GMC Hearings Should be Held in Public in Most Cases

GMC Hearings to be Held in PublicThe High Court has confirmed that all General Medical Council (GMC) fitness to practise hearings should be held in public, unless there are exceptional circumstances that would render a hearing ineffective because a witness refuses to give evidence in public. All patients who give evidence in GMC proceedings are anonymised and so very few people would be able to identify a patient.

In the case of Miller v General Medical Council [2013] EWHC 1934 (Admin) (July 2013) the High Court criticised a panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) for too readily ordering that a doctor’s fitness to practise hearing be heard in private. The court held that even where certain evidence might be held in private, because a witness would not otherwise give evidence, that did not mean that the whole of the proceedings should be held in private. The starting point is that all GMC cases will be held in public, for the whole of the case. Witnesses giving evidence in GMC proceedings should expect that the process of GMC hearings may on occasions, regrettably, cause them some embarrassment but the overall interests of justice require there to be open justice in the public interest and in pursuance of the doctor’s right to a fair hearing in public. Such an approach is required by the Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

See also our article on Anonymity of Doctors’ Names in GMC/MPT Cases

Doctors Defence Service represents doctors in GMC and MPTS legal proceedings. Contact us in strict confidence on: 0800 10 88 739

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Doctors Defence Service (DDS) assists medical doctors who are registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) in the United Kingdom (UK) and also those doctors from abroad who wish to register and practise as doctors in the UK. Doctors Defence Service also assists doctors in relation to all other legal issues arising from daily practice and operating businesses in the clinical arena. DDS represents doctors in FTP and IOP GMC proceedings, at inquests, in general civil cases, in commercial and contract law, in revalidation matters, and employment law. Doctors Defence Service can be contacted on 0800 10 88 739. We have main offices in London, Manchester, and Telford. We cover most other UK regions too.