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Siddiqui v General Medical Council (2013) EWHC 1083 (Admin)

Sarah Ellson
20/06/2013
S appealed against a decision of the GMC Fitness to Practise Panel to suspend her registration for 6 months. At the hearing, S admitted that she had failed to provide good clinical care to a patient, S appealed against a decision of the GMC Fitness to Practise Panel to suspend her registration for 6 months. At the hearing, S admitted that she had failed to provide good clinical care to a patient, and it was also found that she had later dishonestly made amendments to the patient's notes, and had acted dishonestly during a local investigation into the matter. The Panel found that S's fitness to practise was impaired, not in relation to the original examination of the patient, but in relation to her subsequent conduct. The 6 month suspension was imposed primarily for the purpose of securing public confidence in the medical profession. 

S appealed, arguing in essence that the effects of the suspension were disproportionate and therefore that the Panel's decision was wrong.

Judge Pelling QC, in considering the matter, noted that although the appeal was by way of rehearing, the onus rested on the doctor to demonstrate that the Panel's decision was a wrong one. With respect to dishonesty, he drew attention to SRA v Sharma (2010) EWHC 2022 (Admin) in which it was held that there is harm to the public every time a solicitor acts dishonestly and that it is in the public interest to ensure solicitors can be trusted. This was applied to nurses in Ajala v NMC (2012) EWHC 2976, and Judge Pelling QC held it was equally applicable to registered medical practitioners. Attention was also drawn to Bolton v The Law Society (2004) 1 WLR 512 on the issue of proportionality.

Judge Pelling QC further noted that the High Court was required to give full respect to the decision of the Panel as a specialist tribunal and particularly in relation to sanction. There was nothing in S's submissions that would lead to the conclusion that the decision of the Panel had been wrong. The Panel had also set out detailed reasons and had balanced all of the relevant factors. The Panel had put proper emphasis on the effect on the standing of the profession in the mind of the public of dishonesty displayed by any professional, and the appeal was therefore dismissed.

Read the case here.

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