Regulating doctors, ensuring good medical practice

GMC responds to independent inquiry report into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust

GMC Statement

24 Feb 2010

Following the publication of the independent inquiry report by Robert Francis QC into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust today, Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council said:

"This is a distressing report that reveals significant failings at Mid-Staffordshire Trust. The report highlights a number of very serious issues about the quality of patient care, including concerns about the conduct and performance of some doctors working at the Trust.  The Medical Director has referred several doctors to the GMC and we are working closely with the hospital to ensure that we have the information we require to investigate and, if necessary, to suspend or restrict their practice during the investigation. We will be in further discussions with the Trust in light of the recommendations made in today’s report."
"The report does raise questions about how doctors and other professionals respond when they see poor quality care. Our guidance, Good Medical Practice, which is the foundation of good care and medical professionalism makes it absolutely clear that all doctors must make the care of their patient their first concern. If any doctor has reason to think that patient safety is, or may be, seriously compromised then they must take steps to put the matter right. If doctors have concerns that a member of the team may not be fit to practise they must take appropriate steps without delay. This includes raising concerns locally and, if there are still concerns about the safety of patients they should inform the relevant regulatory body. Doctors with management responsibility must make sure that there are systems in place through which colleagues can raise concerns about risks to patients.”


Notes to Editors:

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The General Medical Council registers and licenses doctors to practise medicine in the UK. Our purpose is summed up in the phrase: Regulating doctors, Ensuring Good Medical Practice.

The law gives us four main functions:

• keeping up-to-date registers of qualified doctors
• fostering good medical practice
• promoting high standards of medical education
• dealing firmly and fairly with doctors whose fitness to practise is in doubt

Merger of PMETB with GMC

From 1 April 2010, (subject to legislation) the functions of the Post Graduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB) will be transferred to the GMC, creating a simpler and clearer framework for the regulation of medical education and training.

In February 2008, the Secretary of State announced that PMETB would be merged with the GMC, following a recommendation from Sir John Tooke’s Independent Inquiry into Modernising Medical Careers. Following the merger, all stages of medical education and training will fall under the GMC’s remit. For more information please visit or

Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator (OHPA)

From April 2011, the adjudication of fitness to practise cases involving doctors will transfer from the GMC to a new body called the Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator (OHPA). OHPA is being established under the Health and Social Care Act 2008. It is being created to ensure clear separation between the investigation of fitness to practise cases and the process of determining whether a professional’s fitness to practise is impaired.

To begin with, the new body will be responsible for making decisions on fitness to practise cases brought forward by the GMC and, in time, the General Optical Council. Over time, other regulators of healthcare professionals may transfer their adjudication functions to OHPA. For more information about OHPA, please visit

The GMC will remain the regulator for doctors, continuing to set the standards for professional practice and receiving and investigating allegations about their fitness to practise.