GMC Undertakings and Doctors
An undertaking is a written agreement (a bit like a contract) between a doctor and the GMC that the doctor will work within prescribed parameters, often in a particular specialism or training setting. A doctor must consent to abide by undertakings; they cannot be imposed upon a doctor where a doctor formally opposes undertakings. In such circumstances a doctor is likely to be referred to a fitness to practise hearing. In some instances, doctors may fare better at such a hearing, obtaining workable conditions that are less onerous that the terms of the proposed undertakings. Each case turns on its own facts.
Undertakings may relate to:
a) restrictions on the doctor’s practice;
b) restrictions as to the doctor’s behaviour;
c) commitments placed on a doctor to practise under clinical supervision;
d) commitments placed on a doctor to undergo re-training;
e) a doctor being monitored as to their health.
There is a variety of undertakings that can be imposed. For more information, see the GMC’s Undertakings Bank, which sets out a number of undertakings that may be imposed in a number of different situations.
Undertakings are often imposed where there are concerns about competence or adverse mental or physical health. Evidence of progress, remediation and safe working is usually required over time. There are many doctors who live and work quite well with significant mental health problems, that may go into remission but which leave a vulnerability that needs to be monitored. Visit our GMC Health Cases page for more details about how a doctor’s fitness to practise is assessed in regard to health concerns.
The GMC has to power to vary and revoke undertakings. Signifiant evidence will be needed to be able to revoke undertakings altogether. For further reading on GMC undertakings, see the GMC’s Guidance on Varying and Revoking Undertakings. See also the Supplementary Guidance on Revocation of GMC Undertakings (2016).
For assistance with dealing with the GMC about any issue concerning Undertakings, contact Doctors Defence Service in strict confidence on: 0800 10 88 739