General Medical Council Procedure - European Convention on Human Rights

Andrew Porter made this Rhyddid Gwybodaeth request to General Medical Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear General Medical Council,

I am very concerned that your fitness to procedures break the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) and would like to know whether you feel you are above the convention and it does not apply to you.

Specifically article 6 of the ECHR quotes "Article 6 provides a detailed right to a fair trial, including the right to a public hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal within reasonable time, the presumption of innocence, and other minimum rights for those charged with a criminal offence (adequate time and facilities to prepare their defence, access to legal representation, right to examine witnesses against them or have them examined, right to the free assistance of an interpreter)."

How can the panels used in hearings be deemed to independent when they are appointed and trained by yourself to do what you ask them? Also you specifically train them to do what you ask. Also is many years as some cases take to come to hearing a 'reasonable time'? In many cases it appears you take a presumption of guilt of the doctors before innocence.

Also article 14 of the ECHR contains a prohibition of discrimination. The article specifically prohibits discrimination based on "sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

May I ask why the GMC seeks to break article 14 by persistently discriminating against black and ethnic minority doctors and persecuting them vigorously while letting white doctors get away with similar offences?

Does the GMC see itself as above the European Convention on Human Rights? Is it GMC policy to ignore the European Convention on Human Rights? Does it see itself as above the law. Are there any policy documents advocating complete ignorance of the European Convention of Human Rights as the GMC appears to do.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Porter

FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Mr Porter

Thank you for your email of 13 January 2011 in which you request
information in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

We will consider your request and you will normally receive the
information you seek within the 20 working day limit set by the FOIA.

The FOIA lists a number of exemptions that may prevent the release of
part, or all, of the information that you have requested. We will make
an assessment of the requested information and if it is subject to an
exemption you will be informed of this, together with details of your
right of appeal.

Your request has been allocated to Janet Mauldridge. If you have any
queries concerning your request you can contact Ms Mauldridge on 0161
923 6324 or email [email address].

Yours sincerely

Sarah Leigh
Information Access Team Administrator
0161 923 6398
[email address]

General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Manchester
M3 3AW

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Dr Helen Bright anodiad ()

Dear Mr Porter,

It is worse than you think, in my experience and knowledge.

GMC Fitness to Practice Panelists are against Freedom of Speech (Article 10 of HRA 1998), especially, if speech by doctor is critical of medical professional practice and institutions. When reasonable and factual criticisms are made they actually, protest. One said at the Fitness to Practice hearing (Dr T. Howard): "We are not here to criticize GMC."

There are other articles of the European Convention of Human Rights which are breached regularly such as Article 3 of HRA 1998 when doctors are subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment over many years. This comes in the form, for example, of public announcements over many years that doctor needs mental and physical examinations in cases where none are required. Public statement can be made by GMC Press Office just before Review hearings that doctors actions were against the best interests of the patients despite the fact that GMC already found that doctor did always act in the interests of patients and public. As you can imagine all of that causes mental and physical distress.

In 2007 twice as many women doctors were sent for psychiatric examinations compared to male doctors despite the fact that the incidence of mental illness is the same for men and women in the world except, of course, at GMC. It took me years to obtain those figures from GMC. Women whistle-blowers are declared mad by GMC staff unqualified to do so who then hide behind the refusal to disclose their prejudices for many years. In that they are actually assisted by GMC lawyers, which is breach of the Solicitors' Code of Conduct when working for regulatory bodies. Solicitors work always has to be in accord with the proscribed function of the regulatory body and not to defend offending staff members.

Dishonest Expert Witnesses who perpetuate false allegations of mental illness are not punished nor sent on any remedial training despite the extraordinary claims such as: it was reasonable to ask doctor to see psychiatrists because of the number of people who complained. So ganging up by doctors and other staff becomes evidence of madness.

Article 8, the right to privacy is breached when unreasonable demands are made that doctors send in their complete medical records to the investigation team when they are not ill, but merely have different political views.

It would be only fair to GMC to say that mobbing starts outside GMC but then escalates by GMC staff joining in on the fun of a kill. So far, GMC has refused to discipline doctors who make false allegations against other doctors, in my experience.

There are other abuses of Human Rights in Statutory Instruments and so called GMC Rules and Medical Act 1983 itself not being compatible with HRA 1998 (composition of review panels, for example).

This is not complete picture either.

Dr Helen Bright

Janet Mauldridge \(0161 923 6324\), General Medical Council

Our ref: F11/3500/JM

Dear Mr Porter

I refer to your email of 13 January 2010 in which you request information
in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

The GMC is a statutory body and fully recognises that it has obligations
under both UK and European legislation.

