If you are on the Register and have knowledge and information that is relevant to the investigation it is most likely you should cooperate.

In this hypothetical circumstance, it would also probably be the hypothetical case the incident the GMC are investigating occurred in the workplace and they sought your evidence only after a local investigation.  It would be worth bearing in mind Domain 4 of Good Medical Practice and in particular rule 73 which provides that “you must cooperate with formal enquiries and complaints procedures and must offer all relevant information while following the guidance on confidentiality”.

The GMC has powers under the Medical Act 1983 to require the disclosure of information.  The GMC may require a practitioner or any other person who, in its opinion, can supply information or produce any document which appears relevant, to supply that information or document.  The power also includes a power to apply to the county court for an order for the delivery up of a document or information.

You should further bear in mind Rules 72 and 74 in Domain 4 of GMP.    To paraphrase; they cumulatively provide that any evidence you give you should be accurate and you should only give evidence on facts that are within your knowledge or expertise.

One further consideration is the patient’s right to confidentiality and the Data Protection Act 2018 (“DPA”).  In providing information regard should be had as to whether any redactions or omissions are proportionate and in keeping with the DPA Guidelines.

Commonly, one of the first steps the GMC take following a FTP complaint is to contact the trust or employer requesting information.  This could well include any information you provided to them during any complaint procedure.

The extent of your cooperation and what the GMC require from you will depend on how relevant and important your evidence is and the stage the investigation reaches.  Let us suppose the investigation is only at the preliminary enquiries stage and your evidence is only a little above superfluous.  In that case after only a telephone conversation the GMC may elect not require anything further from you.  If however you were a key witness to a serious event at work and the allegations were contested then you would likely not only be called upon to give a statement but also to attend the hearing and be examined and cross examined by the GMC and the Doctor’s representatives.  Be careful to ensure that where your statement is being prepared by the GMC’s lawyers it truly and accurately reflects what you want to say and how you would say it, there will be occasions where you should seek independent advice on the evidence you are being asked to give.  It is likely your identity will be kept from any public record and you could request video evidence or a screen if you felt intimated or unable to give clear evidence otherwise in those cases.  As a GMC witness they will likely discuss such arrangements with you and provide some guidance on giving evidence.

If you have any queries about your position having witnessed an incident or you are concerned about giving evidence, please contact us if you feel you might like advice.