Expert witness report

Waiting for an internal review by General Medical Council of their handling of this request.

Duncan Lawrence Long

Dear General Medical Council,
I wish to request information regarding an Expert Witness report.
I request this information as being in the public interest to disclose the requested information.
The specific inmformation I request is as follows:
The Expert medical witness report produced by Dr Michael Barry Fertleman and submitted by him prior to The General Medical Council/MPTS Fitness to Practice Tribunal case against Dr Sarju Man Shrestha held in Manchester 25th June 2018-29th June 2018.

Yours faithfully,
Mr Duncan L Long

FOI, General Medical Council

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: [GMC request email]

Telephone: 0161 923 6365

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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FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Mr Long,

Your information request - IR1-2612169441

Thank you for your email dated 10 February, in which you ask for a copy of
the expert report produced by Dr Michael Barry Fertleman and submitted by
him prior to the Fitness to Practice Tribunal case against Dr Sarju Man
Shrestha in June 2018.

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
Louise Gormley will be handling your request. If you have any questions
you can call her on 0161 923 6311 or email her at
[1][email address].

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lauren Barrowcliffe
Information Access Team Assistant

 

[2][email address]

0161 240 8356

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

 

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Louise Gormley (0161 923 6311), General Medical Council

Our reference: IR1-2612169441

 

Dear Mr Long

 

Thank you for your email dated 11 February 2020, in which you request
information about Dr Sarju Man Shrestha. I have considered your request in
accordance with the access provisions of the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA).

 

Publicly available information about a doctor’s registration is on our
List of Registered Medical Practitioners (LRMP), which can be found on our
website. The LRMP lets you check a doctor’s registration status and
information about a doctor’s fitness to practise history.

 

Please find below a link to Dr Shrestha’s entry:

 

[1]https://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/4784029

 

I am not able to confirm if we hold the information you request. We
believe it’s reasonable for doctors and complainants to expect that
complaints will be treated as confidential. If a case progresses to a
public hearing, or the doctor receives a sanction on their registration,
certain information may be made publicly available by the GMC. Otherwise
the information is treated as the confidential personal data of the doctor
and other parties involved. I’ve given details of the exemption under the
FOIA which applies below:

 

Exemptions

 

Section 40(5B)(a)(i) of the FOIA applies where the information, if held,
would be the personal data of a third party and where confirming whether
it’s held would breach any of the principles relating to the processing of
personal data listed at Article 5 of the GDPR.  I believe that to publicly
confirm or deny whether we hold the information would breach the first
principle, which requires that the processing of personal data is fair,
lawful and transparent. I do not believe that any of the legal bases for
processing listed at Article 6 of the GDPR are met and therefore giving
you the information would be unlawful.

 

 

Your right to appeal

 

You can appeal against this decision to Julian Graves, Information Access
Manager.  If you want to appeal, please set out your reasons and email
[2][email address

 

You can also appeal to the Information Commissioner, the regulator of the
FOIA – we can provide more details about this if you need them.

 

Kind regards

 

Louise

 

Louise Gormley

Information Access Officer
Resources Directorate
 
Direct Line: 0161 923 6311
Email:        [3][email address]
Website:    [4]www.gmc-uk.org
Address:    Information Access Team
                 General Medical Council
                 3 Hardman Street

                 Manchester

                 M3 3AW

 

 

 

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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Duncan Lawrence Long

Dear Louise Gormley (0161 923 6311),

Thank you for looking into my information request. However, I do not accept your ruling.
Your ruling covers a request made by a person or persons simply seeking information with no additional rights other than an interest.
I, however, was the complainant.
To say after the fact that acknowledging the expert report is against the law. You (GMC) have already acknowledged the expert report exists so you cannot use that restriction as it patently does not apply here.
To quote you your own guidance for GMC experts, Section 6 - which deals with data protection, confidentiality, freedom of information and disclosure (of expert reports):-
S.6.19 –“we will usually disclose your expert report and your name where requested under Article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) where a case has closed to:’
* The complainant (or their representative).
* The patient referred to in the report.
S.6.23- “we will usually disclose your report on request to relatives of a patient referred to in your report if the patient is deceased”.
I clearly under your own rules am entitled to a copy of the expert report requested. The GMC have previously acknowledged the report exists and has done so in public.
The GMC reluctance to provide the information, however, is not based on FOI or GDPR rules but a desire to keep from the public its methods (GMC/MPTS) of assisting errant medical staff to avoid sanction and erasure by removing charges at the outset of fitness to practice tribunals based on clandestine expert reports.
Given the above points, I do not accept your decision as being either correct or indeed legal as you have admitted you have made a decision based upon yourselves having firstly broken the law by informing me in the first instance the report exists.
In layman’s terms, this is called wanting to have your cake and eat it.
This is not a matter to be routed down an appeal process but a matter to be dealt with correctly in the first instance. This you have failed to do.
You have not provided a satisfactory reason to withhold disclosure.

Yours sincerely,

Duncan Lawrence Long