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GP struck off by GMC over vaccines comments

GP struck off by GMC over vaccines comments

A GP has been erased from the medical register after an MPTS tribunal concluded today that her statements on vaccines amounted to misconduct.

Dr Jayne Donegan, who no longer works as an NHS GP, was found by the tribunal to have ‘encouraged parents to mislead healthcare professionals about their children’s diet or immunisation history’.

The GMC brought several allegations against Dr Donegan, about statements made between 2019 and 2020, however the determination of impaired fitness to practise (FTP) and subsequent erasure was based solely on her suggestions to parents.

The tribunal determined that her misconduct ‘posed an ongoing risk to patient safety given her lack of insight and lack of remediation’ and that ‘public confidence would be undermined’ if such a doctor was allowed to remain in practice.

An immediate order of suspension was imposed, which the tribunal determined necessary for the ‘protection of the public’.

Other GMC allegations, such as Dr Donegan’s statements failing to ‘give balanced information on the risks and benefits of immunisation’, were proved true by the tribunal but were not determined to be serious misconduct. 

Dr Donegan, who did not attend her MPTS hearing, works as a homeopathic and naturopathic practitioner, and has been ‘researching disease ecology and vaccination since 1994’, according to her website. 

The tribunal considered statements made by Dr Donegan in a consultation with an undercover reporter and during her lectures on vaccination. 

The former NHS GP had said that the historical decline in deaths from whooping cough was because of sanitation and surgeons, not vaccinations. 

She had also suggested to audiences at her lectures that they could avoid answering questions from healthcare professionals about their child’s immunisation history. 

When asked by an audience member about this, Dr Donegan had said: ‘I thought what am I going to do because if I were you, I could just forge something but I can’t do that because I am a doctor and I would get struck off and I really would get struck off. 

‘What can I do? I thought maybe I can do something homeopathic because they are not having it. In the meantime I wrote “Yes, I’ll get it done” thinking what will I do and they never came back to me, so when the next one went I just said “yes”. 

‘The main thing is, don’t stick your head above the parapet because you make it difficult for them. If you say they are not vaccinated, they say they can’t go on the trip or they say “They could but the insurers won’t insure us”, so just keep saying “yes” but don’t say I said that.’

The tribunal concluded that comments like this made it clear Dr Donegan was aware this was a ‘serious matter that could result in her being struck off’, despite her defence that she was simply ‘making people laugh’. 

The MPTS tribunal chair Mr Julian Weinberg said: ‘The Tribunal considered that honest and accurate communication of an individual’s medical history forms an essential part of ongoing patient healthcare and that any attempt to undermine this risks the safety of patients. 

‘It noted that whilst no dishonesty was found against Dr Donegan, the Tribunal has found that she encouraged parents to be dishonest with healthcare professionals by, for example, forging medical documents/records, thereby undermined this essential quality of the doctor/patient relationship.’

Mr Weinberg highlighted that the tribunal’s findings did not concern ‘the rights or wrongs of her views on immunisation’ but rather her encouragement to parents to mislead healthcare professionals. 

Dr Donegan said in response to the decision: ‘I boycotted the GMC’s political show trial against me which ended today. Serious irregularities include bogus dishonesty charges and bogus accusations that I put newborns at risk of serious harm.’

She added: ‘Being struck off by a corrupt GMC is a small price to pay for taking a lawful ethical stand for the safety of British children.’

In 2007, the former GP was cleared of serious professional misconduct by the GMC after being accused of putting forward ‘junk science’ in her expert report to a court which highlighted the risks of child immunisation.

Last month a group of doctors, including some GPs, began legal proceedings against the GMC based on what they say is a failure to act on Covid-19 vaccine misinformation.

Pulse revealed last year that GPs had received ‘menacing’ anonymous letters warning against administering child Covid vaccinations, which claimed to come from solicitors.

