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GP faces MPTS tribunal for taking part in Just Stop Oil protest

GP faces MPTS tribunal for taking part in Just Stop Oil protest

A GP who took part in ‘peaceful’ Just Stop Oil protests two years ago is facing GMC allegations at a tribunal this week. 

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) is inquiring into allegations that Dr Sarah Benn breached a court injunction by attending protests at a Warwickshire oil terminal in 2022. 

Today, the tribunal made a finding of misconduct based on these allegations, according to the environmental activist group Just Stop Oil.

But the hearing is expected to continue into next week as the MPTS determines whether Dr Benn’s fitness to practise is impaired and whether she will be struck off.

The MPTS said: ‘The tribunal will inquire into the allegation that on 26 April 2022, 4 May 2022 and 14 September 2022, Dr Benn engaged in peaceful protests within a prohibited buffer zone at Kingsbury Oil Terminal in breach of an interim injunction granted on 14 April 2022. 

‘It is alleged that Dr Benn’s actions amounted to contempt of court and resulted in a custodial sentence.’

Just Stop Oil described Dr Benn as a ‘supporter’ of the organisation, and said she was involved in ‘peaceful demonstrations’ which demanded the Government ‘bring an end to new fossil fuel projects’. 

According to the group, Dr Benn was arrested at Kingsbury Oil Terminal and was ‘imprisoned for 31 days’ after being found to ‘be in breach of a civil injunction’.

‘Dr Benn informed the General Medical Council and her employer after each arrest and argues that her actions are consistent with medical ethics, which prioritise patient and public safety above all,’ Just Stop Oil said. 

The activist group also claimed that a total of three GPs are ‘under scrutiny for similar reasons’ this year, with Dr Benn’s case being the first heard.

In 2022, Dr Benn wrote for Pulse about her experiences in a women’s prison, saying she ended up there because she made clear to the judge that she felt no remorse and had every intention of returning to protest again.

Speaking before her hearing this week, the Birmingham GP said that while she will be ‘sad and upset’ if she is struck off from the GMC register, this will have ‘no effect’ on her future plans for activism.

‘I will continue carrying out what I believe is my responsibility as long as the government refuses to commit to stopping oil and gas,’ she said.

Dr Benn argued that as a doctor, her ‘fundamental duty’ is to ‘protect health and life’. 

She said: ‘The climate crisis is the most significant existential threat to global health we have ever faced. It’s disheartening to see governments worldwide declare climate emergencies, yet fail to act beyond these declarations. 

‘In medicine, when an emergency is declared, immediate action is expected—not just words. This is the essence of our job, and it’s often a daunting responsibility, but it is essential.’

Dr Benn said this is why she felt ‘compelled’ to address the climate crisis, saying the situation ‘requires nothing less than decisive intervention’.

She continued: ‘The protests and disruptions I’ve participated in are not actions I take lightly. I find no joy in causing inconvenience or distress. However, we must be clear about the magnitude of the crisis we face. 

‘The disruptions caused by peaceful protest are nothing compared to the catastrophic impacts of continuing to burn fossil fuels.’

In response to the news of Dr Benn’s tribunal, East London GP Dr Farzana Hussain said the climate crisis has a ‘direct and obvious negative impact on health’.

‘What a sad day when a GP, standing up for the health of future generations, could be struck off from the GMC register – we really don’t live in a democracy,’ Dr Hussain wrote in a post on X.

In 2022, a magistrates court acquitted four GPs who blocked Lambeth Bridge in the climate change protest led by Extinction Rebellion (XR).

They were cleared of public order charges, and the judge who ruled over the case was ‘impressed by the integrity and rationality of their beliefs’.



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

So the bird flew away 18 April, 2024 5:00 pm

Dr Benn is a courageous objector to the fossil fuel industry’s massive contribution to climate change, and the law is an ass.

Dave Haddock 18 April, 2024 5:51 pm

Monodelusional disorder.
Ideally exclude organic illness.
Prognosis poor.

So the bird flew away 18 April, 2024 8:49 pm


Some Bloke 18 April, 2024 10:07 pm

Fitness to practice? We don’t know details, but looks like simple criminality. Waste of time and of MPTS.
Feel for everyone who has to deal with the nuisance of just stop-diots

David Banner 19 April, 2024 8:56 am

More power to her and all the other JSO martyrs.
These brave heroes have managed to destroy the docile public acceptance of the bogus green agenda touted by climate catastrophists.
Every traffic-stopping or masterpiece-vandalising stunt further infuriates a public slowly waking up to the consequences of the hair-shirt future the climate industry has in store for them.
Without the courageous actions of the JSO and XR activists maddening the public and spooking politicians into reversing “green policies” I could have lost my boiler and diesel car.
.Thank you, Dr Benn, I salute you, please continue your fantastic campaigning.

