Case study Making a deferral recommendation where the doctor has raised public interest concerns

This scenario looks at:

  • A doctor who has raised public interest concerns and is involved an on-going local process (and, therefore, a situation where you should consider whether a deferral recommendation is appropriate).
  • The issue of an actual or a perceived conflict of interest between you and the doctor, where the doctor has raised public interest concerns.

Scenario: Making a deferral recommendation where the doctor has raised public interest concerns

Dr Ayre raised concerns about a culture of bullying within his department which was investigated by the designated body. During this period, the responsible officer (RO) was due to make a revalidation recommendation to us, but Dr Ayre had been on long term sick leave due to the stress caused by the experience of raising public interest concerns and the doctor feels that the concerns have not been investigated thoroughly. The designated body discussed a phased return to work with Dr Ayre, but no date had been agreed at the time of the revalidation recommendation.

Key points: Making a deferral recommendation where the doctor has raised public interest concerns

Key issues are:

  • you should consider whether a deferral recommendation is appropriate due to the on-going local process
  • you should discuss the situation with your Employer Liaison Advisor (ELA).

Your ELA will discuss the following with you:

  • how the doctor has raised their public interests concerns
  • how they were handled locally, including any details of any local investigation
  • whether there was a perceived or actual conflict of interest.

You should keep records including:

  • details of when the doctor raised their concerns with your organisation
  • how you were informed of the doctor’s concerns
  • any documentation between the doctor, you or your team, relating to the doctor’s concerns and their engagement in the revalidation process
  • details of arrangements to be put in place for the doctor to meet the revalidation requirements, once they return to work
  • correspondence between the doctor, you or your team regarding revalidation.

In more detail: Making a deferral recommendation where the doctor has raised public interest concerns

The RO and ELA concluded that there was no conflict of interest between the RO and Dr Ayre and decided that a deferral recommendation was appropriate.

The RO told Dr Ayre that they were making a deferral recommendation due to the on-going local process. The RO put in place an action plan to allow Dr Ayre to meet the revalidation requirements for his new revalidation date, once he returned to work.

We accepted the deferral recommendation and set a new revalidation date in six months’ time.

Additional resources

See more information about the requirements for making a recommendation when the doctor has raised public interest concerns.

Further information about managing conflicts of interest and bias during the revalidation process can be found at:

  • For England, Scotland and Wales, the , see page 30
  • , paragraphs 109-113.