Doctors at risk

Medical student fitness to practise hearings: ensuring procedural fairness

Timothy J David and Sarah Ellson

Email: [email protected]

Medical schools are responsible for determining the fitnessto practise of individual medical students. The General MedicalCouncil (GMC) does not have any direct authority to deal withor advise on individual cases of undergraduate student fitnessto practise or disciplinary issues. Each medical school or itsassociated university must have its own procedures to considerthe fitness to practise of medical students, and this has resultedin local variations. Medical student fitness to practise hearingsare managed by universities rather than by teams of lawyers,but whoever is involved and whatever the precise procedures,those involved must make sure that students are dealt with fairly.This article sets out the governing principles to ensure fairness,namely Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rightsand the rules of natural justice.