Doctors. Even where GMC experts comment in favour of your concerns or complaint, the GMC refuses to disclose documentation to you in case it prejudices the case against the Doctor.

Expect to be on the back foot from the onset, the regulators continue to make up their own rules as they go along and don’t follow their Fitness to Practise Rules or Guidance. Unless of course, you point out their failings or ommissions to them and they agree they have complied. 

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