A memorandum of understanding between the NHS, General Practitioner Health Service (GP Health) and the General Medical Council (GMC)
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
NHS PH aims to develop a memorandum of understanding with each of the regulators for those health care professional groups where we see people accessing the service as patients. This enables us to have clarity when health care professionals access our service about the level of confidentiality we can offer.
The advice from the majority of the regulators is that:
If, with the right support, you are able to manage a health problem so that the care that you give your patients is not affected, then your fitness to practise won’t be affected. So, there will be no need for the regulator to be involved or even to know about it.
However there may be occasions when you as a patient, or us as a service are not sure if your regulator needs to be made aware. The MOUs enable us to explore your situation with your regulator, on an “in-principle” basis and seek out the best advice for your situation. If the advice is that your regulator does need to be made aware we will support your mental wellbeing through all stages of this, from writing the letter through to preparing for any panel hearing. We are not able to offer legal advice and this in no way replaces the advice and support that a medical/clinical defence organisation can offer you.
The purpose of the MOU is to agree the approach that NHSPH and a regulator can take to manage these mental health concerns in the best interests of the individual, balanced against patient safety and the statutory responsibilities of the regulator.
The MOUs between NHSPH and the relevant regulator seek to set out a framework that describes how both will operate and respond when:
a. A patient presents to the clinical service and an issue is identified which may impact on the regulated professional’s responsibilities to that regulator
b. A professional is identified to the regulator and the primary issue may relate to a health concern which the clinical service could assist with
The MOU is not intended to bypass or shortcut regulatory processes, rather to ensure that the regulated professional is not referred to the regulator unnecessarily, and if they do need to engage with regulatory processes, that they can do so whilst mentally well and able to engage with those processes in a constructive way.
The MOU also seeks to outline how the two organisations can share information that will enable staff and organisational development and improve the processes of both parties, whilst giving utmost importance to patients’ safety and any statutory responsibilities.