General Medical Council – GMC

The General Medical Council (GMC) is a fee-based registered charity with statutory commitment to keep a register of physicians within the United Kingdom.
The GMC was established by the Medical Act 1858.


All the GMC‘s functions stem from a statutory requirement for the establishment and upkeep of a register, which is the conclusive list of doctors as provisionally or completely “signed up doctors”, within the public sector in Britain. The GMC regulates entry to the List of Registered Medical Practitioners (“the medical register”). The Medical Act 1983 (modified) keeps in mind that, “The major goal of the General Council in exercising their functions is to protect, promote and keep the health and wellness of the general public.”.
The GMC controls and sets the standards for medical schools in the UK, and liaises with other nations’ clinical and university regulative bodies over medical schools overseas, leading to some qualifications being mutually acknowledged. Given that 2010, it likewise controls postgraduate clinical education.
Finally, the GMC is responsible for a licensing and revalidation system for all practising doctors in the UK, different from the registration system, which was given legal impact by order of the Privy Council on 3 December 2012.
Provisional registration is granted to those who have actually completed clinical school and enter their very first year (F1) of medical training; this might be converted into full registration upon sufficient completion of the first year of postgraduate training. Limited registration was eliminated on 19 October 2007 and now global clinical graduates can apply for provisional or complete registration depending on their level of experience– they still have to meet the GMC’s requirement for understanding and skills and for English language.

Issues about doctors.
A registered clinical specialist might be referred to the GMC if there are doubts about their fitness to practise in the UK. The GMC has powers to release guidance or cautions to physicians, accept undertakings from them, or refer them to a fitness to practise panel. The GMC’s physical fitness to practise panels can accept undertakings from a physician, issue warnings, impose conditions on a physician’s practice, suspend a doctor, or erase them from the medical register (‘struck off’).

The GMC controls entry to the List of Registered Medical Practitioners (“the medical register”). Provisional registration is given to those who have completed medical school and enter their first year (F1) of clinical training; this may be transformed into full registration upon satisfactory conclusion of the very first year of postgraduate training. Restricted registration was abolished on 19 October 2007 and now global medical graduates can use for provisional or complete registration depending on their level of experience– they still have to meet the GMC’s requirement for understanding and skills and for English language.

The GMC’s fitness to practise panels can accept tasks from a physician, problem warnings, impose conditions on a doctor’s practice, suspend a doctor, or remove them from the clinical register (‘struck off’).

GMC – Self-regulation and complaints handling

Due to its nature the GMC is placed in between the medical occupation and the general public, and has drawn criticism from both sides – from experts for being unduly harsh in its decisions on fitness to practice and from the general public for being too lax.
Issue has also resulted from numerous research studies which have revealed that GMC handling of complaints appear to vary depending upon race or “overseas qualification”, but it has been recommended that this might be due to indirect aspects.
The death and morbidity among doctors going through these treatments has attracted attention. In 2003/4 between 4 and 5% of physicians undergoing fitness to practice examination passed away. In reaction to a request for details in accordance with the Freedom of Details Act 2000, the GMC revealed that 68 medical professionals had actually passed away recently whilst going through a fitness to practice investigation, sustaining doubts about the hearings and sanctions being proportionate and fair.
In an internal report ‘Medical professionals who dedicate suicide while under GMC physical fitness to practise examination’, the GMC identified 114 doctors, with a mean age of 45, who had died during the past 8 years and had an open and revealed GMC case at the time of death, and where 28 had actually dedicated suicide and suggested ’em otional durability’ training for doctors.

Further requests for public document disclosure under the Flexibility of Information Act have been made pending the case being lodged within the European Court of Human Rights.
The Health and wellness Executive’s (HSE) provisional figure for the number of employees fatally injured in 2013/14 is 133, and corresponds to a rate of deadly injury of 0.44 deaths per 100 000 employees. According to the recent Horsfall review the size of the deaths of medical professionals under the GMC procedures in the 8 years in between 2005 and 2013 accounts for over 10% of the USA’s death rate at work of the entire UK workforce, every year and consistently.
According to the HSE’s timeline, no other organisation, besides the GMC, has come anywhere near this occupational death rate.

In a warning on ‘over-regulation’, the Royal College of General Practitioners former chair Dr Clare Gerada commented:
“    We already spend up to £1bn regulating doctors. We are one of the most over-regulated professions around and there will always be people who fall through. If we pile on more and more regulation we will never win.     ”
Following the suicide of Professor John E Davies from Guy’s Hospital, London, the HM Senior Coroner for the area wrote to Niall Dickson with her Regulation 28: Report to Prevent Future Deaths:
“    This is the second death of a doctor that has come before me over the last 2 years where a GMC investigation into the doctor’s practice has been found to play a part    ”

Read more about the General Medical Council…

Civitas, the Doctors’ Policy Research Group has published an interesting document entitled “The General Medical Council: Fit to Practice”. This questions the fitness of the GMC. Read more………….

The GMC provides helpful information for doctors. The following are examples of GMC webpages that members of the DSG may find helpful:-

GMC Decisions on Cases (Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service –

Complaints and the role of the GMC

Guide for Referred Doctors

Undergoing Tests of Competence as part of a Performance Assessment

Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service – MPTS

Interim Orders Panel

Fitness to Practise Panels


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