Defamation of defendants / doctors PRIOR to a hearing

S. Ali made this Freedom of Information request to Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service

Automatic anti-spam measures are in place for this older request. Please let us know if a further response is expected or if you are having trouble responding.

The request was refused by Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

Dear Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service,

Please can you provide legal opinions, reasonings or internal investigations in relation to the MPTS publishing prior to a hearing untested allegations of MPTS employers, the GMC. i.e. MPTS publishing in significant detail ‘...information about forthcoming tribunal hearings on its website, both in a list of current and upcoming MPTS hearings and via a website notice.’ Clearly some detail is needed but the level of detail is significantly greater than that of HM Courts. It includes untested (and new) accusations but no defence of a doctor in an act of injustice. It clearly leads to both significant harm and prejudice against accused doctors / individuals and groups prior, to a tribunal taking place. This departure from expected practice, provides an avenue of clear active negligent prejudice by the prosecuting GMC and its sub-contracted legal entities.

This FOI request was originally made by ‘Susan Chanock’ in 2016 (no relation) but refused. Mr Mark Ellen of the GMC did respond in 2016 on behalf of the MPTS, and stated the MPTS is bound by UK law and Data Protection Act 1998 but then does not specify obvious specifics which would highlight that this is bad practice. The practice has continued in the last 5 years, I thus request information in relation to this gratuitous practice, if any is present.

I would point out clarification to the GMC Information Access Team if this request is forwarded to your GMC employers. As previously stated to the team in an internal appeal, the GMC is not the Police, it is not part of the judiciary or HM court service, it is also not part of Probation services or HM prison. As such parts of Contempt of Court Act 1981 does not apply but the Police Act 1966 does apply, you may be individually charged by the Crown Prosecution Service if you quote and pretend to be a body which you are not part of, in order for the GMC to evade being held accountable in the Public Interest. The Information Commissioners Office may also take action in relation to (repeated) failures related to the Freedom of Information Act.

A prompt response within 20 working days, electronically would be appreciated. A long request is made in order to avoid 'cut and paste' and not actually understanding the request as evidenced in 2016 with a third party. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Ali

Enquiries, Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service

Dear Dr Ali

Thank you for your email.

I have forwarded your Freedom of Information (FOI) request to out Information Access team who deal with FOI requests for the GMC and MPTS.

Kind regards

Ian Sexton
Corporate Affairs Officer
 
Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS)
7th Floor, St James's Buildings
79 Oxford Street
Manchester
M1 6FQ
 
Contact: [mpts request email]
Website: www.mpts-uk.org

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Dear S Ali,

Your information request – IR1-3136222864
Thank you for your email dated 10 July, in which you ask for legal opinions, reasonings or internal investigations in relation to the MPTS publishing prior to a hearing untested allegations of MPTS employers, the GMC.

How we will consider your request
We’re going to consider your request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). The FOIA gives us 20 working days to respond, but we’ll come back to you as soon as we can.

Who to contact
Matt McCoig-Lees will be handling your request. If you have any questions you can contact him via email at [email address].

Yours sincerely

Lauren Barrowcliffe
Information Access Team Assistant

[email address]
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Manchester
M3 3AW

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Dear FOI,

The response to my request has been delayed, by law, you should normally have responded promptly before 10 August 2021. If a reply is not planned to be provided, please can you follow your processes and escalate this to an internal review.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Ali

Thank you for getting in touch. Please note this is an automated email.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can with a further acknowledgement.
You’ll usually hear from us on the next working day, but it might take a
little longer during busy periods.

In the meantime, if you want any further information about the GMC, please
visit our website.

Thank you

Information Access team

General Medical Council

Email: [email address]

Working with doctors Working for patients

The General Medical Council helps to protect patients and improve medical
education and practice in the UK by setting standards for students and
doctors. We support them in achieving (and exceeding) those standards, and
take action when they are not met.

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Matthew McCoig-Lees (0161 923 6579),

Dear Dr Ali

Thank you for your email.

I confirm that I will be providing a response to you but I am unable to tell you when this will be at this time.

In light to this, please advise if you would like us to open an internal review.

