The scene

A third year medical student was referred to the Health and Conduct Committee at his medical school due to concerns about his professionalism. He had been on holiday at the time of the committee meeting, and so he didn't attend and hadn't provided any written submissions to support himself.

He had now just been informed that because of the concerns, he had been referred to a Fitness to Practise tribunal. He contacted the MDU for advice.

MDU advice

The MDU adviser contacted the medical school to get information about the specific concerns that were being considered. These included some academic failures which had been addressed, but mainly related to the student's professionalism in relation to poor attendance, arriving late to clinical sessions, inappropriate behaviour and one allegation of dishonesty.

The medical school had provided evidence to support the allegations, including a number of emails from concerned members of staff. The MDU adviser encouraged the student to review all of the allegations and prepare a response, apologising for his behaviour as appropriate and addressing each of the concerns in turn. The student was also advised to review the GMC and Medical Schools Council guidance for students as well as the GMC's guidance in 'Good medical practice'.

In addition, the student was encouraged to address the concerns by taking whatever remedial action he could and ensuring he addressed his behaviour so that no new concerns could be raised. He was also advised to consider his response to the allegation of dishonesty very carefully, as it was likely that the medical school would take this the most seriously.

Reflecting on his behaviour, the student made sure he addressed the professionalism concerns that had been raised in order to reassure the medical school that his behaviour had changed. He also admitted to the dishonesty allegations and apologised, explaining in his statement as to why honesty is so important in the medical profession. He also took it upon himself to attend some additional clinical sessions and lectures, some in his own time, and became an active member of the medical school's student society which included a mentor scheme for more junior students who may find themselves in difficulty.

Before the FTP hearing, the student submitted his statement which was provided to the tribunal. An MDU representative went with him to the hearing, where the tribunal noted the improvements in his behaviour as well as a number of positive testimonials from members of staff. It was also noted that he was taking an active part in the medical school and was using his experiences to the benefit of others. Importantly, the tribunal acknowledged his admission and apology for his dishonesty.

The tribunal gave the student a warning with a further FTP review in a year's time. The student attended the review, again with an MDU representative, where it was noted that his behaviour had continued to improve.

The matter was closed with no further action, but the student would have to inform the GMC of the investigation once he came to register with them.

This is a fictional case compiled from the MDU's files.


This article was correct at publication on 22/04/2016. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.