Publication scheme

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

The GMC and Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) are subject to the Information Commissioner’s 2009 'model publication scheme' for all public authorities. The model publication scheme is what all authorities should base their publication scheme on. It classifies information at a high level and specifies seven categories of information. Most information we hold falls into one of the seven classes. This does not mean we must routinely release all the information covered by these broad classes. 

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

Definition document for health regulators

As well as the model publication 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 when we don't need to make information routinely available. 

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

List of available information

In operating our publication scheme, we must provide a list of the information available giving details of:

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

Our official list of available information is here.

Most information in the list is freely available on our website. If you want information in hard copy, or if the information listed isn't available from our website, you can ask for it by writing to us:

Information Access team
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Manchester
M3 3AW

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

Publication scheme charges

We don't normally charge for providing information under our publication scheme. We try to make most of our published information available on our website. However, if you want a hard copy, or the information is only available in hard copy, we might need to charge you.

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

Information accessed online

Information and publications on our website (including on the MPTS website) are available for free. For those without internet access, we can provide single print-outs of web pages for free. You can arrange this emailing us (foi@gmc-uk.org) or calling us on 0161 923 6365.

Printouts and photocopies

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

Textphone users: Please use the Text Relay Service; dial the prefix 18001 + 0161 923 6602

We reserve the right to charge you for providing information in hard copy. This also applies if  you ask for 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 you'll need to pay 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.

Getting transcripts of MPTS hearings

The MPTS doesn't produce publicly available versions of hearing transcripts as part of its regular activities. If you'd like a transcript, you'll be charged the full cost to produce a public version.

The costs vary, but we charge £2.25 per page. 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 make sure 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 before publication.

The charge can also include the cost of retrieval from our archives and photocopying or scanning. This charge applies equally to paper and electronic copies of transcripts. The cost of postage and packing will be added for hard copy material. We can give quotations on request and we'll need payment in advance.

It is also our policy not to publish or disclose warnings that are over five years old, or interim orders where the case is closed with no adverse finding.

We don't hold long-hand copies of all MPTS transcripts. For example, we don't 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. If you want a transcript which we do not hold in an accessible format, you'll be charged the full cost to produce a long-hand version. The cost varies 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'd be happy to liaise with our transcribers to get a quote for you.

Getting publications in other formats

We publish information in Welsh in accordance with our Welsh language scheme, which we prepare under the Welsh Language Act.

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

If you need information in a different format, please contact our Information Access team to discuss your request.

What do you charge for postage?

We charge postage to applicants at cost. Unless otherwise requested, information will be sent by Royal Mail second class post. See the Royal Mail website for details of their current postal charges.

Waiving fees

We don't normally charge for fulfilling simple requests for information under our publication scheme. For example, we usually waive fees where the costs associated with retrieval, printing, photocopying and postage are less than £50 per applicant per 12-month period. However, we reserve the right to review our position on charging.