SUBHASH BHATT 19 April, 2024 9:48 am

What does her action has to do with general practice? You think she said “stop oil” means she is danger to patients?

Yes Man 19 April, 2024 10:20 am

Hmmmm I hate to stereotype but…..

Dave Haddock 19 April, 2024 10:51 am

The description of “peaceful protest” is misleading; on at least one occasion the protesters were successful in their attempts to blockade the Kingsbury terminal; this prevented petrol tankers making deliveries to petrol stations. I know this because my elderly parents were amongst those stranded near Oxford when unable to get petrol.
Hopefully she will be struck off.

Liam Topham 19 April, 2024 12:04 pm

31 days imprisonment doesn’t sound so bad when you consider that it is time out of the practice

Not on your Nelly 19 April, 2024 12:19 pm

If you truly do a peaceful protest, you wound’t go to jail for it. Protest all you want, but don’t make life difficult for your average person. If you are stopping traffic or people going about their day to day work, you deserve what you get. What the MPTS has to do with it is anyone’s guess, but if you are a criminal and have been sent to jail, then you deserve to be treated like a criminal.

Guy Wilkinson 19 April, 2024 3:27 pm

Net zero is a death cult.

Dr No 19 April, 2024 9:45 pm

So, granted that Dr Benn is yet to be sanctioned… I think in 50-100 years time the GMC will have more to worry about than bullying the likes of Dr Benn. Like maybe moving from London to higher ground…

Veena Aggarwal 20 April, 2024 10:16 am

All support to Sarah Benn. The climate crisis is the biggest crisis facing the survival of life on earth including us as humans. We are already seeing food shortages. I am really disappointed to see all of the negative comments on this article. Her bravery should be commended and thanked by us in the profession.

So the bird flew away 20 April, 2024 11:29 am

Hear hear @veena.aggarwal. I’m also surprised by the macho stone-throwing at this conscientious GP who has already (wrongly, imo) paid the law’s price. Whatever your views on climate change (I don’t waste energy arguing with climate change deniers), this nasty millionaires Govt over the last few years, hiding in the last refuge of the scoundrel, has fettered the long-held tradition and right to peaceful protest. They have taken extraordinary steps to criminalise civil disobedience and pressed the judiciary into robustly applying the new laws, mainly to their political enemies. They have also encouraged corporations to pursue the protestors through the civil courts via injunctions and costs orders.
This Govt is responsible for “changing the climate” of English politics and law for worse. While at the same time, their rich friends (Mone, Hester, Menzies…etc) so far sleep easy.
Glad to know they’ll be booted out soon..

Samir Shah 21 April, 2024 11:15 pm

Agree, Veena. She is showing her bravery for the next generation

Bob Hodges 22 April, 2024 10:15 am

Just Stop Oil is a Malthusian death cult that seems to be actively trying to lower the human population of Earth. The closest correlation you can find throughout human history is Lifespan/Living standards and the total amount of energy created.consumed.

Stopping oil in the UK with have zero effect on the consumption (i.e. Co2 emmisions) of oil in the UK. We will simply burn carbon transporting it from elswhere, and lower our tax receipts so we’ll be poorer and have less money to spend on transition.

These idiots in orange routinely delay ambulances and access to healthcare. They stop people going about their peaceful buisness that they have a right to.

There is no solution to the problem in stopping oil in the UK whilst others are increasing their use of coal. 40% of the world’s food production is utterly dependent on oil and gas for fertiliser production. Anyone imagining that wind and solar are a replacememt for baseload powergeneration is beinfg intellectually dishonest.

They bleat about climate change because they imagine some people dying in the future, and they simply must play the middle class white saviour. In the real world, people are already having their lives shortened and blighted by food and energy poverty. How many of us working in more deprived areas have ever hear ‘climate change’ cited as the cause for a case of depression? None I’ll wager.

We had the solution 40 years ago – NUCLEAR POWER. However, the ‘green’ lobby like Greenpe
ace cynically and hysterically comapaigned against that. JSO are an extrension of this idiocy, with a wierd cult like authoritarian desire to dominate others.