---
Kind Regards

Matt

Matthew McCoig-Lees
Information Access Officer
Information Access Team
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Manchester
M3 3AW
Email: [email address]
Website: www.gmc-uk.org
Tel: 0161 923 6579

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Dear Matthew McCoig-Lees (0161 923 6579),

Thank you for your reply, if you are providing the information then there is no current need for an internal review. I shall await the reply but would like a reason as par ICO directions for a delay if it will not be provided this year. I look forward to the information.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Ali

Dear Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service,

I understand the previous MPTS/GMC respondent is no longer employed. An internal review request was previously held on the basis of a pending response, this appears no longer the case.

I do understand you are busy and their are changes. However it is 44 working days since this request was submitted, please can this FOI request be escalated as an internal appeal. I look forward to a response within the next month. Many thanks.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Ali

Matthew McCoig-Lees (0161 923 6579),

Dear Dr Ali

I write further to previous correspondence. I have seen on your request that you seem to believe that I am no longer employed at the GMC and that the GMC does not intend to respond to your request. I confirm that I remain employed with the GMC in my Information Access role and the GMC intends to respond to your request as soon as possible.

Given this and your previous emails, I am assuming that an internal appeal is not necessary.

In any event, until we make a decision in relation to your request, there is no decision to review so an internal review would not serve any practical purpose.

---
Kind Regards

Matt

Matthew McCoig-Lees
Information Access Officer
Information Access Team
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Manchester
M3 3AW
Email: [email address]
Website: www.gmc-uk.org
Tel: 0161 923 6579

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Enquiries, Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service

Dear Dr Ali,

Thank you for your email. I have forwarded it to our Information Access team who deal with FOI requests for the MTPS and GMC.

Kind regards

Ian Sexton
Corporate Affairs Officer
 
Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS)
7th Floor, St James's Buildings
79 Oxford Street
Manchester
M1 6FQ
 
Contact: [email address]
Website: www.mpts-uk.org

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Dear Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service's handling of my FOI request 'Defamation of defendants / doctors PRIOR to a hearing'.

FOI request should be done within a specified time. The request was made 10th July, given delays there was further communication due to a mis-identification of departed colleagues, which being beyond 20 working days at 34 business days stated by your colleagues 'I confirm that I will be providing a response to you but I am unable to tell you when this will be at this time' It is now 80 working days since the request and given concerns of trying to circumvent responding as appears had done with a similar request to another third-party (evidence of past bad behavior by the GMC/MPTS). It is appropriate to request an internal review before standard practice escalation to ICO for failures, and apparent repetitive refusal to provide information.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/d...

Yours faithfully,

Dr Ali

S. Ali left an annotation ()

There are three issues here:
1. The request in relation to bad practice in general at GMC/MPTS and planned complaint to PSA plus, potentially other bodies to disband this organisation.
2. Request is by someone with an Asian name; so given institutional racism at the parent body, the GMC; a non-response or significant delay was expected.
2. Bad practice of the GMC within this quack-department, hence the original request was worded clearly expectations of non-compliance as evidence. This was in preparation for a larger complaint to the ICO 'The Information Commissioners Office may also take action in relation to (repeated) failures related to the Freedom of Information Act.'

Some organisations will not change unless you act like them or undermine them. the GMC and MPTS, is not fit for purpose.

Enquiries, Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service

Dear Dr Ali,

Thank you for your email. It's now been forwarded to the appropriate team who will contact you in due course.

Kind regards,

Louise Daley
Executive Assistant to the MPTS Chair and Executive Manager

Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS)
7th Floor, St James's Buildings
79 Oxford Street
Manchester
M1 6FQ

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Matthew McCoig-Lees,

Dear Dr Ali

 

I write further to previous correspondence with a response under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. I am sorry for the delay in responding to
you that  

 

As you may be aware [1]Annex A of our Publication and Disclosure Policy
for Fitness to Practice (PDP) information provides guidance on issuing a
public website notice for MPTS hearings. However, I have asked the
relevant departments and they have not been able to locate anything which
could be reasonably described as ‘legal opinions, reasonings or internal
investigations’ to explain the underlying rational of publishing
allegation information in our website notices. This is my formal response
under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

We do hold information in connection to some relatively minor changes we
made in 2018 including changing the name of publications from ‘press
releases’ to ‘website notices’ ; introducing a standardised ‘area of
practice’, or displaying an ‘area of incident’ field where this would be
more appropriate; changing some standard text on the website notice pro
forma; and removing the ‘area of registered address.’ However, I don’t
feel this addresses request in a meaningful way.

