Psychiatric Assessments arranged by the General Medical Council
The General Medical Council (GMC) will ask two Consultant Psychiatrists to give their opinion on whether a doctor is fit to practise, where the doctor’s conduct or a fitness to practise allegation / referral raises concerns that a doctor’s fitness to practise may be impaired or that the doctor may be unsuitable to become (re)registered. The GMC pays for such reports out of GMC funds. The defence may instruct their own psychiatrist at various procedural stages, too.
The GMC specifically asks the psychiatrist to provide a written opinion on a doctor’s fitness to practise, by asking the psychiatrist to comment on whether:
a) Dr A is fit to practise without restriction
b) Dr A is not fit to practise, or
c) Dr A is not fit to practise except on a limited basis, or
d) Dr A is not fit to practise except under medical supervision, or
e) Dr A is not fit to practise except on a limited basis and under medical supervision, or
f) Dr A suffers from a recurring or episodic condition which although in remission at the time of your assessment, may be expected in future to render her unfit to practise, or unfit to practise except on a limited basis or under medical supervision or both.
GMC Definition of Medical Supervision:
‘Medical supervision is the framework the GMC uses to monitor a doctor’s health and progress during a period of restricted practise. Doctors whose fitness to practise is impaired as a result of adverse physical or mental health must have a medical supervisor.
The medical supervisor is appointed from an approved list held by the GMC. The medical supervisor is not responsible for or involved in the doctor’s treatment or care. The supervisor meets with the doctor regularly to discuss their progress, and liaises with any treating doctors, as well as the workplace, clinical or educational supervisors. The medical supervisor will obtain information from a variety of sources but will not disclose confidential information to an employer without the doctor’s consent.
The medical supervisor reports to the GMC on a regular basis, setting out their opinion about the doctor’s progress under treatment, whether the doctor is complying with conditions or undertakings and the doctor’s fitness to practise in general.‘
See the GMC Conditions Bank and Glossary for more details of the restrictions that might be put in place.
The same approach might also be adopted where the doctor is suffering from a physical condition. In such an instance the doctor would be asked to see an expert physician. See also our page on GMC Health Cases.
Doctors Defence Service defends doctors in all GMC / MPTS proceedings. To contact a specialist lawyer in confidence about any regulatory matter or in th eevent that a psychiatric opinion is requested, call us for advice on: 0800 10 88 739