What happens if we decide to open a full investigation

If the information we receive suggests a risk to patients, we will need to investigate the concerns further.

How long will a full investigation take?

We know that investigations can be distressing for everyone involved, so we do everything we can to complete them as quickly as possible. The length of time an investigation takes depends on how quickly we receive the information we need to be able to make a decision.

If a concern relates solely to your health condition, we usually complete the investigation within six months. If a health assessment is needed, this part of our investigation will take around three additional months. We’ll let you know if we’re unable to complete our investigation within our usual timeframes.

Can I still work while you are investigating?

Often, we won’t need to restrict your practice while we investigate. But, in some cases it may be necessary to restrict your practice in the short term to protect patients or your own interests.

This doesn’t always mean that you won’t be able to work. But you’ll need to make sure you follow any restrictions placed on your practice.

Who can support me during an investigation?

When we open an investigation, we’ll assign you a GMC officer to guide you through the process. They will be your single point of contact throughout. Their contact details will be on all the correspondence we send you.

You can also get independent advice and support from lots of other organisations across the UK.

Can any reasonable adjustments be made for my needs?

If you have a disability, as defined under the Equality Act 2010 or section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, we’ll look at how we can make reasonable adjustments and remove barriers to you engaging in our processes.

Adjustments are made on a case-by-case basis. An example of a reasonable adjustment is providing information in large print for someone who is visually impaired. Our reasonable adjustments policy gives more information.

We won’t make assumptions about what support a disabled person may need. To help us consider a request for reasonable adjustments, please send your GMC officer the following information:

  • details of why you need a reasonable adjustment, including the nature of your disability 
  • details of the barriers that the adjustments need to address
  • what adjustments you are asking for.

In most cases, we try to make the reasonable adjustment(s) that you ask for.

Health assessments

As part of our investigation, we may ask you to take a health assessment to help us understand any concerns about your health. This will help us to consider whether we need to take any measures to protect patients.

For further information read our health assessment guide.

What happens after the investigation?

Once our investigation is complete, we’ll decide if any action is required. If we’re satisfied there’s no risk to patients or public confidence in the profession, we may close the case with no further action.

Where further action is required, we may invite you to agree undertakings or refer your case to a Medical Practitioners Tribunal hearing.

If we agree undertakings with you or if a Medical Practitioners Tribunal directs an order of conditions or suspension, we'll need to check your compliance. This means we’ll keep in contact with you while any restrictions are in place.