 

We also hold operational guidance about how and what to include in website
notices and information about specific instances where we chose not to
publish website notices or provided them in a nonstandard way. Finally, as
you can see in the guidance, we have a discretionary power to publish or
disclose any information about a doctor where we believe it to be in the
public interest, which is the power under which we publish website
notices. We have taken legal advice about what we can and should publish
under Section 35B(2) of the Medical Act 1983 but not in relation to the
specific practice of publishing website notices.

 

Outside the confines of the Freedom of Information Act (which as you know
does not require a Public Authority to generate information), I think some
further commentary would be useful.

 

It’s not clear exactly what ‘significant harm [or] prejudice’ suffered by
doctors by our publication practice. They are published for a specified
period of time prior to a hearing and are then removed. The tribunal gets
a copy of all the allegations in detail at the start of the hearing. The
allegations, even if none are found proved, are published in the final
determination which is published in accordance with the PDP, often in
considerably more detail.

 

I would conclude by stating that, in part based on the advice we have
received in relation to publishing other information under Section 35B(2)
of the Medical Act 1983, the rational of publishing information about
allegations prior to a hearing is that it is a justifiable interference
with the legal rights of individuals which is necessary and proportionate
to meet our statutory objectives.

 

I hope you find this information helpful.

 

If you have any comments on how I have handled your request please email
[2][email address].

 

 

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Kind Regards

 

Matt

 

Matthew McCoig-Lees

Information Access Officer

Information Access Team

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

Email: [email address]

Website: www.gmc-uk.org

Tel: 0161 923 6579

 

 

 

 

 

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Dear Mr McCoig-Lees and Colleagues,

I requested legal opinions, reasonings or internal investigations in 'relation' to the MPTS publishing . It appears you are looking solely in relation to website publishing process rather than overall. Although intention is important, overall we often look at process and contents of actions. In relation to PROCESS, you confirm there is no legal basis for the gratuitous GMC practice prior to a hearing where the MPTS/GMC, clearly deviate from standard legal practice of courts in England and Wales (for prior public notifications and pre-hearing website publishing which leads to prejudice).

In relation to CONTENT, you also confirm the GMC and or MPTS have taken legal advice about what you can and should publish under Section 35B(2) of the Medical Act 1983 - which underpins this and other publishing content. A copy of this would be appreciated to satisfy this FOI request.

In regards to ‘significant harm [or] prejudice’ suffered by doctors by our publication practice,' I understand the GMC will be looking into difficulties and suicides from the FTP process which is unfit for purpose. Although this is not the forum to address this, I like many doctors, do worry that the planned action is actually like with gender in the past and currently race, it is just GMC 'lip service.'

A copy of the legal advice is requested, in relation to actions under Section 35B(2) of the Medical Act 1983. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Ali

1 Attachment

Dear Dr Ali

 

Your information request – IR1-3268180841

 

Thank you for your email dated 11 November 2021.

 

How we will consider your request

We’re going to consider your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA). The FOIA gives us 20 working days to respond, but we’ll come
back to you as soon as we can.

 

Who to contact

Matthew McCoig-Lees will be handling your request. If you have any
questions, you can call him on 0161 923 6579 or email him at
[1][email address].

 

Kind regards,

 

Charlotte Adams
Information Access Team Assistant
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street, Manchester M3 3AW

 

Email: [2][email address]

Website: [3]www.gmc-uk.org

Telephone: 0161 240 8125

 

Working hours: 8am to 2.30pm, Monday to Friday

 

[4][IMG]

 

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Dear FOI at the GMC/MPTS,

RE: IR1-3136222864

I would like to highlight that this is an overdue request originally made 10.07.2021. I requested legal opinions, reasoning or internal investigations in relation to the MPTS publishing prior to a hearing untested allegations of MPTS employers, the GMC. That also highlighted given expected bad GMC practice for the response to be promptly within 20 working days, It is 100 working and the information has not been provided.

On 11 November 2021 it was highlighted the (GMC) have taken legal advice about what we can and should publish under Section 35B(2) of the Medical Act 1983 but then fail to provide the legal advice especially as you point out, you should publish under another Act of Parliament, not just the Freedom of Information Act.
I would highlight it would be prudent to provide all legal advice as your email also states there has been ‘other information’, to quote “in part based on the advice we have received in relation to publishing other information under Section 35B(2) of the Medical Act 1983”

My original request is for: legal opinions, reasoning or internal investigations in relation to the MPTS publishing prior to a hearing untested allegations of the GMC. It is clear you hold the information requested and it should be provided under a number of different parts of law and good practice but you with-hold it, demonstrating bad practice. This request is overdue and I will be escalating to the ICO as it appears you are attempting to re-set the clock (IR1-3268180841) for your over-paid and inefficient legal team which is deliberately inappropriate.

