If the case is with the Medical Practitioners Tribunal (“MPT”) they will still consider fitness to practise (“FTP”) and exercise their discretion.

Dr M was a 64 year old fully registered doctor, he had been working in the UK but after the GMC had started proceedings against him he had he moved abroad and was living and working as a doctor under a different regulator (the evidence was that that regulator had no issues with his continuing as a doctor there).  The initial regulatory proceedings against him were heard in late 2017 and he was suspended.  The proceedings related to over-prescribing thyroid hormones to eight patients and using unnecessary tests to justify the prescriptions.  It must have been pleasing to Dr M that five of those eight patients provided positive testimonials in support the care he provided and that the MPT accepted no harm had come to them.  That first Tribunal made three training area recommendations.  By the time of the next Tribunal in 2020 Dr M had not provided any evidence he had undertaken any training and so the suspension was extended.

A month before the next review hearing, Dr M applied to be voluntarily erased from the register and it was being considered by the GMC, he did not provide the evidence of training suggested by the first MPT because of his voluntary erasure application.  That hearing was adjourned and the suspension further extended.

By the time of the next review hearing the GMC had refused Dr M’s application because of an ‘ongoing enquiry’.  The GMC offered a ‘disciplinary erasure’ but Dr M refused to agree stating that he did not deserve that outcome.  He explained to the Tribunal that he had no intention of returning to work in the UK, that no patients had been harmed and the foreign medical regulator was content for him to continue working which he proposed to do until he retired.  He stated he did not submit the remediation evidence suggested by the last MPT, not out rebelliousness, but because it was futile and involved a lot of administrative work, time and money.

Rather than look at the administrative position, the MPT proceeded within their remit and examined the doctor’s FTP. The MPT found that Dr M’s FTP was still impaired and despite having time to remediate, he had failed to do so.  At the hearing the GMC sought erasure on the basis that the doctor had been suspended for nearly two years and failed to provide evidence of remediation.  Dr M requested a 12 month suspension to allow the GMC’s ongoing enquiry to resolve.  The MPT determined that erasure would be punitive and was disproportionate given Dr M could remediate and return to practice, they therefore suspended him for a further 12 months.  In effect the decision provided the doctor with time to either remediate or resolve the ongoing enquiry with the GMC.

There are three types of erasure from the register – disciplinary, administrative and voluntary.  Where there has been a voluntary erasure, in point of fact a doctor’s name remains on the register but their status is marked as “Not registered having relinquished registration”.  Where a doctor is erased following FTP concerns their status is marked in red with the wording “Not registered – Erased after fitness to practise panel hearing”.  Administrative erasure follows a doctor not paying a fee or updating their address and in isolation can usually be comparatively easily remedied unlike disciplinary erasure.  Should you have any queries about your practicing status or restoration please contact us for direct advice on your position.