GMC expert witness guidance welcomed

GMC guidance 'Acting as an Expert Witness', which sets out the role and duties of doctors who act as expert witnesses, has been welcomed by the Medical Defence Union (MDU).

The guidance emphasises that medical expert witnesses must:

•    Recognise their overriding duty to the court and to the administration of justice,
•    Give opinion and evidence within the limits of professional competence,
•    Keep up to date in their specialist area of practice,
•    Explain where they are a range of views on a particular question, and,
•    Take appropriate action where they change their opinion.

Dr Peter Schütte, the MDU’s head of advisory services, said: ‘If there is not enough information to reach a conclusion on a particular point, the GMC says that you should make this clear. Hardly anything in medicine is 100 per cent, so we advise doctors to stick to their guns if they are inappropriately asked to commit to a certainty.’

neil.durham@haymarket.com

Guidance: www.gmc-uk.org

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