Clarifying the factors associated with progression of cases in the GMC’s Fitness to Practise process

Author: Humphrey, Charlotte et al

Publisher: ESRC

Publication date: January 2009

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There has been concern for some while about possible inequalities and unfairness within the GMC’s Fitness to Practise process in respect of ethnic minority doctors and doctors qualified outside the UK. The aim of this study was to improve understanding of factors associated with increased risk of ‘high impact’ outcomes in the GMC’s Fitness to Practise process. ‘High impact’
outcomes include progression to the next stage of the process, and professional or legal
sanctions. Specific objectives were:

  • To test the hypothesis that doctors qualified outside the UK and/or doctors from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are more likely to receive ‘high impact’ decisions at various stages in the Fitness to Practise process.
  • To evaluate the alternative hypothesis that ‘high impact’ decisions are associated with other demographic or professional factors or characteristics of the complaints received that are independently associated with place of qualification or ethnic status.