New tribunal to establish whether doctors are fit to practice
A new tribunal has been set up to consider whether doctors are fit to practice. The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has the power to remove or suspend a doctor registered to work in the UK. The service is part of the General Medical Council (GMC) but will operate independently from GMC complaint handling, investigation and case presentation. It is based in Manchester and led by a senior judicial figure, accountable to Parliament.GMC Chief Executive, Niall Dickson has said that the launch of the MPTS is the biggest change to doctors’ fitness to practise hearings for more than 150 years and represents a clear separation between investigations and the decisions made about a doctor’s fitness to practise. Unlike the previous system, the oversight of MPTS work is quite separate from the GMC’s investigatory activity.Mr Dickson added: “We hope that the MPTS will strengthen professional and public confidence that our hearings are impartial, fair and transparent – the fact that the service is led by a judicial figure who has a direct line to Parliament should provide that assurance.”Sandra Patton, Head of Medical Injury at Ashtons Legal solicitors, comments: “Any change that increases the independence of those who make decisions about doctors and their competency and behaviour is a positive step. We do come across medical injury cases where the failures of medical care go to the heart of whether a doctor should be providing medical care and I am hopeful that the introduction of a non-medic to oversee the tribunal will help to reassure patients that their complaint is being dealt with fairly and robustly”.
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