Working with doctors Working for patients


The General Medical Council is responsible for ensuring that doctors in the UK meet the standards of good medical practice we set for them. This means that in more serious cases, we can take action to stop a doctor from practising or to restrict their practice in some way.

If you think your doctor is not fit to practise or may be a risk to patients, then please contact us.

If you are not sure whether you should make a complaint, it may be helpful to discuss your concerns with us by ringing 0161 923 6602. All calls are confidential and we will advise you what to do.

These are examples of the types of cases where we may need to act:

  • serious or repeated mistakes in carrying out medical procedures or in diagnosis, such as prescribing drugs in a dangerous way
  • failure to examine a patient properly or to respond reasonably to a patient’s needs
  • serious concerns about knowledge of the English language
  • abuse of professional position (for example, improper sexual or emotional relationship with a patient or someone close to them)
  • discrimination against patients, colleagues and other people
  • fraud or dishonesty
  • serious breaches of a patient’s confidentiality
  • violence, sexual assault or indecency
  • any serious criminal offence – If you think that a doctor has committed a criminal offence, you should contact the police as well as the GMC.

What can the GMC do?

If we identify concerns about the doctor that means we need to take action, we can:

  • issue a warning
  • agree undertakings, for example they agree to re-train, or work under supervision
  • refer the doctor to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service for a medical practitioners tribunal hearing which as well as the above can additionally:
    • put conditions on the doctor’s registration so that they are only allowed to do medical work under supervision or so that they are restricted to certain areas of practice
    • suspend the doctor’s name from the register – so that they cannot practise during the suspension period
    • remove the doctor’s name from the register.

What can’t the GMC do?

We cannot:

  • give you a detailed explanation of what happened to you – this can only come from the doctor or the healthcare organisation
  • order a doctor to provide the treatment you want
  • help you with a claim for compensation
  • fine a doctor
  • order a doctor to give you access to your records
  • make a doctor apologise to you.

What next?

For examples of typical complaints and advice on what to do, you might like to visit our Case studies section.

See what the GMC’s process for handling complaints is in our Handling complaints section.

If it is clear to you that your complaint should be dealt with by the GMC, you can complete the on-line GMC complaints form now. A link to the complaints form can also be found under the Extra information right hand menu.

Alternatively, use the Who to Complain to section to explore other options for making a complaint.