Expert Doctors must Truly be Experts in their Field

Experts must be Sufficiently Competent to do Work as an Expert

‘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.

Medical Doctors as Experts - LawIn Pool v GMC [2014] 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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Doctors Defence Service (DDS) assists medical doctors who are registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) in the United Kingdom (UK) and also those doctors from abroad who wish to register and practise as doctors in the UK. Doctors Defence Service also assists doctors in relation to all other legal issues arising from daily practice and operating businesses in the clinical arena. DDS represents doctors in FTP and IOP GMC proceedings, at inquests, in general civil cases, in commercial and contract law, in revalidation matters, and employment law. Doctors Defence Service can be contacted on 0800 10 88 739. We have main offices in London, Manchester, and Telford. We cover most other UK regions too.