Regulating doctors, ensuring good medical practice

Publication scheme

Model publication scheme

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), we must adopt and maintain a ‘publication scheme' ('the Scheme') so that information can be made routinely available to the public. 

The GMC and MPTS are subject to the Information Commissioner’s 2009 model publication scheme for all public authorities. The model scheme classifies information at a high level and specifies seven categories of information. Most information we hold falls into one of the seven classes, however, this does not mean we must routinely release all the information covered by these broad definitions. The scheme also sets out the circumstances under which we are not required to make information routinely available. 

You can view the model publication scheme on the Information Commissioner’s website. (pdf)

Definition document for health regulators

In addition to the model scheme, the Information Commissioner has developed a definition document for health regulators which gives examples of the type of information we may publish under the model publication scheme classes. The definition document also sets out the circumstances under which we would not be required to make information routinely available. 

You can view the definition document for health regulators on the Information Commissioner’s website. (pdf). The MPTS is subject to the definition document.

A guide to information available

In operating the scheme, we must provide a ‘guide to information’ giving details of:

  • the information we make routinely available
  • how the information can be accessed; and
  • whether or not a charge will be made for it.

Our official guide to information is available on the GMC’s website and you can find the information we make routinely available under the relevant sections of the website.

Most information provided in our guide is freely available on our website. If you want to obtain information in hard copy or the information listed in the guide is not available from our website, you can request this from us by letter, fax or e-mail. Our contact details are:

Information Access Team
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street,
Manchester
M3 3AW.

Tel: 0161 923 6365
Fax 0161 923 6201
Email: foi@gmc-uk.org

Publication scheme charges

We do not normally make a charge to provide information under our Publication Scheme. We try to make most of our published information available on our website. However, there may be some information which is only available in paper copy or on request for which we may make a charge. 

Sometimes there is a specific charge for information. We will make this clear on the relevant section of our website. Otherwise the following charging policy applies:

Information accessed on-line

Information and publications on our website (including the MPTS website) are available online free of charge. For those without Internet access, we can provide single print outs of web pages for free and this can be arranged by contacting the Information Access Team.

Printouts and Photocopies

Single copies of GMC and MPTS printed publications are available free of charge. To order printed copies of any of our publications,

  • call us on 0161 923 6602 or
  • email gmc@gmc-uk.org or
  • Textphone users: Please use the Text Relay Service; dial the prefix 18001 + 0161 923 6602

We reserve the right to impose a charge for providing information in paper copy. This also applies if we are asked to provide multiple copies, large numbers of documents or information which is archived and no longer on our website.

Charges will be based on costs of retrieval, photocopying, printing and postage. We will let you know how much this will cost at the time of your request and charges will be payable in advance.

Where charges are applied, black and white photocopies and printouts of web pages or documents will be charged at a standard rate of 10p per A4 side of paper plus postage.

Providing Transcripts

The MPTS does not produce publicly available versions of transcripts as part of our regular activities. If you want to obtain a transcript, you will be charged the full cost to produce a public version. The costs are variable but we charge £2.25 per page therefore it will typically cost around £200 to produce a transcript for the first three days of a hearing. This applies to ‘long-hand’ transcripts held at the time of the request by the MPTS. This includes the cost of quality assurance processes to ensure that information we regard as confidential, such as information about the doctor's own health, and the names and contact details of patients or vulnerable witnesses are removed prior to publication.

It is also our policy not to publish or disclose warnings over five years old, or interim orders where the case is closed with no adverse finding. The charge also includes provision for retrieval from our archives and photocopying or scanning. This charge applies equally to paper and electronic copies of transcripts. Postage and packing will be additionally charged for hard copy material. We can provide quotations on request and will require payment in advance.

Please note we do not hold ‘long-hand’ copies of all MPTS transcripts. For example, we do not routinely hold hearing transcripts where a doctor’s fitness to practise is found to be not impaired. This means that some transcripts are only held by our transcribers in their original ‘short-hand’ format which is not in a readable or comprehensible form of words. If you want to obtain a transcript, which we do not hold in an accessible format, you will be charged the full cost to produce a ‘long-hand’ version. The costs are variable but can typically be £700 – £800 for each day’s transcript. Such material will be subject to the same quality assurance procedures outlined above. We would be happy to liaise with our transcribers and request a price quotation for you.

Other formats

We will publish information in Welsh in accordance with the GMC’s Welsh Language Scheme, which we prepare under the Welsh Language Act.

We will take reasonable steps to make information available and accessible in alternative formats and to meet our obligations under disability and other legislation.

Should you require information in an alternative format, please contact the Information Access Team to discuss your request.

Postage

Postage is charged to applicants at cost. Unless otherwise requested information will be sent by Royal Mail second class post. Please see http://www.royalmail.com for details of their current postal charges.

Waiving of fees

We will not normally charge for fulfilling simple requests for information. For example, we will usually waive fees where the costs associated with retrieval, printing, photocopying and postage are less than £50.00 per applicant per twelve month period. However we reserve the right to review our position on charging.

Quick reference list

In addition to our official guide to information, we have also made a general list of publications and other information which we are often asked for and routinely provide. View the List.