The GMC has said findings against GP Dr Manjula Arora should not stand and that the dishonesty test was ‘incorrectly’ applied in her case, effectively overturning the ruling.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) had suspended Dr Arora for a month for ‘dishonesty’ after she told an IT department she had been ‘promised’ a laptop.
But the GMC has said that the findings against her will no longer stand, and that Dr Arora’s appeal will no longer be necessary, subject to agreement from the High Court.
The case centred around Dr Arora telling the IT department at Mastercall that she had been ‘promised’ a laptop. However, the MPTS found that she had been told by the medical director and former CEO of Mastercall, referred to in the papers as Dr B, that ‘we don’t have any laptops at present, but I will note your interest when the next roll out happens’.
The MPTS concluded that Dr Arora had therefore been ‘dishonest’ and that while she had not set out to mislead the IT department, she had ‘exaggerated the position in her use of one inappropriate word’ – ie, ‘promised’. It said that as a result, her fitness to practise was impaired and suspended her for one month.
The GMC representative on the case also went as far to say that she had ‘brought the medical profession into disrepute’ and that her ‘integrity could not be relied upon’.
This decision by the MPTS was attacked by a number of doctors groups, including the BMA, the RCGP, Doctors Association UK, the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin and the British Indian Doctors Association.
However, GMC spokesperson said today: ‘Dr Arora has appealed the decision of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal. Having considered the tribunal’s decisions and sought the views of external counsel, we believe that the dishonesty test was applied incorrectly by the tribunal.
‘That means that the findings of dishonesty, impairment and sanction should not stand and so we have agreed with the doctor’s representative to dispose of the appeal without the need for a hearing. Should the court approve that agreement the doctor will have full registration with a license to practise, and no fitness to practise finding recorded on her registration.’
MDU head of advisory services Dr Udvitha Nandasoma said: ‘We have robustly defended Dr Arora throughout this case, and we are pleased the GMC has reviewed the case and decided not to contest the appeal brought by the MDU.’
Dr Arora said she was ‘eternally thankful and indebted’ to those who supported her.
She said: ‘I would like to respectfully thank the MDU for their continued effort and support and for agreeing to appeal the MPTS determination.
‘I would also like extend my heartfelt gratitude to all associations, organisations and medical professionals who selflessly picked up their pen or voiced their support for me.’
The GMC announced details of its wider review into the suspension of Dr Arora, focusing on how the case was allowed to get to that stage, and said findings will be published in September.
Speaking at the NHS Confederation Expo conference in Liverpool last week, Mr Massey said that he ‘completely understood’ concerns that the suspension of a GP for ‘dishonesty’ over a laptop was ‘disproportionate and over-the-top’.
Doctors groups had reacted angrily to the GMC’s judgement, saying that a suspension was disproportionate for a relatively minor offence, with the BMA demanding an overhaul of GMC processes after the ‘incomprehensible’ ruling.