Letters Cleared GP case

Calling “time” on the GMC’s investigations into complaints against doctors

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f7426 (Published 16 December 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7426
  1. Christoph C Lees, consultant in fetal-maternal medicine and obstetrics1
  1. 1NHS Teaching Hospital, London, UK
  1. christoph.lees{at}btinternet.com

Hot on the heels of the General Medical Council suspending a GP after she married her deceased patient’s husband,1 2 we hear that another GP, Dr Yaacoub, was suspended for three years and struck off for an uncorroborated allegation of sexual misconduct.3 The High Court then quashed the GMC’s decision to strike off Dr Yaacoub.

I recently wrote in the BMJ that doctors would be better served by being tried in a criminal court.4 Dr Yaacoub’s shocking story can only strengthen that view. I hope that Dr Yaacoub has the strength of will and legal support to sue the GMC for damages if this is possible, because his career has been shattered by an unwarranted process, carried out with what seems to be extraordinary and malign ineptitude on the GMC’s part.

Had the same concerns that now surround the GMC’s procedures been raised about a doctor’s performance, the doctor would already be suspended or worse. Perhaps it is hopeless to ask the GMC to show the insight and self reflection that it expects of doctors when mistakes are made.

In the light of the serious concerns raised by barristers and judges about the GMC’s processes, I wonder what mechanism could force the organisation to suspend its own hearings and invoke an independent investigation? Are we really too cowed as a profession to stand up and call “time”?


Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f7426


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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