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GMC supporting blame culture it pledged to stop

From Dr Ted Willis, Elsham, Lincolnshire

Professor Roy Meadow has had the guts to stand up to the GMC and has won his appeal against its finding of serious professional misconduct (News, 23 February).

He deserves our support. He gave an honest opinion in a court case and became the fall guy after pressure was applied to the legal profession, none of whom have faced any disciplinary procedure over the imprisonment of Sally Clark.

Why did the GMC not support one of our profession's leaders, a man who had bravely identified some parents as capable of harming their children, and who has probably saved countless children's lives around the world? To call his testimony 'professional misconduct' was deeply wrong because, erroneous or not ­ which is a matter for debate ­ no one has even suggested it was not an honest opinion.

The GMC has effectively supported and maintained the blame culture which it avows it is trying to eliminate.

The GMC should admit its error, apologise to Professor Meadow, and start to stand up for the values and principles of the medical profession against the media and the politicians.

If it does not, self-regulation of the profession will have shown itself to be a pretence not worth preserving.

From Dr Sati Ariyanayagam. Brentwood, Essex

The judgment by Mr Justice Collins is a turning point in the administration of justice, clarifying the position of medical expert witnesses involved in legal proceedings.

Moreover it provides the opportunity for the GMC and other regulatory bodies to reflect intensely on how professionals, especially those who are not infallible, are dealt with by a professionally-led regulatory system that may itself lead to miscarriages of justice inadvertently or otherwise.

The judgment has far-reaching implications. It addresses the concept of 'immunity' afforded or affordable to expert witnesses.

Equally it also raises the important issues of competence, expertise and acting in good faith, and the constraints within which experts will be required to act.

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