The GMC has recently announced that they have scrapped plans to update the online medical register. The online register will now only include details of doctors who have been subject to disciplinary hearings after 2005. Any doctors who were sanctioned before 2005 would have online records that appear clean. An article written for The Times noted that a total of 133 doctors were sanctioned before 2005 and of those, 14 have been subject to further sanctions or warnings. This means that there are 119 doctors whose records now appear clean and inevitably there will be patients receiving care and treatment from those doctors without being aware of their past medical conduct.

This decision clearly raises concerns for patient safety. Peter Walsh, the chief executive of the charity Action Against Medical Accidents, warns that the GMC’s decision “goes against the principle of patients’ rights to make informed choices about their treating doctor”.

The GMC’s decision also seems to take somewhat of a step back from the decisions on patient autonomy and consent in the cases of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board and Webster v Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Charlie Massey, chief executive of the GMC, defending the decision, has stated that a balance must be met between a patient’s right to know when there have been serious concerns raised about a doctor and the rights of individual doctors to be able to move on from past actions.

Freeths LLP Clinical Negligence solicitors have vast experience in claims arising from the malpractice of doctors. Karen Reynolds, partner of our Derby and Stoke on Trent offices is leading investigations on behalf of over 60 patients who suffered negligent treatment by former consultant maxillofacial surgeon, Roger Bainton. Mr Bainton carried out a number of unnecessary operations and experimental procedures whilst practicing at the Royal Stoke University Hospital between 2005 and 2013. He was suspended in 2013, subsequently dismissed before being erased from the medical register by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal.

If you are concerned about any treatment which you or a loved one have received, please contact our Derby and Stoke on Trent Clinical Negligence team:-

Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke) on 0845 272 5677 or karen.reynolds@freeths.co.uk

Claire Cooper, Solicitor on 0845 274 6830 or claire.cooper@freeths.co.uk

Naomi Solomon, Solicitor on 0845 030 5742 or naomi.solomon@freeths.co.uk

For further information please also visit our website at: http://www.freeths.co.uk/legal-services/individuals/clinical-negligence/