Dr Saal Seneviratne

Professional Misconduct Hearings: the role of Psychiatric Reports and Experts

Professional misconduct, can carry serious consequences. An essential issue is fitness to practice. Psychiatric evaluations are valuable in understanding an individual’s mental health and identifying underlying factors contributing to their misconduct. These assessments help assess the individual’s fitness to continue working and determine if additional support is required for their mental health concerns.

Misconduct may suggest a  psychiatric assessment. Violence or bullying may prompt an evaluation to uncover underlying mental health issues. Similarly, theft or fraud may be examined for psychological factors like personality disorders that influenced the behaviour. If the expert is provided with basic information it will help in identifying mental health issues contributing to the misconduct and advising on treatment options available.

Support for Doctors is available here.

Fitness to practice links:

GDC definition

HCPC Definition

Higher Education Definition

GMC Definition

Health and Social Care Definitions

NMC Guidelines

Medical School Council

Social Work England

SWE – Quick Guide


When allegations of professional misconduct arise, conducting a comprehensive investigation is crucial to consider all pertinent information for determining appropriate consequences. Psychiatric assessments provide insight into mental health and underlying issues.

Concerns arise regarding the use of psychiatric reports in professional misconduct hearings. There is a risk of stigmatisation, the registrant’s medical history being publicly aired, and discrimination based on mental health issues. Assessments are conducted sensitively, without judgment, and with strict confidentiality to protect individuals’ privacy. I often recommend that hearing are private, and that they are not advertised. There are many Law Firms that specialise in Regulatory matters and professional disciplinary Law

In summary, psychiatric assessments are pivotal in professional misconduct hearings, offering insight into mental health status and underlying issues. They inform the appropriate consequences and may facilitate additional support or treatment for individuals. However, evaluations must be conducted with sensitivity and non-judgment to prevent stigmatisation and discrimination based on mental health.