Further exploration under your 'comments and complaints procedure' which is likely to be useless may be appropriate. I do not agree to amalgamation of complaints in order to evade specific complaints which is further bad practice. However, I still require the information, which for legal and regulatory purposes which you are all too well aware, I am demanding the information, refusal should and will be held against the GMC as it is unfit for purpose.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Ali

Matthew McCoig-Lees,

Dear Dr Ali

 

I write further to previous correspondence of 11 and 26 November 2021 with
a response under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

I have re-read your request of 10 July 2021, which was originally for:

 

'legal opinions, reasoning or internal investigations in relation to the
MPTS publishing prior to a hearing untested allegations of MPTS employers
the GMC. i.e. MPTS publishing in significant detail ‘...information about
forthcoming tribunal hearings on its website, both in a list of current
and upcoming MPTS hearings and via a website notice.’  

 

Thus, the only example you gave in your request was the example of the GMC
practice of publishing information about allegations prior to hearings in
relation to the contents of our website notices for current and upcoming
hearings. You used the abbreviation for the Latin phrase id est, which can
be used interchangeably with the word specifically. I appreciate that you
may feel that this is an overly literal interpretation of your request,
however I can only provide information based on the specific wording of
the question actually posed. My response was written ‘solely in relation
to website publishing process rather than overall,’ because that’s what
you requested. Notwithstanding this, instinctively, I cannot think of any
further ways that the GMC routinely publishes allegation information in
advance of a hearing. If you were thinking of other specific practices,
I’ll be happy to consider further requests in relation to them.

 

I have a number of further comments on our previous exchanges.  Most
importantly, I maintain my previous response that we hold no information
in relation to your initial request. Also, I don’t accept that anything I
have written confirms that there is no legal basis for our practice. For
the avoidance of doubt, the GMC believes its practice is entirely lawful.
 

 

Finally, in your correspondance of 26 November you criticise the  ‘re-set
[of the] the clock.’ You also ‘do not agree to amalgamation of
complaints.’ It is therefore not clear to me at all how we could have
processed your requests to your satisfaction from an administrative
perspective without being criticised.

 

The legal advice which I had in mind in my first response was legal advice
in relation to our practice of publishing the outcomes of Medical
Practioner Tribunal outcomes after they have taken place. I have therefore
considered your email of 11 November to be a request to be for this
document.

 

Given the specific nature of this advice, I believe that this is a new
request because it is not about ‘publishing prior to a hearing.’ The
deadline for a response is 10 December 2021. In any event, I am now in a
position to respond to your request, however it is characterised.

 

I will not be providing the document because it carries legal professional
privilege. I am not aware of any Act of Parliament which mandates
disclosure of this document as you suggest in your email of 26 November.

 

The exemption

 

Section 42 of the FOIA is the exemption for information which carries
legal professional privilege. The principle of legal professional
privilege is to safeguard full and frank exchanges between a legal advisor
and their client (legal advice). This exemption is subject to a public
interest test. In this instance I believe that the public interest lies in
maintaining the exemption rather than disclosing the information.

 

Your right to appeal

 

If you wish to appeal my decision to apply an exemption under the FOIA,
please email [1][email address], setting out your reasons to the
Information Access Manager. We will only consider appeals received within
40 working days of our response. You can also appeal to the Information
Commissioner, the regulator of the FOIA and DPA. We can provide more
details on this if you need them.

 

 

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Kind Regards

 

Matt

 

Matthew McCoig-Lees

Information Access Officer

Information Access Team

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

Email: [email address]

Website: www.gmc-uk.org

Tel: 0161 923 6579

 

 

 

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Dear Matthew McCoig-Lees and Sir/Madam,

Thank you for your reply 29 November 2021, it is not clear if you are also reply to the internal review request 10th September and again highlighted 30th October (ignore 13 August as par our communication). It appears you/GMC believe that despite my request being about defamation of doctors 'prior' (before if you want to be pedantic) to an MPTS (which brings the profession into disrepute), your reply suggests that it is not about that (?but after) thankfully your reply quite rightly indicates I will not agree with, especially given common sense. It is about calculated deliberate actions before in collusion with the GMC. The issue given your reply is, that if legal advice you hint at, has formed part of the prior (and you also indicate reviewed) actions into bad practices, BUT to me the legal advice you hint at, appears already in the public domain and thus becomes silly to attempt to use Section 42 FOI to refuse a request. I may be wrong and clearly struggling to understand, hence this email.

