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Co-author of Wakefield paper on MMR vaccine wins his appeal against decision by GMC to strike him off

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1745 (Published 08 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1745
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1 BMJ

John Walker-Smith, the retired paediatric gastroenterologist ordered to be struck off the UK medical register with his former colleague Andrew Wakefield in the wake of the MMR vaccine controversy, has won his high court appeal against the ruling.

Mr Justice Mitting said a General Medical Council fitness to practise panel’s ruling in May 2010 that Professor Walker-Smith was guilty of serious professional misconduct was “flawed, in two respects: inadequate and superficial reasoning and, in a number of instances, a wrong conclusion.”

In a lengthy judgment, the judge catalogued a list of errors in the panel’s decision making and called for changes in GMC rules to provide for panels to be chaired by “someone with judicial experience” in weighty cases. “It would be a misfortune if this were to happen again,” he said.

Professor Walker Smith, who retired in 2000, said he was “extremely pleased” with the outcome and relieved the case was now over. “There has been a great …

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