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Falling foul of gagging clauses

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 27 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4203
  1. Jane Cassidy, freelance journalist
  1. 1Hertfordshire
  1. janecassi{at}

    Gagging clauses can also work in favour of doctors who leave trusts “under a cloud,” making it difficult for future employers to find out what went wrong and leaving them free to repeat their behaviour. These legal restrictions make it difficult to raise concerns about a doctor’s competence. The BMJ has uncovered a case of one consultant currently working as a locum who has left two trusts with gagging clauses concealing the reasons for the departures. Jane Cassidy hears how a concerned medical colleague who tried to report the consultant to the General Medical Council got into trouble for breaching the gagging clause

    “My problem was with my recently appointed consultant colleague. I had concerns about the consultant’s competence, and nurses witnessed shortcomings and informed me of them. My managers said I must …

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