New disclosure requirements for English practitioners

MOST GPs and GDPs in England will be aware that on 1 April the new Performers List Regulations 2013 came into effect. Previously local PCTs held their own performers lists but now with the reconfiguration of primary care services in England and the disbanding of individual PCTs, one central performers list will be maintained by a new overarching NHS Commissioning Board. The list will be administered on a local level by local area teams (LATs).

MDDUS is advising members affected to familiarise themselves with the new regime if they have not already done so.

Among changes of particular significance under sections 4 and 9 of the new regulations is a requirement that practitioners on a performers list disclose certain investigations to their LAT, regardless of whether any finding has been made against them. More specifically this means that a GP must inform the LAT if he or she “becomes the subject of, or has had an adverse finding made as a result of, any investigation by any regulator or other body”.

It is presumed this includes Ombudsman’s, GMC/GDC and SUI-type investigations on a local level but given the lack of clarity we would urge any members who are unsure as to whether they need to inform their LAT of an investigation to contact the MDDUS for advice and assistance. The same requirements also apply for investigations or adverse findings in previous employment.

Section 9 of the regulations also requires disclosure of involvement in a coroner’s inquest. This includes anyone who falls within Rule 20(2)(d) or Rule 24 of the Coroner’s Rules 1984 whose “acts or omissions may have caused or contributed to the death”, or who is considered by the coroner to be a properly interested person (PIP) in an inquest. Again, this is something of a grey area as there is a lack of uniformity between coroners as to what makes a witness a PIP. We would therefore advise any member to seek assistance from MDDUS straight away in order that we can assist both with the inquest and with the LAT disclosure.

Disclosure is required within seven days of being informed of an investigation or being called as a witness at an inquest and we urge members to act without delay in complying with the regulations. If in any doubt, please contact the MDDUS for assistance.

Susan Trigg, solicitor, MDDUS