Healthcare professionals can be vulnerable to a minefield of legal issues across multiple forums, from coroners' inquests to civil claims for clinical/professional negligence, criminal prosecutions and more. Amongst these, managing the threat to practitioners of having their right to practise curtailed, through the "fitness to practise" disciplinary process, is of paramount importance. Even the measures taken by regulators at interim hearings pending conclusion of their investigations can lead to significant employment issues and impact on the lives of practitioners.
Our national Professional Regulatory team has extensive experience of representing healthcare professionals across a wide range of professional regulatory proceedings.
We can provide advice and support at any stage of the process, from casting an experienced eye over an initial response to allegations through to full representation at final hearings. Our expertise can help you navigate regulatory proceedings brought by any healthcare regulator, including:
- General Medical Council (GMC)
- General Dental Council (GDC)
- Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
- General Optical Council (GOC)
- UK Council of Psychotherapists (UKCP)
- British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC)
- General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC)
- British Association for Counselling
and Psychotherapy (BACP)
- British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)
- Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)
- General Osteopathic Council (GOsC)
- General Chiropractic Council (GCC)
At DAC Beachcroft, we have the benefit of established relationships with insurers, being recognised as a pre-eminent adviser to the insurance sector in the UK and internationally. We act across the full breadth of the insurance market, including professional regulatory cover for those working in the healthcare sector. Our experience means we know how to balance the needs of both the insurer and the insured health professional in terms of providing pragmatic advice and support in the context of fitness to practise proceedings - including advice on prospects and risk - whilst delivering the highest levels of technical expertise and excellent value for money.
Members of our team have also had experience of working for or acting on behalf of healthcare regulators and we therefore have a good understanding of the approaches different regulators may take.
See our full team here.
What we do
Our specialist experience means we can:
- Identify the issues in the case at the earliest opportunity and think strategically about the best way to handle them.
- Advise on any disclosure that may be necessary and deal with any requests for disclosure on your behalf, including patient information requests.
- Understand and explain the possible outcomes of regulatory proceedings, including advising on any press coverage and any impact for patients and employers.
- Provide expert representation in person or in writing at any stage of the professional regulatory process, including appearing at final hearings to ensure your position is fully represented.
- Sensitive and supportive approach to the most challenging allegations, including allegations of dishonesty and sexual misconduct.
- Provide advice on the merits of bringing or resisting an appeal to ensure the greatest chance of success. This may involve advice on points of law or the facts in the case.
- Advise on related proceedings, which might include a claim for compensation, police investigation, coroner's inquest or action taken in relation to Performers List status.
Examples of our work
- Successfully defending a medical practitioner in relation to allegations of dishonesty arising from alleged alteration of clinical records
- Successfully defending a consultant psychiatrist in relation to allegations that he failed to act appropriately regarding a child's wellbeing
- Advising an acute Trust on the likely outcome of a possible referral to a regulator to allow decisions on the referral to be made
- Assisting a psychotherapist to provide an initial response regarding serious and repeated allegations of breach of client confidentiality
- Advising a midwife on pre-referral matters to ensure a coordinated approach to both local and professional disciplinary proceedings
- Resisting a malicious referral by an ex-client to a therapist's regulator
- Advising a Trust on extensive disclosure requests and requests for witness interviews being made by a regulator
- Successfully representing a GP at fitness to practise proceedings relating to probity and health, securing conditions where there was a real risk of strike off
- Successfully representing an osteopath in an appeal to the High Court which confirmed that a finding of unacceptable professional conduct did not automatically flow from a breach of a professional code of practice
- Assisting with preparation for Serious Case Review meetings, including advice on scope and remit, and providing representation to healthcare professionals at such meetings
- Representing a physician at a coroner's inquest and in criminal proceedings arising from a patient death after an administrative error which caused the doctor to act on out-of-date clinical information
We can also assist with advice and representation in relation to investigations undertaken by the CQC, HSE and Police and medical malpractice claims.