New tribunal service launched by GMC

A new impartial adjudication function for doctors has been launched by the GMC as part of key fitness to practise reforms.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has been heralded by the GMC as the biggest shake-up of fitness to practise hearings since being first established in 1858.

The new service, based in Manchester, is part of the GMC but operationally separate from the regulator’s complaint handling, investigation and case presentation and is accountable to Parliament. His Honour David Pearl has been appointed Chair of the MPTS, having held a range of senior judicial roles including the President of the Care Standards Tribunal and Commissioner of the Judicial Appointments Commission.

He will be responsible for appointing, training, appraising and mentoring MPTS panellists and legal assessors.

MPTS panels will have the power, in the most serious cases, to remove or suspend a doctor from the medical register or place restrictions on their practise. The service can also take early action to ensure patient safety by considering cases before a full fitness to practise hearing, where it is judged appropriate to place restrictions on a doctor’s practise immediately or suspend their practise while investigations proceed.

The work of the MPTS will be overseen by a committee, made up of the MPTS Chair and two further members, one medical and one lay, who are drawn from a pool of experienced panellists.

Niall Dickson, GMC Chief Executive, said of the MPTS: "It represents a key part of our reforms and delivers a clear separation between investigations and the decisions made about a doctor’s fitness to practise.

"Although panels already make their decisions independently, it is important that their autonomy is clear and that the oversight of their work is quite separate from our investigatory activity. We hope that the MPTS will strengthen professional and public confidence that our hearings are impartial, fair and transparent – the fact that the service is led by a judicial figure who has a direct line to Parliament should provide that assurance."

For more information on the MPTS, all current fitness to practise cases and recent decisions visit

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