Opinion Former Article

MDU successful in supporting doctor at Court of Appeal

The MDU has successfully supported a doctor at the Court of Appeal in a case which upheld a fitness to practise tribunal finding.

An MPTS medical tribunal found that the doctor’s fitness to practise was not impaired and that he should be allowed to continue practising, albeit with a warning being issued. The GMC appealed that decision to the High Court which substituted its own finding of impairment and sent the case back to the MPTS to consider the sanction to impose.

The MDU assisted the doctor to appeal that decision and was successful. Lord Justice Bean commented in the Court of Appeal ruling that while the GMC’s discretion to appeal is a wide one ‘it is a discretion to be exercised with restraint where it involves a challenge to a finding of fact in the practitioner’s favour.’

Dr Caroline Fryar, MDU head of advisory services said:

“This is an important judgement for our member and for all doctors involved in fitness to practise hearings. The ruling found that the original MPTS tribunal outcome that our member was fit to practise, should have been given greater weight by the High Court and by the GMC in its decision to appeal.

“Doctors are profoundly affected by fitness to practise proceedings and, understandably, considerably relieved to learn the tribunal has made a finding in their favour. Most doctors don’t understand they are still in peril of having this finding appealed and many think this is unfair. This case addressed an important point of principle, as well as vindicating our member and we are pleased the appeal was successful.”

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