It is also wrong to put together the 're-set clock' and 'amalgamate complaints' issues. To point out your own departments practice by quoting your colleague about FOI internal reviews “I can confirm that the comments and complaints procedure is the mechanism in which we conduct an internal review” My last prompting request, was at 100 workings days as I also expect the GMC to again argue it has taken too long as an excuse to bring a complaint to the ICO to undermine the FOI and ICO yet again by your own action/inactions. Please understand, here your complaints procedures actually have their own rules (e.g. 10 days not 20 for response) and I do not consent to amalgamation of complaints in the context of complaints procedures where such possible action is described. From an administrative prospective you can satisfy my complaint by providing information within the pre-set stipulated times. The re-set the clock (separate and in relation to your proposed action –rather than my internal review request) was clearly about your previous reply in which you appear to start a new FOI requests about such activity but ‘after’ an MPTS hearing. Clearly you appear to have knowledge of this supposed ‘legal professional privilege’ which you quote, now at multiple times, but do not explain (the MPTS cannot really use LLP unless acting against the PSA or another body which is unlikely to be reasonable here as a live issue). I was not aware the MPTS had such information which would clearly undermines public and medical confidence especially about procedures you use to victimise doctors. I would highlight, I do agree that there should be a time-limited legal privileged for the GMC and MPTS but nonetheless, after almost a decade, time has elapsed and this gratuitous one-sided practice continues to do mortal and mental harm to doctors.

To use Legal Professional Privilege (LPP) with Section 42 FOI to hide away reasoning for public (anti-doctor) policy sets a dangerous precedence and evidences an organisation unfit for purpose. Especially as GMC policies and ROs are using these processes to protect the current batch of Dr Harold Shipmans' with multiple murders whilst also using the FTP practices as a discrimination / racism tool for often silly issues because they are easier for non-medically qualified paper pushers.

To re-confirm my last email, the GMC/MPTS has no legal basis for the process of publishing gratuitous information prior to a hearing. You have contacted ‘...relevant departments and they have not been able to locate anything which could be reasonably described as ‘legal opinions, reasonings or internal investigations’ to explain the underlying rational…’ You do appear to state the GMC have a legal basis for the content ‘after’ a hearing which is clearly not the same and thus, appears ongoing reasoning of the ‘prior’ action, is as suspected more related to actions in keeping with culpable negligent departure from established judicial practices by an unfit pseudo-legal organisation (the content is very unproportioned and in collusion with GMC prosecution only, and unlike medical practice has no attempt at agreement or being fair or reasonable) with a few exceptions.

To summarise, I read that you clearly state the GMC ‘hold no information in relation to your initial request’ the initial request being ‘defamation of defendants / doctors PRIOR to a hearing’ The word PRIOR is in capitals and is clearly about actions prior to an MPT hearing. I will not explain medical ethics to you but please understand my legal knowledge is limited to school and GMC related interactions. So fully going through the motions:

As you paradoxically quote section 42 FOI, I request you disclose whom the legal adviser is.

It would be prudent to disclose without bias, your public interest test documentation, as ‘LPP’ is clearly not recent or protects the rights of individuals despite being live. Action at the MPTS and beyond often leads to significant financial strain involving a large amount of money for doctors, the MPTS actions clearly affect all doctors in the UK, this type of action solidifies concerns in SOMEP 2020 and evidences a lack of transparency, with ongoing concern of misrepresentation.

You feel there is no act of parliament that allows disclosure of ‘legal professional privilege’ (LLP) both (litigation and advice as my request is about publishing gratuitously without agreements strategically from only one side, prior to a hearing) and quote Section 42 of FOIA to refuse this request about public procedure, limited to contents as it is clear there is no legal defence for this ongoing process, by either the GMC or MPTS. We can assume there is currently no litigator unless you adversarially include the public, the medical profession or crown prosecution service but the client is the GMC although in this case should be the MPTS so it is unclear how you are applying Section 42 - as you represent both supposed independent bodies. I should remind you, when a legal disclosure is made/provided at/to the MPTS, it becomes an unrestricted disclosure, so LLP cannot apply.

