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Discipline of Hospital Practitioners Bill
 
 

 
 
A

B I L L

TO

Make provision for new procedures for the discipline of hospital medical practitioners.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:-
 

Declaration of past disciplinary action.     1. - (1) It shall be the duty of a practitioner who has been subject to disciplinary action arising from his conduct as a practitioner (whether in the United Kingdom or elsewhere) to inform any NHS trust or private hospital-
 
 
    (a) to which he applies for employment to provide medical services,
 
    (b) which offers him employment to provide medical services, or
 
    (c) which enters into a contract through a third party for him to provide medical services
  of the disciplinary action taken against him and of the reasons for that action.
 
      (2) A practitioner who fails to comply with the requirements of subsection (1)-
 
 
    (a) shall be liable to dismissal; and
 
    (b) may be referred by the NHS trust or private hospital to which he has applied for employment or which has offered him employment to the Tribunal established under section 46 of the National Health Service Act 1977.
      (3) Where a practitioner is dismissed or referred under subsection (2) the person responsible for the dismissal or referral shall inform-
 
 
    (a) the National Health Service Executive;
 
    (b) any private hospital where the practitioner is known to have admitting rights;
 
    (c) the General Medical Council; and
 
    (d) any third party to a contract for the practitioner to provide medical services
  as soon as is reasonably practicable.
 
Complaints against hospital medical practitioners.     2. - (1) Subject to anything prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State under section 4, it shall be the duty of each National Health Service Trust (in this Act referred to as a "NHS trust") to establish a panel to investigate a complaint made against a practitioner.
 
      (2) A panel under subsection (1) shall be established within 3 months of the date on which the complaint was made.
 
      (3) A panel under subsection (1) shall consist of-
 
 
    (a) at least one person who is not an employee of a NHS trust;
 
    (b) at least one person who is a practising clinician; and
 
    (c) other persons of such description as may be prescribed.
      (4) Not later than 3 months after the date of its establishment a panel established to investigate a complaint made against a practitioner shall make a preliminary report to the Chief Executive of the relevant NHS trust, advising him of any disciplinary action which in its view should be taken, having regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State under section 4.
 
      (5) A panel may recommend suspension of a practitioner only if it is satisfied in all the circumstances that alternative disciplinary action would fail to protect-
 
 
    (a) the interests of the patients or staff of the NHS trust; or
 
    (b) the interests of the practitioner who is the subject of the complaint.
      (6) If the advice of a panel is that a practitioner should be suspended, the panel shall make a report to the Chief Executive of the relevant NHS trust explaining the reasons for its advice and why it has not recommended alternative disciplinary measures.
 
      (7) Subject to subsection (8), the Chief Executive shall be responsible for deciding what disciplinary action should be taken against a practitioner, having regard to any advice received from the panel.
 
      (8) The Chief Executive may suspend a practitioner before a panel has been established or has reported to him only if in all the circumstances of the case he considers that immediate suspension is necessary in order to protect-
 
 
    (a) the interests of the patients or staff of the NHS trust; or
 
    (b) the interests of the practitioner who is the subject of the complaint.
      (9) A suspension under subsection (8)-
 
 
    (a) shall be reviewed by the panel established to investigate the case within 6 months of its establishment;
 
    (b) shall lapse after a period of 9 months if it has not previously been terminated by the Chief Executive.
      (10) If the Chief Executive decides to suspend a practitioner he shall-
 
 
    (a) inform the suspended practitioner in writing and without delay of the reason for the suspension; and
 
    (b) as soon as is practicable notify his decision to-
 
      (i) the National Health Service Executive, who shall be responsible for monitoring the continuation of that suspension;
 
      (ii) where appropriate, any private hospital where the suspended practitioner has admitting rights; and
 
      (iii) the General Medical Council;
 
      (iv) any third party to a contract for the suspended practitioner to provide medical services.
      (11) In this section "prescribed" means prescribed in regulations made by the Secretary of State under section 4.
 
Duty of health service providers to exchange information.     3. - (1) Where a complaint made against a practitioner-
 
 
    (a) is subject to investigation, and
 
    (b) if proved might result in the taking of disciplinary action against the practitioner
  the person responsible for deciding whether to take disciplinary action shall inform-
 
 
    (i) the National Health Service Executive;
 
    (ii) any private hospital where the practitioner is known to have admitting rights; and
 
    (iii) the General Medical Council;
 
    (iv) any third party to a contract for the practitioner to provide medical services
  of the fact of the investigation as soon after its commencement as is reasonably practicable.
 
      (2) Where a complaint made against a practitioner is shown to have been unfounded the person who would have been responsible for deciding whether to take disciplinary action in the event that the complaint had been shown to be well founded shall inform-
 
 
    (i) the National Health Service Executive;
 
    (ii) any private hospital where the practitioner is known to have admitting rights; and
 
    (iii) the General Medical Council;
 
    (iv) any third party to a contract for the practitioner to provide medical services
  of the fact that the complaint has been shown to be unfounded as soon after that fact has become known as is reasonably practicable.
 
 
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