Professional Discipline Summer Newsletter
The impact of GMC v Bawa-Garba continues to be felt throughout the healthcare sector. The Williams review looks set to reopen the debate on the proper approach to regulation. Lewis Macdonald considers whether the recommendations go far enough. Meanwhile Ben Rich analyses the appeal of Dr G Arunachalam v GMC: even repeated sexually inappropriate behaviour may not render erasure inevitable. Leon Kazakos considers the proper ambit of a doctor’s obligation to notify the GMC of another professional body’s determination in R (Lee) v General Medical Council. Sarah Przybylska attacks the hackneyed proposition so favoured by regulators: “if it is not recorded it did not happen”.
Outside of healthcare, Alexandra Tampakopoulos reports on the case of Adath Yisroel Burial Society v HM Senior Coroner for Inner North London – any inflexible public policy over the order coronial cases are dealt with is bound to result in discrimination. Gavin Irwin notes the court’s lack of tolerance for unmeritorious applications as seen in Vay Sui Ip v Solicitors Regulation Authority, and the potential for regulators to bring misconduct proceedings against those practitioners responsible. I consider the extent to which a third party can seek legal redress if their conduct is criticised in regulatory proceedings in the light of R (Lewin) v Financial Reporting Council and others.
Professor Sir Norman Williams’ rapid policy review of gross negligence manslaughter in healthcare was published on 11thJune, and sets out a number of recommendations for reform in cases of suspected gross negligence manslaughter, and indeed for medical regulation generally. The recommendations largely reflect common sense, and are to be welcomed, but there is far more work to be done. An in-depth review of the entire system is required.
The key recommendations of the Williams review are as follows…
New Guidance issued after Coroner’s ‘cab rank’ policy on burial quashed by the High Court in R (Adath Yisroel Burial Society) v Senior Coroner for Inner North London 
The case of Adath Yisroel Burial Society v HM Senior Coroner for Inner North London  EWHC 969 (Admin) involved a judicial review challenge to the lawfulness of a policy developed by the Senior Coroner for Inner North London which said: “No death will be prioritised in any way over any other because of the religion of the deceased or family, either by the coroner’s officers or coroners”. This policy amounted to a blanket refusal to any request for expedition in the release of a body in circumstances where a religion stipulates that the burial must take place within a short period of death…
Professional discipline proceedings very often raise the question: on what evidence can a tribunal infer that a particular omission was made. Allegations are often pleaded in the alternative, in the broad format, “did not do”/“did not record”. Very often the failure to do something is proved by the evidence of a patient, or perhaps by the evidence of some subsequent development in the patient’s condition that gives rise to an inference that the omission must have been made…
On 26th April 2018, the Administrative Court handed down judgment in Vay Sui Ip v Solicitors Regulation Authority  EWHC 957 (Admin). The Administrative Court refused Mr Ip’s appeal against the SRA’s orders for strike off and costs (£10,000) for, essentially, ‘gaming the system’ in immigration proceedings, and for making ‘totally without merit’ applications.
Irwin LJ. agreed with Lane J.’s “full and compelling” judgment, adding that it “carries particular authority from his long experience and his Presidency of the Upper Tribunal (Asylum and Immigration Chamber)”.
R (Lewin) v Financial Reporting Council and others  EWHC 446: When can a Panel Criticise Those Outside the Profession?
It is not an uncommon position for a regulatory panel to make findings of fact which may adversely impact on a third party who is not a member of that profession. In criticising a doctor for his clinical failings, it may be inevitable that those same findings implicitly criticise other healthcare professionals or organisations and businesses involved in the same care. Yet whilst such decisions may impact on the reputation of those individuals or companies, perhaps quite unfairly, what means of redress do they have?
Dr G Arunachalam v GMC  EWHC 758 (Admin): Can a Doctor Escape Erasure for Repeated Sexual Misconduct?
Dr Arunachalam appealed against his erasure by a Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal for sexually motivated misconduct against two colleagues. One, Dr A, was pestered by over-familiar messages from the Registrant which she ascribed to a deluded belief on his part that there was more than a professional relationship between them. She initially tried to deal with it informally but when the Registrant persisted, she reported him and he was dismissed…
The Duty to Report Foreign Misconduct Findings
In February the Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in the case of Lee v General Medical Council  EWCA Civ 99.
Susan Lee was a registered medical practitioner in Singapore and the United Kingdom. Proceedings were brought against her in Singapore for charging excessive fees. In July 2012 she was found guilty of professional misconduct and, among other sanctions, was suspended from practice for three years. She appealed to the High Court and remained in practice until her appeal was heard and rejected in July 2013…