Sunday, 14 August 2011

Double jeopardy, double standards

As far as I am aware no registered medical practitioner has been arrested in connection with the recent riots and opportunistic looting. If they had they would not only be facing the courts, but the GMC as well. At para 58 of the good practice guide it states “You must inform the GMC without delay if, anywhere in the world, you have accepted a caution, been charged with or found guilty of a criminal offence.”

If you are tried and found guilty in a court of law the GMC will accept that verdict without question and proceed accordingly. You will have no opportunity to argue your case, you are guilty and that is that.

You might think that if the court of law finds you not guilty, and acquits you that that would also be taken by the GMC as final and no further action would be taken. However that would require the GMC to behave in a fair, unprejudiced and balanced way. In fact if you are acquitted you may still have to face the GMC at a fitness to practice hearing where, notwithstanding the decision of the court, you can still be found guilty and punished. The GMC view seems to be that there is no smoke without fire, we all know you dunnit, and if you managed to escape justice undoubtedly on some legal technicality, we will be there, untroubled by legal niceties to give you what you deserve.

The theoretical possibility exists that you can be tried in a country you have never visited, for something that is not a crime in the UK, and the GMC can then hold you to account in their own unique way.

In the UK we are all supposed to be equal under the law. However doctors seem to be less equal than others.

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