GMC Freemasonry

The request was partially successful.

Dear General Medical Council,

Dr Shabbeer Qureshi was a GMC Panelist and a Master Freemason[ last seen sitting on the Dr Helen Bright case].

The GMC entry for this man is as follows.

"GP/ENT Surgery specialist. Refugee GP Tutor, London Deanery. GP Appraiser, Ealing PCT. Master Freemason. Diplomat, Royal College of Surgeons (London). Chairman, Southall Primary Care Commissioning Group. Member, Primary Care Commissioning Group, Ealing PCT. Member, Local Commissioning (PbC) Steering Group, Ealing PCT. Teacher and Examiner 3rd year medical student Imperial College London. Governor, Ealing Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London"

In the year 2000, the Independent told us as follows

"There are concerns within Whitehall that the GMC may have been slow to act against doctors because of a Freemason network within the NHS"

There are an estimated 8,000 masonic lodges in England and Wales. A number of leading hospitals, including the Royal London, have lodges, but exact figures are elusive and few doctors openly admit to being masons"

Again the BBC wrote

"There had been accusations that the General Medical Council (GMC) was adversely influenced by freemasonry and that this could be interfering with justice during their conduct cases.

And from the crypts of the past [GMC internal Documents]

The particular case which Richard Coleman had just mentioned was an example of how things worked. He was a Council member and the President had given him the impression that he had the authority to question things. However when he did so and it got to the President, the door was slammed shut in his face. After that, Richard Coleman thought that Finlay Scott had seen him as a member of the "awkward squad". That was slightly tied up with Richard Coleman’s comments on freemasonry. The GMC had been discussing a code of conduct. They were discussing the issue of relevant interests which needed to be disclosed. He had asked Donald Irvine and Finlay Scott, in the presence of Lady Tumin, whether Finlay Scott was a freemason. Finlay Scott had said that he was not prepared to tell Richard Coleman. Richard Coleman had then been concerned because the President had said that he would put Finlay Scott in charge of dealing with the code of conduct and working out what interests were relevant and needed to be disclosed. Richard Coleman felt that that was not appropriate in view of the Home Affairs Committee saying that those who acted in a judicial capacity they should declare their interest as freemasons.

Richard Coleman had mentioned this whole episode in front of the whole Council. He discussed this with a member of the GMC staff who had agreed with him that all interests should be declared. But after this incident, Finlay Scott had turned on him. Finlay Scott had refused to tell Richard Coleman whether he was a freemason even when it was relevant to the case which Richard Coleman was looking at at the time.

The rules had now changed and freemasonry was in fact something which voluntarily should be disclosed as a relevant interest. Richard Coleman had wondered at the time why Finlay Scott should not declare it. When the GMC had taken out an injunction against Richard Coleman, in a statement which Finlay Scott made to court, he made Richard Coleman out to look like some sort of radical anti-freemasonry campaigner. He thinks four members of the GMC now admitted to being freemasons. The code said that it was a relevant interest, but it was only voluntary for members to declare that. Before this was agreed, Finlay Scott had said in a newspaper that members had to declare any interest as a freemason. Richard Coleman had telephoned the paper and told them that that was not true. At that time only some months later did it change. Andrew Ketteringham had then written to the press saying that Finlay Scott was not a freemason. Richard Coleman had written to Andrew Ketteringham at that point asking why he had done so and whether he had checked with Finlay Scott whether he was a freemason or not or whether Finlay Scott had simply refused to tell him and he had assumed something. It turned out that the latter was the case.

Please will the GMC confirm the following issues

1. How many current serving freemasons are there at the General Medical Council. This could include committee members and panellists.
2. Please confirm that Dr Shabbeer Qureshi was a GMC panellist and outline the cases he opined/judged upon.
3. What checks are done to confirm whether or not the doctor on trial is a freemason when the panellist has declared he or she is one.
4. Please outline all freemason panellists and the cases they have sat on within the last 10 years.
5. The Bristol Inquiry cites an influence of Freemasonry. Has the GMC got any evidence of this.
6. What is the current position of freemasonry at the GMC.
7. Please provide all documents, discussions, memorandums, internal emails on freemasonry discussed at the GMC since 2000.
8. Are the following individuals freemasons
a. Finlay Scott
b. Peter Rubin
c. Donald Irvine
d. Paul Philip.

A simple "yes" or "no" will suffice. Just to say, it is not adequate to cite that the information is not held.

Yours faithfully,

Rita Pal

FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Dr Pal

Information request - F11/3834/ME

Thank you for your e-mail of 6 June 2011 in which you request
information in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

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Yours sincerely

Sarah Leigh
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General Medical Council
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Mark Ellen (0161 923 6347), General Medical Council

1 Attachment

Dear Dr Pal

Please see attached letter.

Mark Ellen

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