Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Observations Body Politic

A discriminating judgment

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 14 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a809

Rapid Response:

A Discriminating Judgement

Nigel Hawkes has provoked an interesting discussion on the GMC’s
decision to withdraw its exemption from paying retention fees from a
section of its membership 1. In response to Jay Ilangaratne the decision
has implications for many more people than aging doctors, and that is a
good reason for challenging it. As David Stevenson and Ronald Wawman
comment there are other medical organisations which give benefits to older
members, and many ways in which all older members of society receive
benefits denied to younger people.

Sir Graeme Catto implies that the decision is not about older members 2 ,
but about discrimination in relation to any age. Does this mean that
reduced charges for children on buses or admission to cinemas may be
illegal? Is it discriminatory to force a whole group of people to go to
school because they are aged between 5 and 16?

Frank Woods tells us the the BMJ is now seeking counsel’s opinion and I
look forward to hearing their response. After all, counsel’s opinion is
just that, and is not the law.

1. BMJ 2008;337:a809

2. BMJ 2008;337:a1048

Competing interests:
Retired Professor of Radiology and member of GMC

Competing interests: No competing interests

08 August 2008
William D Jeans
PO Box 552 Oman PC 116