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At the heart of general practice since 1960

High Court blow to self-regulation

Self-regulation has been dealt a crushing blow by a High Court ruling that means GPs who are acquitted by the GMC can still be struck off, writes Susan McNulty.

A new super-regulator, the Council for the Regulation of Healthcare Professionals, won a test case giving it the power to refer to the High Court the case of a GP who was cleared of serious professional misconduct by the GMC.

The council believes the GMC was wrong to acquit Lancaster GP Dr Giuseppe Ruscillo, who admitted having a sexual relationship with a

patient.

Mr Justice Leveson rejected the GMC's argument that the new regulator's powers are restricted to cases where doctors have been found guilty of serious professional misconduct but the penalty is unduly lenient.

He said: 'If desirable for the protection of the public, there would be every reason to justify reopening [the case].'

The High Court will hear Dr Ruscillo's full case later this year.

GPC chair Dr John Chis-holm said 'We were told [the CRHP's] power would be restricted to reviewing sanctions, not retrying cases.'

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