QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| The Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care
|- and –
|(1) The General Medical Council
(2) Mr Hilton
Mr Christopher Knight (instructed by GMC Legal) for the First Respondent
Mr Richard Booth QC (instructed by DWF Law LLP) for the 2nd Respondent
Hearing dates: 22 May 2019
Crown Copyright ©
Mr Justice Freedman:
(1) The Appellant of Fenella Morris QC dated 5 July 2019;
(2) The Second Respondent of Richard Booth QC dated 12 July 2019;
(3) The First Respondent of Christopher Knight dated 17 July 2019;
(4) The Appellant of Fenella Morris QC in reply dated 23 July 2019;
(The Second Respondent has informed the Court through his solicitor that he intends to make no further submission in reply, no doubt recognising sensibly that his submission of 12 July 2019 sufficed.)
"On 26 March 2014, you performed a spinal fusion procedure on Patient A. Unfortunately, after an initial apparently successful outcome, Patient A had a recurrence of pain and sought assistance from another surgeon in April 2016. The other surgeon observed that a screw inserted by you was misplaced post-operatively. Patient A complained to you and suggested that there was x-ray evidence available to you after the operation to show the presence of this complication.
You met with Patient A on 2 November 2016. You informed Patient A that (a) you had noted that this screw was misplaced post-operatively, but that (b) having identified that misplacement, you had decided to take a 'watch and wait' approach and not to inform him so as not to worry him. This was not true because (a) you had not noted that the screw was misplaced post-operatively (you had not seen any CT scans), and (b) you had not decided not to inform Patient A or to take a 'watch and wait' approach (because you could not inform him about something which you did not know).
You had a duty of candour and would be expected by a member of the public to be open and transparent about the treatment you had provided to Patient A. In circumstances where you had a duty to act with integrity and honesty, your assertions at the meeting were dishonest because they were not truthful and you knew this."
This conduct does not meet with the standards required of a doctor. It risks bringing the profession into disrepute and it must not be repeated.
The required standards are set out in Good Medical Practice and associated guidance. In this case, paragraphs 1, 31, 55, 65 and 68 of Good Medical Practice are particularly relevant:
1 Patients need good doctors. Good doctors make the care of their patients their first concern: they are competent, keep their knowledge and skills up to date, establish and maintain good relationships with patients and colleagues, are honest and trustworthy, and act with integrity and within the law.
31 You must listen to patients, take account of their views, and respond honestly to their question.
55 You must be open and honest with patients if things go wrong. If a patient under your care has suffered harm or distress, you should:
c explain fully and promptly what has happened and the likely short-term and long-term effects.
65 You must make sure that your conduct justifies your patients' trust in you and the public's trust in the profession.
68 You must be honest and trustworthy in all your communication with patients and colleague.
Whilst this failing in itself is not so serious as to require any restriction on your registration, it is necessary in response to issue this formal warning.
This warning will be published on the medical register in line with our publication and disclosure policy, which can be found at: