Behind the scenes, the Government has been working on reforms for healthcare regulatory bodies which will mean that they have the power to conclude fitness to practise cases without the need for the matter to be referred to a substantive hearing.
Does the GMC have the power to make findings and sanctions without a fitness to practise hearing?
The regulatory body for doctors, the General Medical Council (GMC) already has the power to make decisions on fitness to practise cases without having to refer the matter to a substantive hearing where the doctor in question agrees with the findings made and measures needed to protect the public.
What will the proposed changes mean?
Following a response to a consultation in 2017, under the new secondary legislation which is currently being developed, the government plans to allow all healthcare regulators to be given the authority to dispose of fitness to practise cases without the need for a substantive hearing. It is hoped that this will enable fitness to practise cases “to be concluded quickly, proportionately and fairly, replacing the current bureaucratic, time consuming processes that are burdensome and can be stressful for patients, their families, registrants and employers”.
Stephen Hammond, the Health Minister has stated that the proposed changes in the law will “allow regulators to dedicate more of their resources to supporting the professionals working in our NHS and contribute to safe, high-quality patient care”.
How can we help?
If you are a healthcare professional facing a fitness to practise investigation and our unsure whether to agree with the proposals being made by your regulatory body of if you are a healthcare professional facing a substantive fitness to practise hearing, please contact us.