What information to share and when

What information needs to be shared

We define three categories of information that should be shared. These include – but are not limited to - concerns that reach the threshold for referring a doctor to the GMC.

  • Information potentially affecting patient safety. This includes, as a minimum, any current local or GMC restrictions on a doctor’s practice. It may also include persistent or unaddressed lower-level concerns that are sufficiently serious to create a risk to patients.
  • Information that could impact negatively on public confidence in the medical profession. This includes, as a minimum, unaddressed concerns about a doctor’s probity and any relevant criminal cautions or convictions.
  • Concerns that a doctor is not engaging with revalidation such that the responsible officer does not feel able to provide assurance about the doctor’s fitness to practise. 

What information should not be shared

Information should not be shared if it does not impact on the care a doctor gives to patients or the confidence that patients should have in the doctor. 

Where a concern is under investigation but not yet substantiated, the doctor’s responsible officer must be informed. The responsible officer should not share this further unless there is an immediate risk to patient safety. 

When and how information should be shared

Information should be shared:

  • with the doctor’s responsible officer
  • as soon as possible after coming to light
  • securely in writing, on a confidential basis.

The responsible officer will then pass on this information to other organisations or individuals that employ, or use the services of, that doctor.

In line with law governing data protection, human rights and confidentiality, doctors should be told that information about them is being shared unless there is good reason not to do so.