Fitness to practise (FTP) proceedings

A final year medical student contacted the MDU because he had been called to an FTP hearing as a result of concerns about his professionalism and conduct. A fellow student had complained that he had posted offensive comments on her social media page, and had also harassed her when drunk. He had received a warning the previous year after stealing a plaque as a joke from another medical school's university hall.

The MDU helped the student draft an apology and a response to the FTP panel. An MDU medico-legal adviser also accompanied the student to the hearing at which the student was given a warning, which would remain on his record for 24 months.

Fitness to practise and medical school disciplinary proceedings are the commonest reasons for the MDU to assist student members. The main causes are drug and alcohol misuse, health concerns, probity or unprofessional behaviour.

The outcome of an FTP hearing may be:

  • no action taken
  • a warning or
  • sanctions such as conditions, suspension or even expulsion from the course.

You must declare student FTP proceedings when you apply for provisional registration with the GMC. Serious student FTP concerns can result in the GMC refusing to grant provisional registration. (Medical students: professional values and fitness to practise, paragraph 58)

FTP guidance

The standards expected of medical students may be higher than for other students, because of the privileged position they hold. The GMC's guidance on medical student's professional values and fitness to practise states:

Students must be aware that their behaviour outside the clinical environment, including in their personal lives, may have an impact on their fitness to practise. Their behaviour at all times must justify the trust the public places in the medical profession. (GMC, Medical students: professional values and fitness to practise, paragraph 14)

This guidance was correct at publication 11/06/2013. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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