MMR doctor's striking off is welcomed by doctors and researchers

Doctors and researchers have welcomed the GMC's decision to strike off Dr Andrew Wakefield, the doctor at the centre of the MMR controversy.

MMR vaccination rates dropped after Dr Wakefield's research was published (Photograph: SPL)
MMR vaccination rates dropped after Dr Wakefield's research was published (Photograph: SPL)

On Monday the GMC struck off Dr Wakefield for serious professional misconduct.

Professor Adam Finn, Professor of Paediatrics at University of Bristol Medical School, said the GMC's verdict on Dr Wakefield's professional conduct was right. Professor Finn said he remained disappointed that Dr Wakefield still has not acknowledged all the evidence that now exists that shows MMR is safe and supports its use. 

'We all now know that the vaccine is remarkably safe and enormously effective,' he said.

'The UK remains one of the countries with the worst measles control in Europe and we badly need to put this right for the sake of our own children and children worldwide.'

GP Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, author of MMR and Autism: What Parents Need To Know, said his thoughts were with the families of autistic children who were ‘dragged into futile on the basis of Wakefield's speculative link between MMR and autism'. 

'Wakefield's greatest offence was his failure - over 12 years - either to substantiate a hypothesis with major consequences for child health or to withdraw it,' Dr Fitzpatrick said.

Professor Terence Stephenson, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said the false suggestion of a link between autism and the MMR vaccine had done untold damage to the UK vaccination programme. 

'We cannot stress too strongly that all children and young people should have the MMR vaccine,' he said.

'Overwhelming scientific evidence shows that it is safe.'

The GMC's decision confirmed the findings of its fitness-to-practise panel in February this year, which had investigated charges of dishonesty and misleading conduct.

Dr Wakefield's research findings, published in The Lancet in 1998, led to a drop in MMR vaccination rates and a rise in measles cases as well as confrontations between GPs and the parents of babies due for their MMR jabs.

Download the full GMC judgment on Andrew Wakefield

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