I appeal this especially given the public interest, including your request for reasonings/commentary which are not required by the FOI Act but you have requested regardless and do not appear to understand the weight of public interest as well as the doctors interest, as you/GMC as a client is paid by doctors including by me. The MPTS is paid by the GMC with funds accrued from doctors and not the public purse. I would highlight a little subtlety which your associated legal colleagues will try to hide/ignore, that LLP cannot be used to enable a client to further a crime or fraud; which is the concern about this ongoing gratuitous practice in the bigger context.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Ali

S. Ali left an annotation ()

Some view the MPTS and GMC being independent. The MPTS has an independent board but is essentially paid and by statute a department of the GMC. If the MPTS does not do what the GMC want, they are taken to court as part of public schooling punishment.

The GMC feedback, comments and complaints procedure can be found: https://www.gmc-uk.org/about/get-involve...

The MPTS have their own website but appear to use the same team www.mpts-uk.org/complaints

1 Attachment

Dear Dr Ali

Thank you for your email dated 30 November 2021.

We will be considering your email under our comments and complaints
procedure. This sets a target response time of 20 working days. We will
endeavour to respond to you within this timeframe.

 

Julian Graves will be handling your request. If you have any questions,
you can call him on 0161 923 6351 or email him at
[1][email address].

 

Kind regards,

 

Charlotte Adams
Information Access Team Assistant
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street, Manchester M3 3AW

 

Email: [2][email address]

Website: [3]www.gmc-uk.org

Telephone: 0161 240 8125

 

Working hours: 8am to 2.30pm, Monday to Friday

 

[4][IMG]

 

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Julian Graves,

2 Attachments

Dear Dr Ali

 

Please find attached my response to your request for an internal review.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Julian Graves

 

 

Julian Graves

Information Access Manager

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester M3 3AW

 

Tel. no: 0161 923 6351

Email: [1][email address]

 

 

 

 

 

From: FOI
Sent: 03 December 2021 10:42
To: 'S. Ali' <[FOI #773247 email]>
Subject: RE: Internal review of Freedom of Information request -
Defamation of defendants / doctors PRIOR to a hearing

 

Dear Dr Ali

Thank you for your email dated 30 November 2021.

We will be considering your email under our comments and complaints
procedure. This sets a target response time of 20 working days. We will
endeavour to respond to you within this timeframe.

 

Julian Graves will be handling your request. If you have any questions,
you can call him on 0161 923 6351 or email him at
[2][email address].

 

Kind regards,

 

Charlotte Adams
Information Access Team Assistant
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street, Manchester M3 3AW

 

Email: [3][email address]

Website: [4]www.gmc-uk.org

Telephone: 0161 240 8125

 

Working hours: 8am to 2.30pm, Monday to Friday

 

[5][IMG]

 

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Dear MPTS, GMC and Mr Graves,

Thank you for your internal review document and initial complaint response.

Regarding the main FOI request. To summarise the MPTS (and the GMC) have no process or contents justification documents in relation to the MPTS BAD PRACTICE publishing prior to a hearing untested allegations. I understand you are ‘satisfied that we do not hold information which falls within the scope of your original request.’

Tangentially regarding your colleagues FOI request. Your colleague attempted to undermine the main 'prior to hearing ' request by highlighting discretionary powers 'post-hearing' to publish under Section 35B(2) of the Medical Act 1983 - not in relation to the specific practice of publishing website notices but in general. This is often used after a hearing. As it is discretionary but applied whole-scale it can be viewed as ‘MISUSE’ of the discretionary powers. Given bad practice, there was an attempt to use discretionary powers after a tribunal to justify untested one-sided negative-only allegations as ‘justifiable interference with the legal rights of individuals which is necessary and proportionate to meet our statutory objectives’ clearly that is wrong and is abusive misuse, it only takes common-sense to realise that, which any member of the public can see for themselves.

