Houshian v General Medical Council [2012] EWHC 3458 (QB)

The doctor involved in this case was a consultant orthopaedic surgeon. The allegation he faced involved findings made by an Employment Tribunal that he had forged documents in relation to a claim for unfair dismissal against Lewisham NHS Trust. The Fitness to practise panel made an application pursuant to the investigations for an Interim Suspension Order. The basis on which such an application can be made is that the doctor presents an immediate and serious risk to the public interest and the reputation of the profession.

The order was made and the doctor appealed. The court reinforced the fact that the consequences of an interim order for any practitioner are serious- not only do they affect their right to earn a living, it can also have a detrimental effect upon their reputation and deprives the doctor of demonstrating over the period of the suspension that they conducted themselves well and competently.

The court found that the Panel in this case had not directed themselves appropriately and focussed upon the need to find a likelihood of serious damage to the public interest and public confidence in the profession. It is not appropriate simply to refer to the seriousness of the allegations when considering this test. The focus must be on the degree of risk. There was also evidence of some delay in the progression of the investigation so the interim suspension order was quashed.


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