GMC seeks views on new tribunal service

DOCTORS are being asked their views on GMC plans to create a new tribunal service to run doctors’ hearings.

The regulator wants to set up the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service which would take responsibility for running hearings and for the decisions panels make. The aim is for the new tribunal service to be separate from the GMC’s work in investigating cases and presenting them to the tribunal. The GMC said the new service would be led by an independent chair with “significant judicial experience”.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: “Panels already make their own decisions and they do not always accept what the GMC proposes. But we believe we can enhance this autonomy and make it absolutely clear that the appointment and management of panels and the monitoring of their decisions are all under independent control. It will also mean a clear separation between our investigation work and hearings.”

The GMC’s consultation also contains proposals for a number of reforms to speed up the hearing process. These include the use of legally qualified chairs and more effective management of cases as they are prepared for the hearing stage.

The consultation follows the Government’s decision not to proceed with the establishment of the Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator (OHPA).

The GMC is consulting separately on major changes to the way fitness to practise cases are dealt with at the end of an investigation. These are designed to encourage doctors to accept the GMC’s proposed sanctions without the need to refer the case for a hearing.

The consultation is open until Monday, June 13. Full details are available at www.gmc-uk.org/ftpreformconsultation