On 11th June 2012 the General Medical Council (GMC) launched the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) as the new adjudication service for fitness to practise hearings. Based in Manchester City Centre, the new service has been established following a government consultation which recommended that the GMC separate its investigative role from its adjudicative function.

The establishment of the MPTS produces a greater distinction between the body responsible for the investigation of allegations and that responsible for making decisions in relation to a doctor’s fitness to practise.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC described the launch of the MPTS as “the biggest change to doctor’s fitness to practise hearings for more than 150 years’.  The change is a central part of the wider GMC reforms which aim to increase professional and public confidence in the independence and impartiality of decisions made.

Whilst the MPTS remains part of the GMC, it is operationally separate from its complaints handling and investigation. The service is accountable to Parliament and is led by an independently appointed Chair and senior member of the judiciary; His Honour Judge David Pearl.

In relation to the MPTS HHJ Pearl stated “one of my earliest priorities is to make improvements to the way that panellists are trained and performance managed through regular appraisal and quality assurance, which will bolster the quality of decision making’.

It is also expected that new statutory rules governing MPTS procedures will be approved by Parliament in 2013.

At Farleys we are experienced in representing doctors involved in GMC proceedings and our office is based in central Manchester, close to the MPTS hearing centre. To contact a solicitor for legal representation at the MPTS, or need advice on defending an investigation by the GMC, please do not hesitate to contact us.

By Paul Schofield, Professional Disciplinary Defence Lawyer