In relation to this tangential information (I understood was in the public domain) which was not actually requested in the first place but I did agree to entertain and follow process started under IR1-3268180841. This was paradoxically refused under Section 42 of FOIA as it supposedly attracted legal privilege for the MPTS. This demonstrates opaque practices lacking transparency and candour by both GMC and MPTS. Section 42 is not frequently used and I had to refresh my knowledge from medical school from https://ico.org.uk/media/1208/legal_prof... Unusually you refuse to provide the statutory information of Section 42 by misusing Section 40(2) by virtue of Section 40(3A(a) of the Freedom of Information Act. Which is ironic as the names of individual doctors are published in spite of this by the GMC, which adds additional justification for the names of sources to be transparently detailed as expected when asked under section 42 FOIA, plus as they are a sub-contracted paid source it is in their commercial interest in not remaining anonymous. As I pay for what has been done by your colleagues, given that the GMC/MPTS are not publicly funded, as a paying party I also demand to know what you have done with our money ;-)

Interestingly demonstrated is the public interest test applied from the perspective of the employing MPTS/prosecuting GMC, which is biased and clearly fails the public interest test. Moreso given the subject matter and the number of people affected, or that the request was for the MPTS but we appreciate the two organisations are under statute a single organisation.

For the purposes of highlighting additional bad practice in an ICO complaint as you also highlight article 6 of GDPR– legitimate processing where provision you say would be illegal (unfounded), I would highlight to inform you there is also a separate paragraph in this article which states “This cannot apply if you are a public authority processing data to perform your official tasks.” Courts, good tribunals and other public offices do not actively try to hide justifications for public action but he GMC/MPTS does.

As the complaints policy is engaged, please escalate to consider my original request, given that there is no process or contents justification to the bad practice of publishing untested accusations (and factoids) prior to a hearing. It does cause harm and the MPTS/GMC actions thus far only undermine trust in the medical profession. I would request that the complaints policy uses common-sense and considers an outcome with directions for your MPTS department to follow what the courts and other tribunals do, on the basis of evidence based practice. I realise for the GMC this term when it shows your bad practice will be difficult to accept and there will be difficulties, I apologies for the stress caused whilst championing the Public Interest and rights of doctors to be treated with respect and as human beings.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/n...

I did decide against the standard GMC response late on a Friday afternoon, so Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Ali
Former Elected Doctors Representative

Julian Graves,

Dear Dr Ali

I'm in receipt of your email below.

I'm sorry that our communications on this haven't been clear. Your FOI internal review was considered in line with the information request comments and complaints procedure as shown on our website: https://www.gmc-uk.org/accessing-informa...

As you can see, your escalation point is to the Information Commissioner's Office rather than internally.

Yours sincerely

Julian Graves

Julian Graves
Information Access Manager
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Manchester M3 3AW

Tel. no: 0161 923 6351
Email: [email address]

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Dear Mr Graves,

Thank you for the email. It is a little confusing as their are two FOI requests here where the second was not really asked but might as well follow through. A complaint to the ICO as expected will be raised in relation to both FOI requests.

I had previously clarified with Charlotte Adams that your internal review process is conducted via the comments and complaints process. The complaints policy does not appear to deal with single matters, although the complaints process is more acceptable than minimum requirements according to the FOIA for internal reviews, clearly neither are being also followed https://www.gmc-uk.org/about/get-involve...

There are issues in relation to the FOI Act which will now escalate to the ICO.

There are also issues in relation to 'Defamation of defendants / doctors PRIOR to a hearing' by the MPTS whom this request was originally made about and showed clear lack of justification or evidence for both process and contents, prior to a hearing which has been considered by yourself via the complaints policy hence attempts of justification rather than understanding then reasoning; the correspondence has indicated this distinction causes internal confusion and lack of transparency. I request that the complaints policy in relation to the subject matter, is escalated and action taken by the MPTS to rectify the issue. It may be wise to use the MPTS complaints policy rather than the GMC but as an organisation that is for you to decide. Further details and recommendations are in my email 21/12/2021. Please forward as needed.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Ali

Dear Julian Graves,

It has been more than 20 days from my complaint. I have not received a response

Yours sincerely,

Dr Ali

Julian Graves,

Dear Dr Ali

As I made clear previously, the escalation process for your request (and the associated correspondence) is the Information Commissioner's Office. The 'whatdotheyknow' website is to assist requestors with making FOI requests to public authorities not to exercise a complaints process outside of FOIA. On that basis I will not be responding to further communications in respect of this particular request.

If you wish to complain about the related issue directly to the MPTS you are of course welcome to do so.

Yours sincerely

Julian Graves

Julian Graves
Information Access Manager
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Manchester M3 3AW

Tel. no: 0161 923 6351
Email: [email address]

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