QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| Martin Sandler
|- and -
|General Medical Council
Gemma White (instructed by GMC Legal) for the General Medical Council
Hearing dates: 6th May 2010
Crown Copyright ©
Mr Justice Nicol :
'8. Except as hereafter provided, no cremation shall be allowed to take place unless: (a) a certificate in 'Form B' has been given by a registered medical practitioner who has attended the deceased during his last illness and who can certify definitely as to the cause of death, and a confirmatory medical certificate in Form C be given by another medical practitioner who must be qualified as prescribed in Regulation 9 ….
9. The confirmatory medical certificate in Form 'C', if not given by the Medical Referee, must be given by a registered medical practitioner of not less than five years' standing…'
Form C requires the doctor to confirm (amongst other things) that he has seen the body of the deceased, that he has examined the body externally and that he had seen and questioned the medical practitioner who had attended the deceased during his last illness and who had completed Form B.
i) Failed to see the bodies of patients for whom he completed Form C between January 2007 and May 2008 (Admitted).
ii) Failed carefully to examine externally the bodies of patients for whom he completed Form C between January 2007 and May 2008 (Admitted).
iii) Failed to meet with and question or speak on the telephone to the medical practitioner who had completed Form B between January 2007 and May 2008 (Partially admitted).
iv) [not relevant because not proven]
v) Received a total payment from the Trust in the sum of £4,549.50 for the period of 2007 – 2008 for Cremation duties required by Form C but not carried out the duties (Partially proven).
vi) Failed to meet his professional duties as required by the GMC under 'Good Medical Practice' (Admitted).
The Trust in consequence gave Dr Sandler a final written warning. It also imposed conditions that Dr Sandler did not sign any further cremation forms and discontinue his role as Clinical Director. It said that it would refer his case to the GMC and may also refer the matter to the police.
'Every person who shall wilfully make any false representation, or signs or utters any false certificate, with a view to procuring the burning of any human remains, shall (in addition any penalty or liability which he may otherwise incur) be liable to imprisonment not exceeding 2 years.'
DS Darby continued that the Claimant was to be summonsed to the magistrates court on 8th December 2009 to enter a plea in relation to 6 specimen charges under s.8(2). A seventh specimen charge of wilfully singing 110 false certificates under s.8(2) would also be laid against him.
'(1) Where an Interim Orders Panel ….are satisfied that it is necessary for the protection of members of the public or is otherwise in the public interest, or is in the interests of a fully registered person, for the registration of that person to be suspended or to be made subject to conditions, the panel may make an order – (a) that his registration in the register shall be suspended (that is to say, shall not have effect) during such period not exceeding 18 months as may be specified in the order ('an interim suspension order'); or (b) that his registration shall be conditional on his compliance, during such period not exceeding 18 months as may be specified in the order, with such requirements so specified as the panel thinks fit to impose (an 'order for interim conditional registration').'
'In exercising its professional judgment and having determined that an interim order is in the public interest, the Panel then considered what would be the appropriate order. The Panel acknowledged that the sole concern was the public interest, and noted your wide ranging senior positions within the Trust Management as Clinical Director, regional and national duties for a range of professional organisations and other high level roles within the medical profession. The Panel noted in your curriculum vitae that you have been the Chairman of the Training Committee of Acute Medicine and are an Examiner for the Royal College of Physicians, positions which are widely respected and influential on junior doctors. In reaching its decision the Panel determined that the public interest includes upholding the standards of professional conduct and behaviour and the reputation of the profession, expected of a registered medical practitioner. The Panel has taken into account of the issue of proportionality and has balanced the need to protect the members of the public, the public interest and your own interests against the consequences for you of the suspension of your registration. Whilst the Panel notes that its order has removed your ability to practise medicine, it considers that, in view of the serious allegations in which you have made some admissions to, there are no conditions which would adequately protect the public interest, which includes the maintenance of public confidence in the medical profession and its practitioners. In all the circumstances, it considers that the suspension of your registration is an appropriate response.'
'Where an order has effect under any provision of this section, the relevant court may (a) in the case of an interim suspension order, terminate the suspension; (b) in the case of an order for interim conditional suspension, revoke or vary any condition imposed by the order; (c) in either case, substitute for the period specified in the order (or in the order extending it) some other period which could have been specified in the order when it was made (or in the order extending it), and the decision of the relevant court under any application under this subsection shall be final.'