The GMC will review the decision to suspend a GP for ‘dishonesty’ over a laptop she said she had been ‘promised’, its chief executive Charlie Massey has said.
Mr Massey said he has heard the ‘strong views’ about the case and that GMC decisions should be ‘open to scrutiny’.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) this month suspended Dr Manjula Arora for a month for ‘dishonesty’ after she told an IT department she had been ‘promised’ a laptop.
The tribunal said that she had ‘exaggerated’ these claims, and as a result found that her fitness to practise was impaired.
However, doctors groups had reacted angrily to the judgement, saying that a suspension was disproportionate for a relatively minor offence.
Following the outrage, Mr Massey said in a GMC statement published yesterday: ‘I have asked for a review of this case to understand whether there are lessons to learn and apply for future cases.
‘I hear the strong views being expressed about this case and it is absolutely right that our decisions are open to scrutiny. As a regulator, we are not complacent and always believe that there is room to improve the way that we carry out our duties.’
He added that he knows the case has ‘prompted discussion’ about the GMC’s work to rectify disproportionate referrals.
He said: ‘I am wholeheartedly committed to tackling discrimination in medicine and ensuring that we constantly seek ways to improve our own processes.
‘It is important that those conversations continue to happen so that we can move forward and make progress together.’
The GMC is currently working on defining the nature and scope of the review into Dr Arora’s case.
It comes as the Doctors Association UK (DAUK) and the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) this week wrote to the Professionals Standards Authority (PSA) demanding an ‘urgent re-review by the PSA’ of the case.
They also called for an ‘urgent review of GMC screening processes which have manifestly failed’.
They added that cases such as this are contributing to ‘an irreparable loss of confidence in the GMC’ and a ‘damaging effect on medical morale’.
The BMA also demanded an overhaul of GMC processes after the ‘incomprehensible’ ruling.
Earlier this month, Mr Massey said that the current ‘rethink’ of doctor regulation will make the GMC process ‘less adversarial’ in future.