Working with doctors Working for patients

Doctors under investigation - health assessments

This page provides information about health assessments.

Where the concerns relate to a doctor's physical or mental health, we may require the doctor to undergo a health assessment.

A health assessment may form one part of a wider investigation into a doctor's fitness to practise.

The assessment process

The assessment will take the form of an examination of the doctor's physical or mental health by two doctors selected by the GMC. In many cases, these doctors will be psychiatrists.

Where the doctor is willing to undergo the assessment, the GMC will make arrangements for the examinations to take place.

The two doctors carrying out the examinations will prepare a report covering:

  • whether the doctor is fit to practise either generally or in a limited way;
  • any recommendations about the management of the case.

Refusal to undergo assessment

If the doctor refuses to undergo an assessment or fails to cooperate with the assessment process, the doctor may be referred to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) for a medical practitioners tribunal hearing to consider whether the action is required on their registration.

Decision by case examiners

Following the health assessment, the case will be considered by two senior GMC staff known as case examiners (one medical and one non-medical).

The case examiners will consider all the evidence that has been gathered during the investigation and not just the contents of the health assessment report. There are a number of options available to the case examiners at this stage

  • conclude the case with no further action;
  • refer to the MPTS for a medical practitioners tribunal hearing;
  • agree undertakings;
  • issue a warning except where the issue relates solely to a doctor's health.