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GMC chief ‘understands’ concerns GP laptop suspension was ‘disproportionate’

GMC chief ‘understands’ concerns GP laptop suspension was ‘disproportionate'

The GMC’s chief executive has said that he ‘completely understands’ concerns that the suspension of a GP for ‘dishonesty’ over a laptop was ‘disproportionate and over-the-top’.

Speaking at the NHS Confed Expo conference in Liverpool today, Charlie Massey also said that he hopes regulatory reform will cause regulators to think about what are ‘reasonable’ outcomes.

He made the comments in response to Pulse questioning about why the GMC decided to review the case and what he hoped the conclusion of that review will be.

Mr Massey said: ‘It’s obviously a live legal case so I can’t quite go into all of the details. 

‘But I did commission a review on the back of that case because on the face of it, this looks like a decision that people might suggest is disproportionate and over the top and I completely understand that.’

He added that ‘none of us have all of the definitive facts of the case’ and that he wants to handle the review ‘fairly hastily’.

However, he did not respond to the Pulse question about whether he would like to see the controversial decision overturned.

Mr Massey added: ‘The review, I hope, will tell us about things we can learn. As regulators, we always need to show some humility and not be complacent about where there’s learning.

‘And that would involve things like what happened when the referral was made? How did we engage with the referrer about all of the allegations that were made about the doctor? How do we decide what cases to take to the tribunal? How did that process work?’

The review will give the GMC ‘some lessons in the short term, which I hope we can apply very quickly’, he told delegates.

Mr Massey reiterated that regulatory reform will make GMC processes ‘much less legally adversarial’ in future, and added that his ‘hope would be that that would allow [the GMC] to resolve things more quickly’.

He said: ‘Regulatory reform will allow us to resolve more cases without going through that [adversarial process], which I think will be quite interesting because it will cause regulators to think about what is a reasonable outcome when we look at the totality of the issues that are in front of us.’

Last month, it was revealed that the GP suspended for ‘dishonesty’ over a laptop she said she had been ‘promised’ will appeal the GMC’s decision, alongside the GMC’s own review.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) had 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, with the BMA demanding an overhaul of GMC processes after the ‘incomprehensible’ ruling.

READERS' COMMENTS [15]

David Church 16 June, 2022 7:28 pm

He has made these comments, but he approved the suspension, as head of the GMC, and has not overthrown it.
Does this question his suitability to continue in post?

Gabor Szekely 16 June, 2022 7:46 pm

Does anybody believe the sincerity of his statement? Thy are words intended to placate and appease the rising tide of anger against adversarial regulators but no doubt they will continue using their punitive methods, until the profession decide to speak up with one voice and say “no more.”

Dave Haddock 16 June, 2022 9:42 pm

Charlie needs to go, and the BMA should be organising a mass refusal to pay GMC fees until he does.

John Charlton 16 June, 2022 9:49 pm

I must agree. As the head of the GMC to bar a doctor from working and then to say its disproportionate is an horrendous thing to do. Surely the doctor should be instantly reinstated, compensated, receive an apology and then he should resign.

David jenkins 17 June, 2022 12:24 am

two words you should utter if the letters “GMC” come out of your mouth in that order…………

bawa garba

Darren Cornish 17 June, 2022 8:28 am

Will those who disproportionately punished be held to account, named and shamed in the press, and be forced to have unpaid leave as well? Or is it just a one way street?

Anthony Everington 17 June, 2022 11:20 am

Why is the GMC not appealing against its own decision ? Or Are the appeals by the GMC only when they think the sentence is too light.?

David Jarvis 17 June, 2022 4:30 pm

Sorry but I really don’t think he understands. It is like the phrase I hear what you are saying meaning I am not going to change my mind based on what you say.

Patrufini Duffy 17 June, 2022 5:31 pm

The profession knows, that like Boris, some people within the GMC, law and CQC seem to be marking their own homework.

One should read unconscious bias. It goes back generations. A Panorama programme on the GMC is brewing in itself – one would suggest damage limitation. This will combust. And you will have plenty of testimonials and whistle-blowing at the ready.

SUBHASH BHATT 17 June, 2022 6:50 pm

Should we be grateful for him understanding? Just understand is not good enough sir. Do some thing to redeem gmc.

hilary klonin 18 June, 2022 2:41 pm

Lost in translation is the reported comment that Dr Aurora told the IT technician to check directly with Dr B, which I feel shows conclusively she was not trying to deliberately lie. I usually feel if I tell someone to feel free to check my interpretation of a communication, this is not trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes. Unless this was a fiendishly clever double bluff on Dr Aurora’s part I feel this puts her in the clear
Why managers are sending “holding” e mails to Drs and whether Drs should be trained to unpick what is holding, what is nod to the wise, what is a coded promise when we need to be specialising in treating patients is another matter

Mark Cathcart 20 June, 2022 9:56 am

I have read this case several times and unless I’m missing something profound, I cannot understand the gmc decision to suspend this doctor
As professionals we need to understand and respect our regulatory authorities and as a profession we have a vested interest in ensuring that our regulatory authority is able to weed out the dangerous and incompetent doctors out of our system
But this case baffles me! This doctor got three months suspension for something I cannot understand and I have a masters of science on forensic and legal medicine
Perhaps the gmc could explain the rationale for the suspension in language that we can all understand

Patrufini Duffy 21 June, 2022 2:19 pm

Yes Mark.

The initial concerns were raised with the GMC on 21 February 2020 by Dr B.
It is funny how difficult it is to find out who: “Dr B, Medical Director at Mastercall Healthcare” is? They did a convenient dash and run with this.

Who are you Dr B? – who says someone is “dishonest”. Let us analyse your history and honesty and integrity. Perhaps someone should rummage around your past?

Well, the entire profession knows whats going on and why Charlie is a little sensitive at present.
There is a little camaraderie with Dr B and the “institutes” – you know a little bias and “thanks for dobbing her in, we will sort out the rest” kind of disgusting parody.

He knows cracks are appearing in the smokescreen. And the universe is doing it’s rounds on the corrupt.
The common man and woman knows honesty and integrity – they can smell an off fish – and well done Pulse for keeping headlines going – the profession across all quarters, from surgeon to physician to carer to nurse to caretaker to trolley pusher to pharmacist understands the words – hypocrite, double-standards and racism. It is certainly worrying the leaders in their blue suits and party dresses. They can’t maintain their polarised attitudes and historical past much longer and it is worrying their salaries and positions.

If her name was Dr Margaret Atkins or Dr Molly Amersham instead, then Dr B would be in bliss and happy as larry, and all this would be brushed under the carpet as a silly joke and let’s have a beer after work. Dr B should be named, step forward and provide their registration and standing – and take the hearing decision themselves. And also, they should go visit Dr A and say how happy they sleep at night, like a school kid.

Matthew Shaw 22 June, 2022 6:41 pm

All institutions end up working to protect themselves. Bawa Garba and this case perfectly illustrate this point. Is there a front line dr who has confidence they will get a fair hearing once a vexatious complaint is launched?