Working With Solicitors Who Defend General Medical Council Registrants
The General Medical Council is responsible for protecting patients, and ensuring that doctors behave in a safe and professional manner at all times. In 2016, there were more than 8,000 complaints made against doctors, however of those complaints fewer than 1,500 resulted in an investigation being performed. The investigations and tribunals can take a long time to play out so results of those have not been published yet – however, in general fewer than one in one hundred doctors who are complained about face sanctions.
Even knowing those statistics, the thought of being faced with an investigation is not a pleasant one, and it can become even harder to navigate this when you are faced with a situation where a patient has made a complaint against you – but still wishes to be treated by you.
Your first step, after receiving a letter from the GMC, should be to contact a GMC complaint investigation lawyer and ask for advice. Do this before responding to the complaint, and follow any advice that they give. For information on hiring an effective lawyer for this task, this page may be of some help.
If you are dealing with a patient that wishes to remain under your care, then it would be beneficial to your case to continue treating the patient as long as they are compliant and there is still some trust. If you feel that there is no trust, and you worry that the patient is not getting the care that they need, then you will be better off, in a lot of instances, if you end the professional relationship and refer the patient to a senior colleague.
You should work with a senior colleague in any case, to determine if there is any validity to the complaint that the patient has made. The GMC does not wish to catch doctors out, and will look favorably upon a doctor who is willing to learn and to work to improve themselves. If there is some validity to the complaint that was made, discuss options with your colleagues, seek out training, and develop an action plan to ensure that you are able to offer better treatment to future patients.
A GMC complaint is something that can be a huge source of stress, but as long as you have been following best practices, you do not need to worry too much. Document everything you can as soon as the complaint is made, and work with your lawyer to build a good case.