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Case Study – Fit to Practice? It’s a question of evidence

Dr X applied to the GMC, for full GMC Registration with a licence to practice.
Within the application, Dr X disclosed details about an incident of plagiarism which occurred a few years previously. Dr X had submitted a report, in which plagiarism was identified. As a result of this incident, the GMC refused Dr X’s application, citing that the Registration Panel could not be satisfied that Dr X’s fitness to practice was not impaired by virtue of the plagiarism incident. Dr X approached MDS for assistance with appealing the GMC’s decision.

MDS Advice
MDS advised Dr X on the information and evidence the Appeal Panel would be interested to see. The Appeal Panel had to consider whether Dr X’s conduct was so serious that a finding of impaired fitness to practise was required, in order to uphold professional standards expected of a doctor. The burden of proof rests with a doctor, to establish that their fitness to practice is not impaired.

The Appeal Panel heard Dr X’s appeal, during which Dr X gave evidence about the incident. The Appeal Panel determined that, based on Dr X’s evidence, his fitness to practice was not impaired and consequently, his appeal was allowed, and the GMC
were directed to grant his application for registration.

Learning Points
• Reflection is important for any doctor – recognise mistakes, errors and points of learning and identify how you can develop insight into such actions

• Be honest – Dr X rightfully made a declaration in his application about the incident and did not seek to hide it

• Always refer back to Good Medical Practice

• Approach your defence organisation for assistance – Dr X’s registration may have been granted if he had obtained advice about the evidence the Registration Panel would have benefitted from seeing, in support of his original application