General Medical Coucil's guidance "Acting as a witness in legal proceedings"

The request was partially successful.

Dear General Medical Council,

You issue guidance for the doctors you regulate related to "Acting as a witness in legal proceedings."

https://www.gmc-uk.org/static/documents/...

Your Guidance states that "Serious or persistent failure to follow this guidance will put your registration at risk."

I would like to know:

1. How many complaints related to doctors acting as a witness in legal proceedings have been received between 01 January 2008 and 01 January 2018?

2. In how many cases did the General Medical Council considered the registration of a doctor to be at risk due to a complaint about the way acted as a witness in legal proceedings during the aforementioned period?

3. How many doctors have been struck out from the register because of the way acted as a witness in legal proceedings during the aforementioned period?

I look forward to your response.

Yours faithfully,

E E Popescu

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.

show quoted sections

FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Mr Popescu

 

Your information request - F18/9434/SJ

 

Thank you for your email dated 04 March  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

Sadie Jones will be handling your request. If you have any questions you
can call her on 0161 250 6889 or email her at [1][email address].

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Loredana Cojan

 

Information Access Assistant

[2][email address]

 

0161 240 8189

 

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

show quoted sections

Sadie Jones (0161 250 6889), General Medical Council

Dear Mr Popescu

 

Your information access request – F18/9434/SJ

 

Thank you for your email dated 4 March asking for statistical information
relating to doctors who have been investigated by the GMC whilst acting as
a witness in legal proceedings. I’ve considered your request under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

 

I can’t provide the information you requested due to the work that would
be involved in extracting the requesting information. Under the FOIA
there’s an exemption for requests where it would cost the public authority
more than £450 to process - equivalent to two and half days’ work.

 

The cost of your request

 

To estimate the cost we can take into account determining, locating,
retrieving and extracting the information requested. We do not have an
allegation type specifically for complaints about doctors whilst acting as
a witness in legal proceedings. Therefore we have searched our data using
the below allegation types and sub-types:

 

-       Type: Giving evidence – Sub type: Misleading evidence

-       Type: Acting with honesty and integrity – Sub type:
False/misleading evidence.

-        

These searches have pulled back 3,520 cases between 2008 and 2018, and in
order to identify the information that you have requested we would need to
manually check through the details of each record to confirm if it’s
within the scope of your request. It would take around 10 minutes to check
through each complaint record, which would total to about 586 hours. Based
on an hourly rate of £25 per hour (which is set by the Freedom of
Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004) this would cost
us around £14,666 to process. Your request would therefore cost us
significantly in excess of the ‘appropriate limit’ to process. 

 

The exemption

 

Under the FOIA, the specific exemption which we believe applies is at
section 12. This states that we are not required to comply with a request
if we estimate that the cost of doing so would exceed the appropriate
limit.

 

Your right to appeal

 

I'm sorry I couldn’t provide the information you requested. You can appeal
against this decision to Elizabeth Hiley, Information Access Manager.  If
you want to appeal, please set out your reasons and write to her using
email: [1][email address].  You can also appeal to the
Information Commissioner, the regulator of the FOIA and DPA – we can
provide more details about this if you need them.

 

Yours sincerely

Sadie Jones

Information Access Officer

[2][email address]

0161 250 6889

 

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

show quoted sections

Dear Ms Jones,

Thank you for your response and for the work done towards answering my question.

As an observation, I find it hard to believe that the GMC pays data entry personnel £25 per hour or that it would take someone ten minutes to find out if a complaint refers to evidence given in court proceedings or not.

However, you have advised me that there are 3,520 cases between 2008 and 2018 that fall into these two categories:

a. Type: Giving evidence – Sub type: Misleading evidence and
b. Type: Acting with honesty and integrity – Sub type: False/misleading evidence.

I would be happy to have questions (2) and (3) of my original request answered without further refining down the data.

I am reformulating my questions below.

(2) In how many cases between 2008 and 2018 did the General Medical Council considered the registration of a doctor to be at risk due to a complaint related to giving false/misleading evidence?

(3) How many doctors have been struck out from the register between 2008 and 2018 because of the way acted as a witness in legal proceedings because of a complaint related to giving false/misleading evidence?

Yours sincerely,

Eduard Popescu

Sadie Jones (0161 250 6889), General Medical Council

Dear Mr Popescu

Thank you for your email dated 29 March.

 

I will be considering your reformulated request under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA) and will get back to you as soon as I can.

