Working with doctors Working for patients

An introduction to the MPTS

This page provides information about the MPTS and the adjudication process.

Contents

Introduction

After a complaint is received about a doctor and enquiries have been carried out, the GMC decides whether to refer the doctor to a medical practitioners tribunal hearing with the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS).

The GMC will consider both the seriousness of the allegations and the likelihood of being able to prove the case at a hearing.

If the case examiners or the Investigation Committee are satisfied that there is a realistic prospect of establishing that the doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired, the doctor will be referred for a medical practitioners tribunal hearing.

Sometimes, if the GMC believes it is necessary, we ask the doctor to appear before an Interim Orders Tribunal of the MPTS, which has the power to suspend or impose conditions on the doctor’s registration while questions about the doctor’s fitness to practise are resolved.

Who makes the decisions?

Medical and lay members appointed to sit on the Interim Orders Tribunals and Medical practitioners tribunals.

The lay members are independent, but are required to take account of the GMC’s guidance.

Interim orders tribunal

Interim orders tribunal consider whether a doctor’s registration should be restricted, either by suspension or by imposing conditions on their registration, while questions about the doctor’s fitness to practise are resolved.

This ensures that we can take action to protect the public while we carry out our enquiries into the doctor’s fitness to practise.

The interim orders tribunal meets in private, unless the doctor requests a public hearing.

Medical practitioners tribunals

Medical practitioners tribunal hear evidence and decide whether a doctor's fitness to practise is impaired.

If the tribunal concludes that a doctor's fitness to practise is impaired it may:

  • take no action
  • accept undertakings offered by the doctor provided the tribunal is satisfied that such undertakings protect patients and the wider public interest
  • place conditions on the doctor's registration
  • suspend the doctor's registration
  • erase the doctor's name from the medical register, so that they can no longer practise.

If a tribunal concludes that the doctor's fitness to practise is not impaired, it may issue a warning to the doctor.

Medical practitioners tribunals meet in public, except when considering evidence relating to a doctor's health.

Further information can be found on the MPTS website.