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What action can we take against a doctor?

Interim sanctions

If we think the allegations against a doctor mean they should be stopped from practising freely, we can ask the to consider putting temporary measures in place while we investigate.

Read more about interim sanctions.

At the end of the investigation

At the end of each investigation, we decide what action we should take. In three quarters of investigations, we take no action. This could be because:

  • The doctor has made a great effort to ensure they will not repeat their mistakes and there are no current patient safety risks
  • A lack of evidence means there is no real chance a tribunal would take action against a doctor.

Sanctions

In about 5% of investigations, we give a doctor a warning. This means that, although the doctor does not pose a risk to future patient safety, their behaviour or performance was below the standards we expect of doctors in the UK.

In about 8% of investigations, we ask the doctor to sign an agreement with us – called ‘undertakings’. The doctor commits to improving the way they work and we work with the doctor’s employer to make sure that the doctor honours this agreement.

In about 11% of investigations, we decide to refer a doctor to a hearing at the . The MPTS runs hearings to decide whether to take action against doctors that we refer to them.

Find out more about our sanctions.

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