New programme to support people making complaints

Type: News Item Date Published: 1st July 2019

The General Medical Council is taking forward work to promote quicker and more effective resolutions to people's concerns about doctors.

The General Medical Council (GMC) receives a large number of complaints from the general public every year – but only a small number meet its threshold for investigation, which means the majority are often closed immediately.

To explore this, the GMC commissioned research to explore why many public concerns about doctors, that would be better directed to another organisation, come to them.

It showed

  •  Two key factors determine where and who the public will raise a concern with: how easy it is, and who they think will take it seriously
  • A low awareness of where to raise a concern: people typically search for information online, which often directs them to their relevant NHS organisation or Patient Advice and Liaison Service. Some raise their concern with the GP practice or hospital where an incident occurred; others raise their concern directly with the GMC
  • Participants in the research rightly thought the GMC is organisation that takes concerns about doctors seriously and that it conducts independent and fair enquiries: some said they would come to the GMC if they weren’t satisfied with a local investigation.

Next steps

This research gives insight into what people consider when they want to raise a concern about a doctor.

As a result of these findings, the GMC will now be taking forward a programme of work to:

  • Improve understanding of the GMC’s processes, the complaints it can and can’t investigate, and how it can better support them to navigate the complaints landscape
  • Identify how the GMC can most effectively use its channels to signpost people to the right place at the earliest opportunity
  • Work with external organisations, to ensure they’re able to effectively advise the public on when to raise a concern with the GMC.

To find out more information, please email the GMC via

We thought you might also like: