Names of doctors who died following referral to GMC and ethnicity

The request was partially successful.

Dear General Medical Council,

This is the request under Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA):

1. Please, provide the list of names of all doctors who died following referral to GMC under Freedom of Information Act 2000 up to present date.

2. Please, state when you started collecting this data.

3. Please, provide ethnicity data.

4. Please, note Data Protection Act 1998 applies to living individuals.

5. Please, note that you have misapplied Section 31(1)(g) and 31(2)(d) of FOIA 2000 in you refusal to give information to another applicant "Richard". You cannot investigate and prosecute dead doctors as you falsely claimed in your response to "Richard" on 4th February 2011.

6. Please, state if you are aware that there is any ongoing investigation (not necessarily by GMC)into the deaths of any of those doctors who died following referral to GMC.

7. Please, state if there has ever been any investigation into the deaths of those doctors by GMC.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Bright

PS
I note in GMC removal expenses that GMC is not looking at the cost of removal of Paranormal entities which Information Team seem to believe in and many sitting on FTP panels:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cyRqR56aCKc

FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Dr Bright

Your information request F12/4568/ME

Thank you for your email of 19 April 2012 asking for information under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

We will consider your request and give you the information as soon as we
can, normally within the 20 working-day limit set by the FOIA.

Please note that there may be some information which we cannot release
to you under the FOIA. If this is the case, we will let you know why and
state the relevant exemptions given in the FOIA. We will also give you
information about how to appeal our decision.

I have allocated your request to Mark Ellen. If you have any questions,
please contact him on 0161 923 6347 or email [email address].

Yours sincerely

Sarah Green
Information Access Team Administrator
0161 923 6286
[email address]

General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Manchester
M3 3AW

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Dear Administrator of FOIA request,

The reply is long overdue. Please, respond.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Bright

FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Dr Bright

I apologise for the delay in responding to your request. I am in the process of compiling the information that you seek and I hope to be in a position to send you a substantive reply by Friday 6 July.

Kind regards
Mark Ellen

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Dear Mr Ellen,

Thank you for your reply and thank you for re-considering the request.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Bright

Mark Ellen (0161 923 6347), General Medical Council

Dear Dr Bright

I apologise for the continuing delay on your request. I am still compiling the information on this and would hope to be able to respond to you in the next few days.

Once again, I am sorry for the delay.

Regards
Mark Ellen

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Mark Ellen (0161 923 6347), General Medical Council

1 Attachment

Dear Dr Bright

With apologies for the delay, please see attached letter in response to your request dated 19 April 2012.

Kind regards
Mark Ellen

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)

Dear General Medical Council,

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

I am writing to request an internal review of General Medical Council's handling of my FOI request 'Names of doctors who died following referral to GMC and ethnicity'.

1. Section 31(1)(g) and 31(2)(d) of Freedom of Information Act 2000 has been misapplied. Here is Section 31:
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000...

2. GMC is investigating only three cases of suicides out of 92 deaths, so the names of other doctors can be disclosed.

3. Data Protection Act 1998 applies only to living individuals and the fact that GMC does not disclose the names of doctors when there is a complaint against them but it does not reach Fitness to Practice hearing is not, therefore, relevant here. The right to good reputation also applies only to living individuals.

4. GMC did not state any other reason such as investigation into competence of GMC (body corporate) management and therefore cannot apply section 31(2)(d) for that reason.

5. Public Interest test also has to address the need for public to have informed opinions. If information is withheld it is not possible to even start on the issue of deaths in doctors and disciplinary proceedings. Naturally, there may be a variety of causes why these doctors died.

6.In this case of refusal there is a breach of Article 10 of Human Rights Act 1998 not to give me the requested information (minus what has been already provided and the three cases GMC is investigating because these are known suicides). Although Article 10 of HRA 1998 is commonly understood as the right to free speech it also gives right to receive information. Public Interest in witholding information has not been justified.

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

Yours faithfully,

Helen Bright

FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Dr Bright

Thank you for your email below. Your request for a review will receive our attention in line with our comments and complaints procedure for information requests. This sets a target response time of 20 working days. I will endeavour to respond to you within this timeframe.

If you have any further queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours sincerely

Sarah Leigh
Information Access Officer
0161 923 6398
[email address]

General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Manchester
M3 3AW

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Kevin Tarleton (0161 923 6305), General Medical Council

Our ref: IAT/F12/4568/ME

Dear Dr Bright,

Thank you for your email dated 31 July 2012, requesting an internal review of our refusal under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA) to supply certain information to you.

This matter has now been considered in line with the GMC’s complaints and appeals procedure for information requests and I am now in a position to inform you that we have, on this occasion, decided to uphold the original refusal to give you the remaining names of those doctors who have died following referral to the GMC.

We supplied you with the names of the six doctors who had been referred on to a fitness to practise panel hearing. You also asked for the ethnicity of all these doctors. We have supplied you with the ethnicity data for all 92 doctors in aggregated form.

My colleague Mark Ellen, in his response of 25 July 2012, outlined the exemption from disclosure under FOIA that we applied to this information – Section 31 (Law Enforcement). I note your disagreement at the application of this exemption and I will attempt to respond to these objections and any other points you have raised in your request for internal review. It is worth pointing out that we have not withheld the names of the 86 doctors citing the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) as we are fully aware that the DPA only applies to living individuals.

Following the Information Tribunal in McIntyre v The Information Commissioner, I have applied the ‘would be likely to prejudice’ test in relation to the application of FOIA S. 31(1)(g) exemption. If a complaint is made in respect of a registered medical practitioner, that registered practitioner has an expectation that their allegations will be treated in confidence until such time as the regulatory processes (investigation and/or hearing) are complete (this is the ‘applicable interest’). We would normally only disclose the details of a complaint to the doctor’s employers and to the doctor with the express consent of the complainant as part of our investigation process. We believe that the expectations of the doctor and complainant are not affected by the subsequent death of the doctor before the completion of Fitness to Practise procedures. We believe that there is a ‘real and significant risk’ that a disclosure under these circumstances could undermine the relationship of trust between doctors and the GMC. As such, we believe that disclosure in this case would be likely to prejudice our ability to effectively regulate the medical profession. We believe it is highly unlikely that the names of the 86 doctors will further inform public opinion, having already provided you with the number of doctors and names of the six who were referred to public hearings.

Section 31(2)(d) relates not only to the competence of bodies corporate, but also ‘in relation to any profession or other activity which he is, or seeks to become, authorised to carry on’. We firmly believe this is the relevant section in relation to our Fitness to Practise investigation procedures.

We do not agree that refusal to supply this information is a breach of your rights under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act. For the reasons outlined above, we believe that the public interest vests in withholding these names rather than disclosing them.

I can, therefore, confirm that my decision is to uphold the earlier decision to withhold the information you requested from disclosure to you.

You may be disappointed with the outcome of this internal review, however, I am sure you will appreciate that we are required to balance our duty of confidentiality against the information access rights of the wider public when considering such requests.

Should you remain dissatisfied with my response on this matter you do have a further right of appeal to the Information Commissioner's Office, the regulator of the FOIA. Their contact details are as follows:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire
SK9 5AF
Tel. no: 0303 123 1113
Email: [email address]

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Tarleton
Information Policy Advisor
General Medical Council
Tel. no: 0161 923 6305
Email: [email address]

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)

Dear Kevin Tarleton (0161 923 6305),

Thank you for your reply of 29th August 2012.

I have appealed against your decision to Information Commissioner's Office.

Yours sincerely,

Helen Bright

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