‘Experts’ at Risk of Misconduct Findings
Doctors who hold themselves out to be experts in a particular field must ensure that they have the required expertise to be able to give opinions that are admissible in General Medical Council (GMC) hearings, the High Court held. The court’s judgment has wider ramifications, too, for doctors who act as experts in other proceedings beyond GMC fitness to practise proceedings, in court or elsewhere.
In Pool v GMC  EWHC 3791 (Admin) a doctor appealed a GMC/MPTS panel’s findings that he was not not suitably equipped to hold himself out as an expert in adult psychiatry. The GMC panel had also found that the doctor had inadequately assessed the complainant to proceedings, whom he was providing an opinion on. This finding was also appealed. While the doctor was unsuccessful in challenging those two determinations, he was successful in proving that his suspension for three months was disproportionate. A period of conditions was instead imposed by the High Court. (November 2014)
The impact of this appeal decision is that doctors must be sufficiently expert enough in their field to be able to hold themselves out as experts. Otherwise they risk being prosecuted for misconduct by the GMC. See our longer article for additional case law analysis: Expert Witness Doctors Can Be Subject to GMC Misconduct Proceedings
For advice on the law of holding oneself out as an expert, contact Doctors Defence Service on 0800 10 88 739 or use our Contact Form.
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