 

Yours sincerely

Sadie Jones

Information Access Officer

[1][email address]

0161 250 6889

 

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

show quoted sections

Sadie Jones (0161 250 6889), General Medical Council

Dear Mr Popescu

 

Thank you for your patience regarding your reformulated request, which
I’ve considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

 

Unfortunately, I can’t provide the information you requested due to the
work that would be involved in extracting the requesting information.
Under the FOIA there’s an exemption for requests where it would cost the
public authority more than £450 to process - equivalent to two and half
days’ work.

 

The cost of your request

 

To estimate the cost we can take into account determining, locating,
retrieving and extracting the information requested. As you know from me
previous response, the GMC do not have an allegation type specifically for
complaints about doctors whilst acting as a witness in legal proceedings.
Therefore as requested I have looked into the complaints with the below
categorisation:

 

-       Type: Acting with honesty and integrity – Sub type:
False/misleading evidence.

 

These searches have pulled back 204 cases between 2008 and 2018, and in
order to identify the information that you have requested we would need to
manually check through the details of each record to confirm if it’s
within the scope of your request. It would take around 10 minutes to check
through each complaint record, which would total to about 586 hours. Based
on an hourly rate of £25 per hour (which is set by the Freedom of
Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004) this would cost
us around £1,260 to process. Your request would therefore cost us
significantly in excess of the ‘appropriate limit’ to process. 

 

The exemption

 

Under the FOIA, the specific exemption which we believe applies is at
section 12. This states that we are not required to comply with a request
if we estimate that the cost of doing so would exceed the appropriate
limit.

 

Your right to appeal

 

I'm sorry I couldn’t provide the information you requested. You can appeal
against this decision to Elizabeth Hiley, Information Access Manager.  If
you want to appeal, please set out your reasons and write to her using
email: [1][email address].  You can also appeal to the
Information Commissioner, the regulator of the FOIA and DPA – we can
provide more details about this if you need them.

 

Advice and assistance

 

In order to assist you with your queries, it may be useful for you to know
that I would be able to consider the data between 2013-2017. By looking at
the complaints in this five year period, I would be able to look further
into the cases that were closed with a sanction, and, by looking into the
individual cases, identify whether the sanction related to them acting as
a witness in legal proceedings. This would fall within the cost limits for
the FOIA. If you would like me to consider this please let me know.

 

Yours sincerely

Sadie Jones

Information Access Officer

[2][email address]

0161 250 6889

 

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

show quoted sections

Dear Ms Jones,

Thank you for your response. I am happy to be provided with the information requested for two years only, 2016 and 2017.

You have advised me that there are 3,520 cases between 2008 and 2018 that fall into these two categories:

a. Type: Giving evidence – Sub type: Misleading evidence and
b. Type: Acting with honesty and integrity – Sub type: False/misleading evidence.

I would be happy to have questions (2) and (3) of my original request answered without further refining down the data.

In order to further reduce the amount of work necessary, I am reformulating my questions below.

(2) In how many cases did the General Medical Council considered the registration of a doctor to be at risk due to a complaint related to giving false/misleading evidence in 2016 and 2017?

(3) How many doctors have been struck out from the register because of the way acted as a witness in legal proceedings because of a complaint related to giving false/misleading evidence in 2016 and 2017?

Yours sincerely,

Eduard Popescu

FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Mr Popescu

 

Your information request - F18/9527/SJ

 

Thank you for your email dated 30 April 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

Sadie Jones will be handling your request. If you have any questions you
can call her on 0161 250 6889 or email her at [1][email address].

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

Loredana Cojan

 

Information Access Assistant

[2][email address]

 

0161 240 8189

 

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

show quoted sections

Sadie Jones (0161 250 6889), General Medical Council

Dear Mr Popescu

 

Your information access request – F18/9527/SJ

 

Thank you for your email dated 30 April in which you have clarified and
narrowed your request for information. I understand from our previous
correspondence that you are looking for information about doctors who have
provided evidence in legal proceedings. I’ve considered your request under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

 

I have reviewed cases concluded in 2016 and 2017, with an allegation type
of ‘Acting with honesty and integrity’ and the sub type ‘False/misleading
evidence’. 88 doctors had cases within this category and, of these, 26
were referred to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) for a
hearing. Doctors are referred to the MPTS for consideration about what (if
any) sanctions need to be applied to a doctors registration status.  

 

Of the 26 doctors referred for an MPT Hearing, three were subject to
allegations relating to providing false or misleading evidence as a
witness in legal proceedings. The other 23 doctors were investigated for
other things, for example falsifying medical records.

 

Who to contact

 

I hope you find this information useful. If you have any queries about
this, or need anything further, please contact me on the details below.

 

Yours sincerely

Sadie Jones

Information Access Officer

[1][email address]

0161 250 6889

 

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

show quoted sections

Dear Mrs Jones

Thank you for your response.

Yours sincerely,

Eduard Popescu

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org