The experience of public and patient complainants through our fitness to practise procedures

What were the key findings?

Although the research was focused on identifying suggestions for possible improvements, a number of positive comments were also made regarding aspects of our fitness to practise procedures. These included the initial speed with which the receipt of a complaint is acknowledged, the responsiveness and professionalism of investigation officers, how well the hearings process was organised and the quality of support offered at the hearing stage.

Some examples of suggestions for improvements included:

  • the need for independent advocacy in preparing a complaint to the GMC and during an investigation
  • the need for better communication during an investigation, for instance giving updates on the case, informing complainants what to expect and ideally providing likely timescales involved.

Why did we commission this research?

This research was part of a broader programme of work to understand how those individuals that become involved in our fitness to practise procedures, whether through making a complaint or being the subject of a complaint, experience these procedures and what we can learn from these experiences.

What did the research involve?

In-depth qualitative interviews were undertaken with a sample of members of the public or patients who had submitted and had a complaint taken through to investigation stage and then through to completion of the investigation between July 2012 and September 2013. Interviews focused on possible improvements that could be made to procedures.

How we’re responding to the findings

Our action plan explains what we are doing in response to this research.

Read the full report

Exploring the experience of public and patient complainants who have been through our fitness to practise procedures