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The Authority’s review of the General Medical Council's performance 2017/18

The Professional Standards Authority has published its annual performance review of the General Medical Council. We review each of the statutory health and social care regulators each year to assess whether they are meeting our Standards of Good Regulation. At the time of assessment, the GMC’s register covered approximately 298,000 doctors practising in the United Kingdom.

We are pleased to report that the GMC continues to meet all of the Standards of Good Regulation.

Within our performance review this year, we carried out an audit of the GMC’s use of provisional enquiries. These are enquiries the GMC carries out at the initial stage of a case to determine whether a full investigation is necessary. We obtained information from the GMC which showed that its use of provisional enquiries remained consistent with the previous year, and that it has measures in place to assure the quality of decisions.

Overall, we considered that the outcomes of provisional enquiries were reasonable and appropriate. The evidence we gathered in our audit did not indicate that the GMC’s use of provisional enquiries makes it harder for people to raise concerns about the fitness to practise of GMC registrants.

More information about how we reached our decision is set out in our Performance Review – GMC 2017/18 or read a summary in our snapshot.

Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care


Christine Braithwaite, Director Standards and Policy

Reception: 020 7389 8030

Notes to the Editor

  1. The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care oversees nine statutory bodies that regulate health and social care professionals in the UK.
  2. We assess their performance and report to Parliament. We also conduct audits and investigations and can appeal fitness to practise cases to the courts if we consider that sanctions are insufficient to protect the public and it is in the public interest.
  3. The Standards of Good Regulation are designed to ensure that the regulators are protecting the public but also promoting confidence in health and care professionals and themselves. The Standards cover the regulators’ four core functions: setting and promoting guidance and standards for the profession; setting standards for and quality assuring the provision of education and training; maintaining a register of professionals; and taking action where a professional’s fitness to practise may be impaired.
  4. We also set standards for organisations holding voluntary registers for health and social care occupations and accredit those that meet them.
  5. We share good practice and knowledge, conduct research and introduce new ideas to our sector. We monitor policy developments in the UK and internationally and provide advice on issues relating to professional standards in health and social care.
  6. We do this to promote the health, safety and wellbeing of users of health and social care services and the public. We are an independent body, accountable to the UK Parliament.
  7. Our values are at the heart of who we are and what we do. We are committed to being impartial, fair, accessible and consistent in the application of our values.
  8. The General Medical Council (the GMC) regulates the practice of doctors in the United Kingdom. Its work includes: setting standards for education and training of doctors, accrediting education and training providers, approving qualifications and assuring the quality of medical education and training; setting and maintaining standards of conduct, ethics and performance for doctors; managing a register of qualified professionals; taking action to restrict or remove from practice registrants who are considered not fit to practise. As of 30 September 2018, there were 298,011 doctors on the register. The fee for registration with a licence to practise is £390, and £140 to register without a licence to practise (discounted fees apply to newly-qualified doctors).
  9. More information about our work and the approach we take is available at