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Sultan v General Medical Council (2013) All ER (D) 237 (May)

Sarah Ellson
20/06/2013
S had admitted to a Fitness to Practise Panel of the GMC ("the Panel") that he had instructed a third party, G, to take home and burn bags of patient records. In the event, G burnt some of the records S had admitted to a Fitness to Practise Panel of the GMC ("the Panel") that he had instructed a third party, G, to take home and burn bags of patient records. In the event, G burnt some of the records and left others outside his house, where a journalist found them.

The Panel found that S's fitness to practise was impaired by misconduct, and also determined, on the basis of a performance assessment report, that his fitness to practise was impaired by deficient professional performance. The Panel directed that S's name should be erased from the register.

S appealed, on the basis that the Panel had failed to provide adequate reasons for the decision, and that the sanction was disproportionate, in that suspension to address remediation and insight had not been fully considered.

The High Court noted that one of the main purposes of the Panel's jurisdiction in relation to sanction was the preservation and maintenance of public confidence in the medical profession, rather than the administration of retributive justice. The High Court further noted that, in relation to sanction, there should be a degree of deference to the judgment to a professional Panel.

In S's case, it was plain from the Panel's determination on sanction that the Panel had taken all relevant matters fully into account. The Panel was entitled to reach the decision it had, and as the sanction imposed was neither disproportionate or unjustified, there were no grounds for the Court to interfere. In addition, the Court did not consider that there was any issue with the Panel's reasoning, in circumstances where a full transcript of the proceedings had been provided to the appellant and the panel had not been legally qualified.

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