What happens at the end of an investigation

Once we’ve completed our investigation, we’ll disclose all the evidence we’ve gathered to the doctor. The doctor will have the chance to comment before two of our senior decision makers decide the outcome of the investigation.

In the majority of cases we won’t need any input from you at this stage, but we’ll sometimes ask you to verify comments provided by the doctor. For example, if the doctor tells us they have undertaken further training or voluntarily restricted their practise, we may ask you to confirm this.

Once we’ve made our decision, we’ll tell the doctor and write to you and all recent employers to let them know.

Potential outcomes

At the end of an investigation, we can:

Close the case with no action where there is no evidence to suggest that a doctor’s fitness to practise might be impaired.

Close the case with advice regarding a doctor’s future conduct where there is no evidence to suggest that a doctor’s fitness to practise might be impaired but there is a clear breach of Good medical practice. We will outline the advice when we tell you the outcome of our investigation.

Issue a warning where a doctor’s behaviour or performance is significantly below the standards expected of doctors and should not be repeated, but where we don’t consider that the doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired.

If the doctor accepts the warning, it will be published on the medical register for two years. We’ll share the details of the warning with you when we tell you the outcome of our investigation.

If the doctor doesn’t accept the warning we’ll refer the matter to an Investigation Committee. Their role is to decide whether a warning is appropriate, and the wording of the warning.

Agree undertakings with the doctor about their future practice.

We use undertakings where we have concerns about a doctor’s performance or health and feel that agreed restrictions will address our concerns and protect the public.

We often seek your input to make sure the doctor will be able to meet the terms of the undertakings within their current post. We may also seek your agreement on who will be responsible for supervising the doctor.

We publish undertakings on the medical register and also share them with you. There may be certain restrictions relating to the doctor’s health that we do not publish or share to protect the doctor’s privacy.

Once undertakings are in place, our Case Review team monitor compliance.

Refer the doctor to a medical practitioners tribunal hearing where the allegations suggest such a serious failure to meet our standards that, if proven, their fitness to practise would be impaired. We would also refer a doctor to a hearing for certain convictions, cautions or a determination from another regulatory body.

Medical practitioners tribunal hearings are run by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS). They operate a public hearing service and their decisions are fully independent of our investigations.