Preliminary Proceedings Committee

Once a complaint is received by the office of the Medical Council, it is presented to the Preliminary Proceedings Committee (PPC). The PPC considers all complaints that are received by the Medical Council, however the Council has a very specific remit relating to doctor's fitness to practise medicine. For example, allegations of a doctor being rude, while unacceptable, may not reach the threshold of seriousness to give rise to poor professional performance/ professional misconduct, and so the Medical Council cannot usefully assist in such matters. A complaint could be referred onto the Fitness to Practise Committee if they find the complaint warrants further action.

  • The Preliminary Proceedings Committee consists of both medical and non-medical members.
  • The Preliminary Proceedings Committee can give directions that further investigations should be carried out and adjourn consideration of the complaint.
  • A case officer is assigned to the complaint to assist the Preliminary Proceedings Committee with its investigation.
  • Case officers are trained investigators in the areas of  fair procedures and investigative and interviewing techniques.
  • The case officer is the the point of contact for both complainant and doctor. The role of the case officer is neutral and independent and they have no part in the Preliminary Proceedings Committee decision making process.
  • The case officer may request additional information/documentation from all relevant parties such as the complainant, doctor, employer or hospital.
  • A copy of the complaint is sent to the doctor out of procedural fairness and to provide the doctor an opportunity to respond. All information obtained during the course of the investigation will also be sent to the doctor.

Where the Council considers that an immediate suspension is necessary to protect the public, it can apply to the High Court for an order to suspend a doctor’s registration, regardless of whether the doctor is the subject of a complaint.

Once all available and necessary information is gathered and considered, the Preliminary Proceedings Committee will then decide the next action to take.

Please note : Council approves each decision made during the complaints process.

Additional Information