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Letters Medical Regulation

Southall: the GMC responds

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 24 May 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3411
  1. Niall Dickson, chief executive
  1. 1General Medical Council, London NW1 3JN, UK
  1. occe{at}

The GMC responds to last week’s BMJ article “David Southall: anatomy of a wrecked career,” looking at how the paediatrician was failed by the regulatory system

No-one who has read about the long and complex interactions between David Southall and the GMC can be in any doubt of the distress and anxiety this must have caused him. The investigations, the extensive media coverage, and some of the views expressed about him and his practice must all have been difficult to bear.

Over the past 14 years he has been the subject of a considerable number of allegations and complaints. The overwhelming majority of complaints did not result in any action from the GMC, and on only two occasions were sanctions imposed on his registration. Of those, in one—the Clark case—his practise was criticised by the Court and the conditions imposed by the panel were found to be too lenient. In the other, the panel’s findings were overturned by the Court of Appeal.

The GMC’s record is also mixed—its findings have been overturned by the High Court on one occasion and found …

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