GMC allegations against Dr Donegan and MPTS determination:

  • That she made statements on immunisation between April 2019 and February 2020 in various contexts and identified herself as a doctor (PROVED)
  • That some of her statements:
    • Failed to give balanced information on the risks and benefits of immunisation (PROVED) 
    • Failed to comply with NICE Clinical Knowledge Summaries on immunisation (PROVED)
  • That she provided advice about vaccines during a consultation which put new born infants at risk of significant harm (NOT PROVED)
  • That her statements about a previous tribunal testing and validating her opinions on vaccines were untrue, and this was therefore dishonest (NOT PROVED)
  • That she made statements which encouraged parents to deliberately misinform healthcare professionals about their children’s immunisation status and/or diet (PROVED)

Source: MPTS


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Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Trefor roscoe 5 July, 2023 7:31 pm

So a GP gets struck off, but the GMC refused to investigate similar statements by a consultant. Fair and balanced?

John Glasspool 5 July, 2023 7:42 pm

Always the way Tref. A consultant in the Dr Chris Day case admittied to being less than honest in his evidence in one of the hearings. GMC not interested in pursuing it.
Conclusion: GP guilty. Consultant (usually) innocent.
GMC- lower than vermin.

S. Ali 5 July, 2023 7:51 pm

The MPTS are inconsistent and it is very much pot-luck depending on the tribunal panel you get. Mr Julian Weinburg I can rverify that he can be adament and set in stone about punishments despite questionable or illegal premise (often wrong, no humility and appears to cheat by using other resources) whilst appearing to confuse himself with all the legal-panels he sits on. I think he is a failed criminal solicitor and has clearly found himself a gravy train as long as he does what the employer wants. The GMC FTP and GMC MPTS are seperate departments with different boards but by statute and actions plus payslip are one company.

Saying that, unfortunately I can believe the panel were so incompetent to not-find ‘That her statements about a previous tribunal testing and validating her opinions on vaccines were untrue, and this was therefore dishonest’ Possibly because it was so badly written by the GMC prosecution.

Based on their findings ‘erasure’ is harsh but Weinburg is trying to make a positive name for himself

Imran Malik 5 July, 2023 10:38 pm

GMC are a law onto themselves. They need to be cancelled.
I don’t trust them at all.
They could give the Spanish inquisition a run for their money

David Church 6 July, 2023 7:26 am

To suggest to patients that they might benefit from being untruthful to doctors, OR to school and insurers, is a great dis-service to their own children as well as the choldren of others, and dishonesty is the cause of much of the distress and dysfunction in the world today (as well as the UK Government).
I think we all need to take a strong stand against dishonesty.

The Prime Minister 6 July, 2023 10:23 am

I am not referring to this case but the GMC are of control”-they have ceased to become an impartial regulator and are acting as the Government’s and Daily Nutter’s pet attacking anyone challenging the government. In return they get fat pay packets and exclusion from any form of governance themselves.

Slobber Dog 6 July, 2023 9:00 pm

GMC overstepping their authority here.
Hope she appeals and rubs their noses in it.

David Banner 7 July, 2023 9:26 am

Whilst there may be legitimacy in the above criticisms of the GMC, I think they are misplaced in this particular case.
Just because there are inconsistencies in “striking off” Consultants and GPs doesn’t invalidate their decision in this particular case.
There are references to an “undercover reporter” which presumably explains the verbatim quotes from Dr D, which are frankly inexcusable.
Having sceptical opinions on childhood vaccination is one thing, but to actively encourage parents to lie about immunisation status is beyond the pale.
Back in the darkest days of the Pandemic when Care Workers were disgracefully being sacked for refusing vaccination, they certainly received my sympathy and support, but I would never encourage them them to dissemble nor enter fake documentation.
Similarly when healthy children were being pushed into Covid vaccines I was happy to discuss the pros and cons to allow parents to make an informed choice, but similarly would never suggest they lie to the school.
Dr D is clearly immersed in the world of homeopathy and alternative medicine. Fair enough, and some Practitioners use this to complement conventional medicine, particularly in benign conditions where placebos can be helpful, but her fanaticism makes her hostile to standard practice in more vital areas, and her comments mean she really should operate outside of the NHS.

Jamal Hussain 8 July, 2023 5:20 am

She says the comments were made as a joke to entertain an audience and have been taken out of context in essence. A high court case and suing for lifetime earnings would be interesting.