The General Medical Council (GMC) defines Fitness to Practise as follows:
‘A student’s fitness to practise is called into question when their behaviour or health raises a serious or persistent cause for concern about their ability to continue on a medical course, or to practise as a doctor after graduation. This includes, but is not limited to, the possibility that they could put patients or the public at risk, and the need to maintain trust in the profession. Medical schools should consider the fitness to practise of medical students in relation to how it may have an impact on patient and public safety, and on the public’s trust in the medical profession.’
The GMC publish guidance on their FtP webpage. With effect from 27 May 2016 two publications; ‘Achieving good medical practice‘ and ‘Professional behaviour and fitness to practise‘ replaced all previous advice. The GMC have produced a list of FtP ‘myth busters‘ for students.
In relation to a doctor’s fitness to practise the GMC states:http://www.gmc-uk.org/education/undergraduate/professional_behaviour.asp#1intro.
‘To practise safely, doctors must be competent in what they do. They must establish and maintain effective relationships with patients, respect patients’ autonomy and act responsibly and appropriately if they or a colleague fall ill and their performance suffers. ‘But these attributes, while essential, are not enough. Doctors have a respected position in society and their work gives them privileged access to patients, some of whom may be very vulnerable. A doctor whose conduct has shown that he cannot justify the trust placed in him should not continue in unrestricted practice while that remains the case’
The University publishes a University FtP Policy
The School of Medicine publishes a bespoke Student guide to FtP. Additionally the school require all students to sign the School of Medicine agreement, this aims to focus students on FtP and wider aspects of professionalism and their behaviour. There are Tutor notes to augment this agreement. Staff involved in FtP investigations or Panel Hearings should read the FtP Supporting notes.