Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

News

Manjula Arora case: GMC announces co-chairs and scope of review

BMJ 2022; 377 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o1544 (Published 22 June 2022) Cite this as: BMJ 2022;377:o1544

Rapid Response:

If the review finds against GMC's handling of the referral of Dr Arora, would it mean justice for her?

Dear Editors

It may look like the GMC is willing to review its decision (ref 1) to pursue Dr Arora on her alleged dishonesty together with other matters of conduct in her work but it is not clear what would the GMC do with the results of this review beyond "understand whether there are lessons to learn and apply for future cases"

Particularly of concern it the fact that the term of references (ref 2) stated that:
"Dr Arora’s case is not subject to a formal Significant Event Review. It therefore won’t automatically go before the GMC’s Audit and Risk Committee. However, we will ask the Committee to consider the report to facilitate scrutiny and provide assurance to our Council."

The GMC further states:
"We will share the findings will the profession and stakeholders by publishing it on our website. And if the review identifies learnings, we will implement them."

But nowhere can I find any commitment that should the review identify a fundamental mistake in allowing the referral to proceed as it was later pursued (as it did, with much vigor by the GMC's advocates), that it will seek to reverse the MPTS's decision to suspend Dr Arora by appealing against this recommendation (as the GMC still have the power to do so at this time).

So far the GMC, as far as I can tell, have appealed primarily on decisions of MPTS, where it feels the sanctions are inadequate for the charges the GMC has brought to the Tribunal; curiously I am not aware of any cases where the GMC had appealed against the MPTS's decision on the basis their punitive recommendations are excessive.

Furthermore the wordings of the Terms of Reference document appears to indicate that any "learnings" derived from this review will be for the future cases but not for Dr Arora's own case.

Is that going to mean justice for Dr Arora, should the review find any error in GMC's handling? I am not sure.

References
1. https://www.gmc-uk.org/news/news-archive/co-chairs-announced-for-arora-c...
2. https://www.gmc-uk.org/-/media/documents/reviewing-the-case-of-dr-arora-...

Competing interests: I am a doctor hence in the eyes of the GMC I can be considered has having vested interest when commenting on this news. So in the principle of "holier than thou" standard, I am (over-)declaring my interests.

22 June 2022
Shyan Goh
Orthopaedic Surgeon
Sydney, Australia