Observations Child Protection

The GMC should be investigated over its Southall and Meadow hearings

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d6708 (Published 19 October 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d6708
  1. John Bridson, chairman, Professionals Against Child Abuse
  1. john.bridson{at}doctors.org.uk

The GMC should not support complaints from parents where it is alleged that they have abused doctors working in child protection

Professionals Against Child Abuse welcomes the result of the latest fitness to practise hearing concerning David Southall, which found him not guilty of serious professional misconduct.1

Given the evidence, we would question how the allegations ever reached a hearing, although the same applies to the earlier matters examined in fitness to practise hearings involving Professor Southall in 2004, 2006, 2007, and 2008.

We are seriously concerned as to how the GMC repeatedly alleged charges of serious professional misconduct against Professor Southall in the above hearings—as we were with its decision to discipline Roy Meadow in 2005.2 3 4

Both professors of paediatrics are internationally recognised experts in fabricated and induced illness. They were tried as much by politicians and the media as by the GMC, whose fitness to practise panels ordered their erasure from the medical register. Both successfully appealed and were returned to the medical register.

We are strongly critical of the alleged “expert” advice that the GMC used in deciding to hold hearings in both these cases. In the latest hearing, the GMC pursued complaints by parents of children about whom Professor Southall had given evidence that was intended to help social services protect the children. …

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