Letters Reporting suspected child abuse

The GMC’s paradoxical behaviour

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e5191 (Published 06 August 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5191
  1. Peter T Wilmshurst, cardiologist1
  1. 1Vicarage Cottage, Shrewsbury SY5 6QE, UK
  1. peter.wilmshurst{at}tiscali.co.uk

Advice from the General Medical Council (GMC) on “Protecting children and young people” is at variance with its conduct, and the response of the medical establishment is muddled.1 The GMC destroyed the careers of paediatricians who exposed child abuse, but it allowed about 100 doctors who were convicted of accessing child pornography on the internet to remain on the medical register. The GMC allowed one gynaecologist to continue in practice after being placed on the Sex Offenders Register for that offence, but his trust restricted his clinical activities. Eighteen months later he received a silver clinical excellence award (CEA). He must have been nominated by his trust and the Advisory Committee for Clinical Excellence Awards must have checked whether the GMC had concerns about his character. How can such a doctor be awarded a national CEA?

The GMC provides advice about research misconduct but allows professors who falsify clinical research to get off without meaningful punishment. Those professors invariably retain the national CEAs that they obtain by falsifying research.

The GMC’s advice on whistleblowing resonates with its advice on reporting suspected child abuse, but the GMC and medical establishment have destroyed the careers of whistleblowers. Yet when a GMC member had concealed from the GMC and from the police fraud committed by another doctor, the GMC ignored its own advice on reporting misconduct and the legal advice from its solicitors. It refused to act against the GMC member and allowed him to continue sitting on the panel that hears cases of alleged misconduct by other doctors.2

I have reported concerns to the GMC for 30 years. Some cases are current. I discern no change in the “club culture,” with the GMC “looking after its own” as Janet Smith reported.3


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e5191


  • Competing interests: PTW has a silver clinical excellence award.


View Abstract

Sign in

Log in through your institution