Could the GMC institute an appeal procedure?

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7242.1148 (Published 22 April 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1148
  1. Gerald Graham, retired consultant clinical physiologist (gerald.graham{at}talk21.com)
  1. The Kennels, Whaddon MK17 0LT

    EDITOR—As Bliss's Personal View shows, doctors accused of medical misconduct would often fare better if arraigned before a court than before the General Medical Council (GMC).1 Part of the reason may be that the GMC's tribunals, though usually and largely composed of non-specialists in the field of accusation, have at times ignored even unanimous independent medical expert opinion given before them. In addition, legal matters are decided by binding adjudication of the legal adviser to the tribunal, even when vigorously challenged on legal grounds. But most importantly of all, there is no appeal against the tribunal's (that is, the GMC's) decision, except by appeal to the Privy Council, a legal body that (apart from other considerations) would not and has not interfered with the GMC's medical findings and only rarely with its decision on legal matters.

    This is surely not “natural justice” when in almost every case the professional standing and the livelihood of the accused are at stake. Is there no way in which the GMC can institute an appeal procedure? If this is at present impossible because of the legal status of the GMC and its adjudications, can it be altered? It is especially important because the nature of accusations against members of the medical profession seems to be changing. Is this a job for the BMA and/or the royal colleges?


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