Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Opinion Talking Point

John Launer: Doctors as activists

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: (Published 24 April 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q939

Rapid Response:

Re: John Launer: Doctors as activists

Dear Editor

The GMC’s reason for Dr Benn’s suspension is that “the behaviour that Dr Benn had exhibited in not complying with the law on several occasions, disrupting public services and acting in a way that has led to a custodial sentence, would bring the profession into disrepute.”

This suggests that just because another authority found them guilty and they were given a custodial sentence that a doctor should be punished by the GMC irrespective of whether there is any risk to patient care. As the Post Office/Horizon scandal has revealed, a custodial sentence does not signify guilt. Furthermore, doctors may have demonstrated against apartheid in South Africa in the past and in Palestine nowadays. If a right wing government imprisons them does that mean that the GMC should also punish them? What if a doctor has been imprisoned in another country for protest - would that lead to GMC sanction? Surely the only reason for the GMC to act would be if patient safety is at risk.

Competing interests: No competing interests

03 May 2024
Kaiser Chaudhri