Bespoke probity support for doctors

Probity sits at the very heart of Good Medical Practice. Any lapse in the standards of behaviour, whether genuine or perceived, can have a major impact on trust. It can damage the trust of patients, their families and their friends. It can harm the trust of fellow professionals, the trust of healthcare organisations and the trust of regulators. And a lapse by one single doctor has the potential to harm the public’s confidence in all doctors. So, you are expected to maintain the very highest standards of professional behaviour in all respects and at all times.

But doctors are human. We are all capable of making poor decisions for any number of reasons. When serious enough, there is potential for a complaint being raised and for disciplinary procedures to begin. Whether this is to any of the NHS regulatory bodies or to the General Medical Council, the potential consequences include restrictions on practice, suspension or even erasure from the medical registers. The impact on both career and personal life can be devastating.

If you have found yourself in such a situation then we can help. We have been providing bespoke probity training for doctors for a number since 2014.

What type of support is available?

It’s essential to recognise that each individual case is unique. So we work with you to create a package of support which is tailored to your specific requirements.

In general, our first aim is to support you to develop insight into the cause and impacts of the actions under investigation. These impacts may be factual or potential. Next, we work to help you identify realistic actions that you can take to prevent any repetition. We achieve this via a set of online 1-to-1 coaching sessions with a suitably experienced member of our Faculty of Tutors.

Examples of topics which we have supported doctors with are:

  • being personally dishonest or ‘economical with the truth’
  • encouraging or pressuring others to be dishonest
  • plagiarism
  • inappropriate amendments of patient records
  • inappropriate patient relationships
  • conflict of interest (in terms of either patient care or business practices)
  • inappropriate financial or contractual dealings
  • inappropriate behaviour toward peers or colleagues
  • accusations of bullying or poor decisions resulting from experiencing bullying
  • failure to respect professional boundaries
  • In appropriate public behaviour

This is not an exhaustive list. As we mentioned earlier, each case is unique and they don’t always fit into neat categories.

How do we create your bespoke support plan?

We begin with a no-obligation telephone or Zoom consultation to clarify your situation and the main priorities. From here, we discuss the various options and their related costs, working with you to agree a plan that you are happy with. We then forward you a written proposal to ensure that you are happy with the plan. Some doctors like to share this with their legal representatives or professional support body in order to check that we are offering a service that has genuine benefit.

We only ever invoice you for services once we have agreed a plan that you are happy with. If you decide you don’t want to proceed then there is no cost for the work done up to this point.

Once we have both committed to the plan, we ask you to forward us your ‘bundle’ of documents related to the case. This may well be a large collection of documents. Our experience tells us that this is an essential step to ensure we provide the most appropriate, thorough and credible support.

Please note that we limit discussions and sharing of documentation related to your case to the minimum number of people within our organisation required to provide your support plan. We always seek your permission before including anyone.

What would an example plan look like?

Where we don’t have a standard course available for your requirements, our main approach for your support is via a set of online 1-to-1 coaching sessions. We usually recommend a minimum of two or three 1-hour sessions spread over a period of weeks or months. That is the ideal as it offers time for you to reflect and also the opportunity for you to relate what you learn to real life practice. You can then use this as credible evidence at any hearing you might face. However, we realise that time-scales can mean this is not possible or that circumstances may mean this format is not relevant. So, we work with you to find the best way forward at the planning stage.

Your tutor will always provide you with clear feedback during your sessions. This culminates in them creating a comprehensive report. It must be stressed that we can never state an opinion that you are fit to practice. That is for the regulators to decide. What your tutor will do is create a report which describes your levels of insight and progress that have made over the course of the support plan. Your report will always be honest, evidence-based and tactful regarding any further development requirements which you may have. You will also receive a CPD certificate accredited by CPD Healthcare with each written report.

So the typical output of such a support plan includes:

  • an CPD certificate accredited by CPD Healthcare – points awarded depend on the specifics of your support
  • a tutor report which is honest, evidence-based and tactful about your further development requirements
  • an increase in your ability to demonstrate insight to your case – this may be the most important point of all

Getting started

If this package sound like what you are looking for or you want to find our more then please contact us by telephone during office hours on 0131 526 3700 or via email at probity@oxford-medical.co.uk.