Although panellists are appointed by the GMC they are not members of the
GMC. They are appointed by open competition against certain identified
competencies. The recruitment process is carried out in line with guidance
issued by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments and is
monitored by an independent assessor. No panellist is appointed unless
he/she has successfully completed assessed training, which includes
training in equality and diversity issues. In addition, panellists are
required to undergo regular training in equality and diversity issues.
That training ensures that they are aware of - and understand - the
legislative framework, provides updates on changes to the legislation and
considers issues that could arise at hearings and how they might affect
the fairness of a hearing.

Panellists' role is to hear the evidence presented at hearings, to reach
findings of fact, to decide whether on the basis of the facts found proved
a doctor's fitness to practise is impaired and if so to consider what
sanction, if any, to impose.

At the fact finding stage panellists hear the evidence and reach decisions
on the basis of the evidence presented to them by both the GMC and the
doctor. They are able to assess the credibility of witnesses and reach
their conclusions and decisions independently of any part of the GMC. The
burden of proof lies with the GMC; the doctor does not have to prove or
disprove anything.

Once the facts have been found proved the panel hear further submissions
and evidence from both the doctor and the GMC before considering whether
the doctor's fitness to practise is impaired. This is a matter for the
panel's judgment and in exercising that judgment they take account of the
framework provided by Good Medical Practice and other ethical guidance. It
would be unfair to all concerned if each panel approached the question of
impairment in a vacuum. If a panel reaches a decision that, on the face of
it, is inconsistent with the framework they are required to give clear and
cogent reasons so that it is clear to the doctor, the GMC and others the
reasons for their decision.

At the sanction stage, the panel hear submissions and further evidence
from both parties before considering what sanction, if any, to impose on
the doctor's registration. At this stage the panel works within the
framework of the Indicative Sanctions Guidance, which is available on our
website at
[1]http://www.gmc-uk.org/Indicative_Sanctio...
That Guidance, which has been welcomed by the Courts, helps achieve a
consistent approach. It also enables any doctor appearing before a panel
to have a clear idea of the type of sanction that might be imposed in
certain cases and therefore helps ensure openness and transparency. Again,
if a panel reaches a decision that, on the face of it, appears
inconsistent with the Guidance clear and cogent reasons must be given.

The panellists are required to reach decisions that are proportionate,
weighing the interests of the public (i.e. the protection of patients, the
maintenance of public confidence in the profession and declaring and
upholding proper standards of conduct and behaviour) with those of the
doctor. They also have a responsibility to ensure that the proceedings
before them are fair to all, not just the doctor but the GMC and the
witnesses who appear before them.

Doctors' whose registration is affected as a result of decisions taken by
panels have a right of appeal to the High Court (Court of Session in
Scotland). The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence also has a
power to refer decisions taken by panels to the High Court (or Court of
Session) if they consider the decision taken unduly lenient.

There is no evidence that the GMC persistently discriminates against black
and ethnic minority doctors. Research commissioned by the GMC and carried
out by Economic and Social Research Council's Public Service Programme
concluded that doctors from abroad, irrespective of their ethnicity, were
more likely to come before the GMC but that in cases involving UK
qualified doctors there was no link between ethnicity and outcome. A
summary of that research is available on our website at
[2]http://www.gmc-uk.org/Humphrey___Clarify...

I hope this information is useful to you.

Yours sincerely

Janet Mauldridge

Information Access Officer

0161 923 6324

[email address]

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Dr Helen Bright anodiad ()

Dear Mr Porter,

Despite what GMC say there is plenty of evidence that FTP panelists are prejudiced, breach Human Rights and the High Court judges show evidence of inadequate performance with whistleblowers, where there are, for example only, religious, gender, ethnic issues and ganging up against an individual doctor.
Cultural, and social attitudinal problems occur in High Court too and have led to complaints against the judges.
GMC has failed to act on reports of breaches of recommended practice by panelists such as non-declaration of conflicts of interests.
One of the GMC FTP panelist, for example, Dr Howard has no idea about the freedom of speech and said to me " We are not here to criticize the GMC" in a situation where the criticism was fair and done at the appropriate time.

The latest is that now GMC wants to be able to issue warnings and sanctions on medical practitioners without Fitness to Practice hearings. This would be a breech of Article 6 of HRA 1998. Those doctors who are frightened to a high degree (e.g. depressed) would not be able to give valid consent even if they agreed to it to avoid the public scrutiny.

Government is aware of the problems at GMC and now GMC will have to have regular meetings with them so that the government can keep an eye on this regulator who for at least 12 years has been the servant to offended NHS medical managers and essentially, held unaccountable in the High Court. If the High Court accepts what one of the Privy Council judges said to GMC: "You are the masters of the law and fact" why do they accept appeal application forms from doctors complaining about GMC? This could be seen as contradiction or hypocrisy or other things as well.

