General Medical Council seeks new panellists

Have you got what it takes to help make decisions about whether a doctor is fit to treat patients?

That is the question being asked by the General Medical Council (GMC) which has embarked on a major recruitment campaign to find medical and non-medical panellists who will sit in judgement at its fitness to practise hearings. It is the first campaign for new panellists in five years.

The panellists have a vital role in protecting patients and making sure proper standards of conduct and behaviour are maintained within the profession.

They have to make independent decisions in cases where the doctor faces serious allegations that could affect their registration as a doctor.

The panellists hear evidence, decide whether the allegations are proved, whether the doctors’ fitness to practise is impaired, and if so what action is required. There are normally three panellists for each hearing and each panel must include at least one doctor and one non-medical person.

Panellists come from a wide range of different professions and backgrounds, including teaching, architecture and the civil service.

The GMC wants applications from candidates who are interested in this area of its work and in ensuring a fair and transparent process.

Panellists must have the intellectual and analytical ability to make sound judgements and they need to be open-minded and objective. Doctors and members of the public who are women, or who have black and minority ethnic backgrounds, are particularly encouraged to apply, as the GMC wishes to maintain the diversity within the pool of panellists so that it is as representative as possible, both of the medical profession and society in general.

As most hearings take place in Manchester, the GMC is keen to hear from candidates who live within commutable distance of Manchester, although the GMC also wants to hear from suitably qualified candidates who live throughout the UK.

The new panellists are being recruited to replace those whose terms of office are due to expire next year.

Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the GMC, said: ‘The work of both medical and lay panellists is crucial in maintaining public confidence in the profession. They are expected to make challenging and complex decisions which protect patients and maintain proper standards of behaviour in the medical profession. We need individuals of the highest calibre to apply, and for the successful candidates we will provide thorough training to make sure that they fully understand their role and responsibilities.’

The GMC is holding a series of sessions where those considering applying can learn more about the role of panellists and the work of the GMC.

Candidates interested in attending one of the sessions should contact [email protected] for further details.

Although in formal terms these are not public appointments, the recruitment process will be carried out in line with the guidance issued by the Office of the Public Appointments Commissioner and an independent assessor will monitor the process to ensure consistency and that it is accessible and fair for everyone who applies.

The closing date for applications is 19 June 2011. Candidates can obtain further information about the posts and apply online at

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