Impairment of fitness to practise: has the pendulum swung?

Clin Risk 2009;15:64-68
doi:10.1258/cr.2009.090001
© 2009 Royal Society of Medicine Press

 

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Impairment of fitness to practise: has the pendulum swung?

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Doctors at Risk


Martin Forde, QC

Email: martin.forde{at}1cor.com

Practitioners and their legal advisers have struggled to interpret the nebulous concept of impairment of fitness to practise since its introduction in November 2004. Impairment of fitness to practise is not defined in the legislation or in the General Medical Council (Fitness to Practise) Rules 2004. This has led to competing arguments being raised before Fitness to Practise Panels regarding both the meaning of impairment of fitness to practise and the nature and quality of the evidence that can be relied upon as evidencing a lack of impairment of fitness to practise. A recent trilogy of High Court decisions appears to have provided the clarity so sadly lacking in the legislation. The cases of Cohen, Zygmunt and Azzam, all decided in 2008 inthe High Court, may have provided greater protection to doctors.

Impairment of fitness to practise: has the pendulum swung?
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