Huge rise in the number of complaints about doctors to GMC is the direct result of GMC unfair policy of giving procedural advantage to NHS managers and public bodies. Complaints from NHS managers about locum doctors are fast tracked and investigated (very badly) leading to FTP proceedings and punishment (sanctions).
Valid and well investigated complaints against the offenders in NHS permanent posts are not attended to properly, especially, if offenders work for GMC itself such as their FTP panelists.

This kind of behavior is also called corruption according to some definitions of corruption I found in Legal Dictionary.

Here is definition of corruption:

corruption noun abuse of public trust, act of bribing, act of
profiteering, baseness, breach of faith, breach of trust, bribery,
complicity, conduct involving graft, corrupt inducement,
corruptibility, crime, criminality, debasement, deception,
deviation from rectitude, deviousness, disgrace, dishonesty,
dishonour, disloyalty, disrepute, fraudulence, fraudulence, graft,
improbity, indirection, injustice, jobbery, knavery, lack of
conscience, lack of principle, lack of probity, malignancy,
obliquity, perfidiousness, perfidy, perversion of integrity,
scoundrelism, turpitude, unscrupulousness, venality, villainy, want
of principle, wickedness
Associated concepts: corruption in public office
Foreign phrases: Corrumpit optimi est pessima.The corruption of the
best is the worst. Maledicta est expositio quae corrumpit textum.
It is a cursed interpretation which corrupts the text.See also: bad
repute, bribe, bribery, crime, decline, defilement, delict,
delinquency, deterioration, detriment, dishonesty, dissolution,
graft, gratuity, guilt, improbity, knavery, malfeasance,
misconduct, misusage, nepotism, perversion, pettifoggery, racket,
seduction, spoilage, turpitude, vice

Burton's Legal Thesaurus, 4E. Copyright © 2007 by William C.
Burton. Used with permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

CORRUPTION. An act done with an intent to give some advantage
inconsistent with official duty and the rights of others. It
includes bribery, but is more comprehensive; because an act may be
corruptly done, though the advantage to be derived from it be not
offered by another. Merl. Rep. h.t.
2. By corruption, sometimes, is understood something against law;
as, a contract by which the borrower agreed to pay the lender
usurious interest. It is said, in such case, that it was corruptly
agreed, &c.

Gadawodd Helen Bright anodiad ()

Dear Mr Porter,

There are GMC Fitness to Practice Panelists who also sat at the Council and were allowed to be also Fitness to Practice Panelists. Therefore, it has been possible to be a prosecutor and a judge. Although, at some point GMC decided that one could not be both, some of those while no longer on the governing and policy making body of GMC(Council) were allowed to continue as FTP panelists up to present day.

The conflict of interests is not assessed by any test, it is merely left to the panelists to declare it.

Dear Janet Mauldridge (0161 923 6324),

Please could you tell me what you mean by they 'dont persistently discriminate against black and ethnic minority doctors'? Does that mean the GMC feels it is ok to occasionally discriminate? What exactly do you mean? It is extremely concerning to hear such language from a public body.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Porter

Janet Mauldridge \(0161 923 6324\), General Medical Council

I am currently out of the office and will not return until Tuesday 8 March
2011. Your email will not be forwarded during my absence. If you enquiry
is urgent please contact the Information Access Team on 0161 923 6365 or
email [GMC request email].

Unless otherwise expressly agreed by the sender of this email, this
communication may contain privileged or confidential information which is
exempt from disclosure under UK law. This email and its attachments may
not be used or disclosed except for the purpose for which it has been
sent.

If you are not the addressee or have received this email in error, please
do not read, print, re-transmit, store or act in reliance on it or any
attachments. Instead, please email the sender and then immediately delete
it.

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street, Manchester, M3 3AW

Regents Place, 350 Euston Road, London, NW1 3JN

The Tun, 4 Jacksons Entry, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AE

Regus House, Falcon Drive, Cardiff Bay, CF10 4RU

9th Floor, Bedford House, 16-22 Bedford Street, Belfast, BT2 7FD

The GMC is a charity registered in England and Wales (1089278) and
Scotland (SC037750)

Janet Mauldridge \(0161 923 6324\), General Medical Council

Our ref: F11/3500/JM

Dear Mr Porter

Thank you for your email of 5 March 2011.

I apologise if my earlier response was unclear.

The portion of my reply stating that "There is no evidence that the GMC
persistently discriminates against black and ethnic minority doctors" was
in direct response to a question from your email dated 13 January 2011,
repeated here for clarity: "May I ask why the GMC seeks to break article
14 by persistently discriminating against black and ethnic minority
doctors and persecuting them vigorously while letting white doctors get
away with similar offences?"

To avoid any doubt I confirm that there is no evidence that the GMC
discriminate against black and ethnic minority doctors.

I trust that this clarifies the matter.

Yours sincerely

Janet Mauldridge

Information Access Officer

0161 923 6324

[email address]

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir