New tribunal service taking over hearings from 11 June
We have set up the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) to run the hearings at which decisions are made about doctors’ fitness to practise.
This will make sure our role in investigating complaints about doctors is entirely separate from running the hearings at which decisions about their fitness to practise are made.
The MPTS will make impartial decisions about doctors’ fitness to practise. It will still be part of the GMC, but it will operate on a separate basis, its decision making will be independent and it will be accountable to Parliament. It is led by His Honour David Pearl, an experienced judge, who was appointed by an independent process.
Under the legislation that governs the GMC we cannot make the MPTS an independent body, but we have separated it from our other fitness to practise work.
How will it work?
Staff in our fitness to practise directorate will continue to investigate complaints about doctors, collect evidence and present cases against doctors at hearings where we believe this is necessary to protect patients and maintain confidence in the profession.
MPTS staff, who are separately managed, will run hearings, and recruit and performance manage independently appointed medical and lay panellists.
The MPTS will be based in a dedicated hearing centre in Manchester, separate from the GMC offices in Manchester, London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff.
At a fitness to practise hearing, MPTS panellists will hear evidence from both the GMC and the doctor’s lawyer. They will then make an impartial decision about whether the evidence presented proves that the doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired and, if so, what sanction might be needed to protect patients.
Interested in becoming a panellist?
The MPTS needs more medical panellists. MPTS panels are made up of both medical and lay members who assess the evidence presented at a hearing to decide if the doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired.
If you are interested in this role, the MPTS is holding a number of awareness sessions in Manchester where you can find out more about what is involved. If you are interested in attending a session, please email email@example.com. For more information, visit our recruitment site.
Why are we doing this?
In 2008, the Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator (OHPA) was set up to take over fitness to practise hearings for the GMC and the General Optical Council. This was to make sure people could be confident that decisions about health professionals’ fitness to practise were totally independent and impartial.
However, in 2010, the Government concluded that the costs of setting up the OHPA were disproportionate to the benefits it would bring.
Instead, the government asked the GMC to produce proposals for clear independent decision making within the organisation itself. We consulted on proposals to create the MPTS. The MPTS will provide the clear separation between investigating complaints and running hearings that OHPS was intended to achieve, but without the costs or some of the complexities of establishing a totally new organisation.
Introducing the MPTS is an important part of our wider programme to modernise and reform our fitness to practise procedures, on which we consulted in 2011.
Find out more
Until 11 June, visit www.gmc-uk.org/mpts.
From 11 June onwards, you can also visit www.mpts-uk.org.
We have written to everyone involved in a fitness to practise or interim orders hearing due to take place on or around 11 June 2012. If this applies to you, and you have not heard from us, or you have any questions or concerns please call us on 0161 923 6602.