Can a doctor’s name be anonymised in GMC proceedings?

Anonymity of Doctors' Names in GMC Cases

Anonymity in GMC Proceedings

The general rule is that all GMC/MPT cases are held in public and all judgments are published, in the public interest. It would be highly exceptional circumstances that might justify a departure from the general rule.

Nevertheless, there is at least one legal precedent (court case judgment) that justified anonymity for doctors in certain, narrow circumstances, drawing on the common law and convention on human rights, which may be a useful guide in other cases.

Dr X had been identified by anti-paedophile vigilantes as being inappropriate in conversation with a notional child. The information was passed on to the authorities and the GMC eventually prosecuted a case of misconduct. The doctor applied for judicial review of the GMC/MPT’s decision to publish the doctor’s name, on the grounds that they were suicidal.

The court held that the public interest is not absolute in trumping a doctor’s personal interests in circumstances where their gender and sexuality, if published, wouild likely lead to the doctor committing suicide.

For more information, see the case of: GMC v X [2019] EWHC 493 (January 2019).

Contact Doctors Defence Service to discuss the law on anonymity of a doctor’s name in General Medical Council (GMC) proceedings.

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