Over 1000 medics have been convicted of criminal offences by the law courts of England and Wales but, notwithstanding this, are still allowed to continue to work in their existing roles. These include some of the most serious offences such as violent assaults, domestic violence, sexual assaults, possession of offensive weapons and offences relating to the abuse of children.
Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service
If a doctor has received a conviction or has been issued with a caution (warning) then they must attend the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) which hears all cases pursued by the General Medical Council (GMC).
In total 1,102 medics were allowed to continue practicing after the MPTS determined that their offences were not serious enough to ban them from their practice, although a small number of practitioners had been struck off or were suspended.
The GMC Chief Executive said:
“Our job is to protect patients by ensuring only doctors who are fit to practice are able to do so. The number of licensed doctors with criminal convictions is extremely small and in the vast majority of cases these are either subject to restrictions on their practice or a re struck off”.
A GMC spokesperson further commented:
“It’s important that a doctor is held to account if there are concerns about his practice or behaviour. In very serious cases a doctor’s practice will be restricted to protect their patients. In other cases a thorough investigation will determine that a warning is appropriate. A warning which last 5 years and is visible to patients and employers on the medical register is serious, and is designed to send a clear message that doctors must learn from their mistake and not repeat it”.
It appears however that this would only apply to warnings. The public are unaware that these professionals have convictions and are being allowed to continue working despite having committed some of the most serious of offences.
Should the public be made aware if doctors have convictions?
Campaigners are adamant that patients should not be kept in the dark about the convictions of doctors. They say patients should firstly be made aware that their doctor has a conviction and secondly they should be able to choose whether or not to risk being treated by that doctor. They suggest a patient would be shocked to know that their doctor has been convicted of an offence such as possession of indecent images and may not wish for their child to be treated by that same doctor.
Olliers Solicitors – GMC Lawyers
Olliers Solicitors are highly experienced in the representation of medical professionals before the General Medical Council. We are also able to advise in relation to Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) Checks and the circumstances where it may be possible to apply for removal of a caution or have an entry on a DBS check edited.
Saskia Abbott – Specialist Criminal Defence Lawyer
Written by Saskia Abbott. Saskia is currently based in our Magistrates’ Department, managing a variety of cases on a day to day basis. Saskia’s supportive and knowledgeable approach is frequently praised by clients.