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GMC to review GP suspension for ‘dishonesty’ over ‘promised’ laptop

GMC to review GP suspension for ‘dishonesty’ over ‘promised’ laptop

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.

READERS' COMMENTS [12]

Gabor Szekely 27 May, 2022 12:57 pm

‘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.’
Does this not sound like the insincere drivel spouted by Boris Nonsense after Partygate?
Still, a minor victory gained for the profession by finally standing up against an autocratic, despotic and dictatorial body which regularly ruins the lives of many well-meaning professionals and their families and misappropriates OUR money on kangaroo courts, hoops of fire to jump through and no doubt its secret Port fund! Medical Profession, continue to fight for justice and help overthrow this Orwellian regulatory body which is not fit for purpose.

Patrufini Duffy 27 May, 2022 1:11 pm

Well done Pulse for focusing on this.

“I am wholeheartedly committed to tackling discrimination in medicine” – what that you for decades harbor racism and conscious bias that is so blatant to see? I hope you can maintain media avenues to expose this institute and the wrongdoings at its core, and opinions of the profession which are so silenced (not for much longer) and the endemic misconstruction that it is.

Malcolm Kendrick 27 May, 2022 2:29 pm

On 8 June 2017, Thomas Becket made a surprise appearance in the investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Former FBI director James Comey had been summoned to appear before a hearing of a Senate Intelligence Committee to provide “texture and context” about his interactions with President Trump. About an hour and 40 minutes into proceedings, Senator Angus King of Maine asked Comey about Trump’s “hope” that Comey would stop the investigation of General Michael Flynn, the disgraced former national security adviser – at which point Comey made a pointed reference to Becket’s martyrdom.

King: “When a president of the United States in the Oval office says something like ‘I hope’ or ‘I suggest’ or ‘Would you?’, do you take that as a directive?”

Comey: “Yes. Yes. It rings in my ears as kind of ‘Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?’”

King: “I was just going to quote that! In 1170 December 29 Henry II said: ‘Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?’ and the next day he was killed, Thomas à Becket, that is exactly the same situation.”

That the term “meddlesome priest” was used in such a context proves just how intertwined those two words have become with Henry II’s fateful outburst about Becket – an outburst, so the story goes, that four knights misinterpreted as a directive to kill the archbishop.

https://www.historyextra.com/period/medieval/will-no-one-rid-me-of-this-meddlesome-priest-truth-henry-ii-quote/

Vinci Ho 27 May, 2022 6:01 pm

Mr Massey , my simple question is ,
How many more similar cases with this kind of punishment like Dr Arora have been rubber-stamped by GMC previously ? Obviously, if they exist , they need serious reviews as well . My concern is understandably a sweeping under the carpet if Pulse and our colleagues did not expose and unite behind this case of injustice, in our eyes .

Scottish GP 27 May, 2022 6:20 pm

Kafkaesque bollocks.

Bonglim Bong 27 May, 2022 6:46 pm

“I have asked for a review of this case to understand whether there are lessons to learn and apply for future cases”

That sounds like a commitment to review this case so that lessons can be applied to future cases…..
but as far as this case goes tough luck?

Which seems inherently unfair.

David jenkins 27 May, 2022 10:37 pm

i imagine it will take the GMC a lot longer than one month to review this pernicious decision………….by which time, dr A will have got work as far away as she can from this shower !

i would respectfully suggest that anyone working for mastercall does not apply for any more shifts.

vote with your feet…………have you seen tonight’s news ? look what happened to P&O when they started throwing their weight around………….passengers down by 92% !!

lessons will be learned !!

Arun Sinha 30 May, 2022 6:38 pm

If it wasn’t for the likes of Pulse, DAUK and BAPIO , there would be nobody to speak for doctors especially non-whites. Why do we pay GMC who shoots first, talks never !! The e mail very clearly promises her a laptop. Whoever interprets otherwise, should join an English Tutorial group and spare us the pain. So Dr Arora’s fitness to practice has been affected and she has been dishonest and hence suspended for 1 month. After 1 month, her FTP will be automatically restored and she will become honest again !!! What utter nonsense ?? Do they realise, 1 month (rather even 1 minute) of suspension will scar the doctors for life, do her and her family irreparable damage. I thought Mr Massey had resigned after the kick last time following utter miscarriage of justice in Bawa Garba case. How shameless to have carried on ! Ministers broke laws during pandemic, are repeatedly lying about it and not been suspended for even a day ?? Shameless buggers. This country will keep going down the drain unless we start respecting our NHS workforce. When NHS will be taken over by Virgin, Tesco etc, with their formidable legal team, all these complaints,’ I am not happy’ stuff will be laughable matter.

Arun Sinha 30 May, 2022 7:04 pm

College reaction to Dr Arora case

Publication date: 30 May 2022

The College has issued the following statement in reaction to the GMC ruling on Dr Manjula Arora.
“We are deeply concerned about Dr Arora’s case and whilst we welcome the decision by the GMC to review the ruling, we will be asking for answers as to why the case was allowed to get through their screening processes and end in a Fitness to Practise Hearing and receiving a sanction.
“GPs are working in an increasingly punitive and litigious environment and any referral to the GMC causes enormous stress and distress for the doctor being investigated, their colleagues and families. As well as being devastating for Dr Arora, cases such as this only make it harder to retain existing GPs and persuade new ones to go into general practice, and particularly to work in out of hours.
“GPs and their teams are working under greater pressures than ever before. We have a severe shortage of GPs at the same time as patient demand and complexity is increasing, and we need much greater support – including better IT and infrastructure – to do our jobs properly and care for patients safely, without it adversely impacting our own health. Therefore, it seems incomprehensible to remove a doctor with, to our knowledge, an otherwise impeccable track record from frontline patient care, even for a short period of time.
“The College has raised concerns with the Care Quality Commission about the disproportionate impact of its inspection regime on doctors from minority ethnic backgrounds, and we will continue our work to ensure all regulators actively avoid perceptions of discrimination.
“We have also repeatedly highlighted the numerous IT issues that are affecting GPs’ ability to do their jobs and called on the Government to address this.”