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Generally Fitness to Practise Proceedings only take place against those who are fully qualified as opposed to those aspiring to join one of the Health Professions. However a Medical School has the right to determine a student’s competency and fitness before actual qualification. It has the ultimate sanction to exclude the student from the Course irrespective of how far he/she may have progressed. This would have serious implications for the student and could arise as late as the final year of study, before qualification.  Medical students will be aware of the General Medical Council’s (GMC) guidance “Medical Students: Professional Values and Fitness to Practise” but may feel that this is purely guidance and does not directly impinge on their prospective career of becoming a Qualified Medical Doctor.  However Fitness to Practise is an on-going process to be assessed as the Student progresses through Medical School.

Medical Schools have two duties: (1) to train students to become competent Doctors, and; (2)  to protect the public. 

The obligation of protecting the public “trumps all other duties”. The needs of the Doctor although very important are secondary to the needs of their patient. Medical Schools have an obligation to continually assess a student’s fitness to practise and consider whether a student can be put forward for registration, even though the student has done their absolute best. Fitness to Practice therefore is not confined to “Post Qualification” but something all Health Professionals need to be aware of from the outset, long before formal qualification and can apply throughout all Health Professions. At Bankside Law, we have vast experience of representing Doctors before the General Medical Council in a wide-ranging degree of matters and Bill Wilson has also successfully represented Medical Students in Medical School Fitness to Practise Proceedings.