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Fitness to Practise for Medical Students Potential Impact on Qualification

Generally Fitness to Practise Proceedings only take place against those who are fully qualified as opposed to those aspiring to join one of the Health Professions. However a Medical School has the right to determine a student’s competency and fitness before actual qualification. It has the ultimate sanction to exclude the student from the Course irrespective of how far he/she may have progressed. This would have serious implications for the student and could arise as late as the final year of study, before qualification.  Medical students will be aware of the General Medical Council’s (GMC) guidance “Medical Students: Professional Values and Fitness to Practise” but may feel that this is purely guidance and does not directly impinge on their prospective career of becoming a Qualified Medical Doctor.  However Fitness to Practise is an on-going process to be assessed as the Student progresses through Medical School.

Medical Schools have two duties: (1) to train students to become competent Doctors, and; (2)  to protect the public. 

The obligation of protecting the public “trumps all other duties”. The needs of the Doctor although very important are secondary to the needs of their patient. Medical Schools have an obligation to continually assess a student’s fitness to practise and consider whether a student can be put forward for registration, even though the student has done their absolute best. Fitness to Practice therefore is not confined to “Post Qualification” but something all Health Professionals need to be aware of from the outset, long before formal qualification and can apply throughout all Health Professions. At Bankside Law, we have vast experience of representing Doctors before the General Medical Council in a wide-ranging degree of matters and Bill Wilson has also successfully represented Medical Students in Medical School Fitness to Practise Proceedings.


Paramedic given a short caution order by HCPC Conduct and Competence Committee

Our client was a respected and experienced paramedic. He admitted diverting an ambulance to an ambulance  station for a very short period of time without good reason. He did not accept some aspects of the HCPC case and the CCC found in his favour on these points which reduced the seriousness of the case against him. John Williams dealt with the case at the CCC and they accepted our client had shown insight and remediation. They gave a sanction which was amongst the lowest available. Our client was delighted with the outcome and felt the service we provided had resulted in very good value for money. He commented

"John Williams' experience, knowledge and expertise in presenting my case secured the best possible outcome for me. I would not hesitate to recommend Bankside Law for any Healthcare Professional facing a Fitness to Practice Hearing . Their prompt and professional service gave me reassurance and guidance in what was a very difficult period in my career. They did a fantastic job and at such a good price"

Female Genital Mutilation trial

Bill Wilson was instructed to advise a Hospital Consultatnt on the first Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) trial in the UK.

PACE Code of Practice Changes. Will this lead to greater pre interview disclosure by the police?


The PACE Code of Conduct CODE C "Detention, Treatment and Questioning of persons by police officers" in England and Wales was amended with effect from 00:00 on 2nd June 2014 to reflect the provisions of the European Directive 2012/2013 PRE-CONS 78/11. This directive contains the following provisions:-

Article 6 Right to information about the accusation

1. Member States shall ensure that suspects or accused persons are provided with information about the criminal act they are suspected or accused of having committed. That information shall be provided promptly and in such detail as is necessary to safeguard the fairness of the proceedings and the effective exercise of the rights of the defence.

2. Member States shall ensure that suspects or accused persons who are arrested or detained are informed of the reasons for their arrest or detention, including the criminal act they are suspected or accused of having committed.

3. Member States shall ensure that, at the latest on submission of the merits of the accusation to a court, detailed information is provided on the accusation, including the nature and legal classification of the criminal offence, as well as the nature of participation by the accused person.

4. Member States shall ensure that suspects or accused persons are informed promptly of any changes in the information given in accordance with this Article where this is necessary to safeguard the fairness of the proceedings.

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