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Fitness to Practice (FTP) procedures

Post date: 04/07/2017 | Time to read article: 1 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 18/05/2020

Written by a senior professional

Sometimes, when an adverse incident occurs, the GMC can take action if a doctor’s fitness to practise is called into question, which could be due to:

  • Misconduct
  • Poor performance
  • A criminal conviction or caution in the UK (or elsewhere for an offence that would be a criminal offence if committed in the UK)
  • Physical or mental ill health
  • A decision by a regulatory body either in the UK or overseas.
  • Following a complaint to the GMC, FTP procedures begin.

    The procedures are divided into two stages:

Investigation – The GMC investigates cases to see whether they need to be referred to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS).

Adjudication – Hearings for cases which are referred are conducted by an MPTS FTP Panel.


Sometimes, concerns that are raised in a complaint to the GMC may not raise concerns about a doctor’s fitness to practise. In such cases, the matter is usually referred on to the doctor’s employer. If a concern does raise questions about a doctor’s fitness to practise, investigations will begin.

The complaint is disclosed to the doctor’s employer or sponsoring body. At this stage, the doctor is given the opportunity to comment on the complaint.

Panels hear evidence and decide whether a doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired. These allow the GMC to respond to the most serious concerns which call into question a doctor’s fitness to practise and right to retain unrestricted registration.

Hearings are the final stage of procedures following a complaint about a doctor.

You can either download a PDF version of the guide by clicking here or use the links at the bottom of each page to read online.

<< Chapter 4: Professionalism - What to do when things go wrong How do FTP hearings work? >> 

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