Letter: Better to be judged by GMC than courts

Dear Editor

I am amazed at the naivety of my erstwhile colleagues (GP letters, 3 March). While it is admirable to support fellow professionals, they really must earn and deserve that support.

Mr Justice Collins' ruling was a disgrace. Is it now the judiciary who decide whether a doctor is fit to practise?

Justice Collins might well be right in saying that an expert witness should be immune from criticism by his own professional body. However, to earn that immunity, the expert must behave like one.

It was said that Professor Meadow made only one mistake - one too many for Sally Clark and Angela Canning.

Doctors of his eminence should not make any mistakes.

I'm afraid I knew right from the start that his figures were wrong. It seems to me that Mr Justice Collins has erred outside his area of expertise.

The only body that can reinstate Professor Meadow is the GMC, which removed him in the first place. I would far rather be judged by my own profession than the judiciary.

That is not to say that the GMC is without its faults. Clearly Shipman should never have been allowed back on the register, but I'm speaking with hindsight. It seems that the GMC are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

So where does this leave the GMC fitness-to-practise panel? It seems as if they might just as well resign en masse, which is probably what the government has been after all along.

Allowing them to do away with self-regulation will leave us at the mercy of the politicians and the judiciary.

The poor patients will then have to take their complaints straight to the courts - more money for the lawyers.

Dr John Parry, Market Drayton, Shropshire.

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