Healthcare Legal Updates

Healthcare – Medical Law – Consumer Regulatory Law – Fitness to Practice – General Medical Council – Professional Misconduct


In the recent case of Sulaiman v. General Medical Council (GMC) [2011] All ER (d) 37 (Aug), Dr Sulaiman was unsuccessful in his appeal against the fitness to practice panel’s decision to place conditions on his registration for a period of 1 year.


  • Dr Sulaiman was employed by an NHS Trust as a consultant in orthopaedics;
  • The Royal College of Surgeons and British Orthopaedic Association carried out a rapid response review of Dr Sulaiman’s clinical performance after concerns had been raised;
  • The outcome of the review was a recommended reduction in Dr Sulaiman’s workload and level of practice, amongst other things;
  • Dr Sulaiman did not comply and as a result was suspended and later dismissed from employment;
  • The concerns over Dr Sulaiman were referred to the General Medical Council (“GMC”) and Dr Sulaiman was invited to undergo a GMC assessment of his professional performance;
  • Dr Sulaiman’s performance was deemed:
    • unacceptable on five areas of good medical practice;
    • cause for concern in three; and
    • cause for concern in tests of competence.
  • As a result Dr Sulaiman was invited by the GMC to agree undertakings – these were declined and so his case was referred to a fitness to practice hearing.

Fitness to Practice Hearing

  • It was concluded that Dr Sulaiman’s fitness to practice was impaired and that his registration with the GMC be subject to conditions for one year.


  • Dr Sulaiman appealed against the fitness to practice panel’s decision, under Section 40 of the Medical Act 1983;

           (1)     The following decisions are appealable decisions for the purposes of this section, that is to say—

(a)     a decision of a Fitness to Practise Panel [the Adjudicator] under section 35D above giving a direction for erasure, for suspension or for conditional registration or varying the conditions imposed by a direction for conditional registration;

  • The grounds of his appeal were that the assessment procedure did not provide a fair assessment of his ability to work as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon;
  • The GMC dismissed the appeal and found that the reasoning of the fitness to practice panel was sound.
  • There was no evidential basis upon which the GMC could conclude that the assessment procedure was flawed. 

Rosanna Cooper is the principal of RT Coopers and specialises in preparation for fitness to practice hearings in front of various independent healthcare professional councils, including the GMC and NMC. Dr Cooper may be contacted on 020 7488 9947 or by e-mail:

If you require further information contact us at

Visit for advice on commercial law.

© RT COOPERS, 2011. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.


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