Friday, 30 October 2009

Biological clock stops

Biological clock has stopped! Revolutionary research by American Scientists published in Nature described how sperm and ova were made out of skin cells! I am very happy with this research and wish I can show it to some people. Yes, those girlfriends who ignored me for months while desperately manipulating their men to marry them.

This discovery means patients undergoing treatment for cancer can have children in the future.

It means those previously rejected by Reproductive Clinics will have new treatments.

Trans gender people can celebrate if they wish.

Many ethical problems are solved and some new questions will be raised.

The ramification of this discovery are formidable.

It means more justice for women who suffered a lot of discrimination based on their age.

Sheffield Medical School. The CRE Investigation

I raised issues about the failure rate of ethnic minority students at Sheffield University medical school in October 1997. This article has been extracted from the material listed on Refer to the website for detailed evidence. Further material can be accessed in this Times Higher article. A second article in Times Higher can be accessed here.

In fairness, it must be emphasized that it is always, without exception, in the interest of the university that students should pass exams. People who engage in discriminatory practices are contravening the interests of the university and add to the workload of their colleagues.

That said I do have a taped conversation with the GMC president Professor Sir Graeme Catto where I discussed the issue of falsifying medical students exam results with him and he accepted that this can happen.

If you read the NUS Mark My words briefing it says
“When colleges and universities do not have anonymous marking in place, research shows that black students can receive up to 12% lower marks. This anomaly has been vigorously tested by independent bodies with the results consistently demonstrating bias in the scoring process as a root cause.”
Report after report shows that the NHS is riddled with institutionalized racism. As such a student being assessed in such an environment will be most vulnerable. That is one reason why university courses allied to medicine have a disproportionate failure rate among non white students.

Sheffield University has an anonymous marking policy. It says that in 1994 the Senate of the University decided that students names would not be visible to examiners, only their registration numbers. That is far from the truth.

I went to see Mr. Richard Allan, then MP for Sheffield Hallam. He made representations about this. He wrote to Mr. Page, the Undergraduate Dean of Sheffield medical school on 23/10/97. The letter was faxed through to Mr. Page.

I was concerned about the anonymous marking system adopted by the University in 1994. Mr. Allan said in his letter that it was alleged that the names of the students were in fact easily identifiable to those doing the marking. We suggest that there was a list of names against the numbers used on exam papers which was known to be available to course tutors. It was further alleged that this had led to a racial bias creeping into the marking whereby a higher proportion of ethnic minority students was failing than would be statistically normal.

I gave the official fail lists to the MP. In the 5th year of the 1996/97 session group of medical student's 27/181 students were of home ethnic origin. Almost exactly 15% at Sheffield medical school at the time there were three subjects taught in rotation. They are Obstetrics and Gynaecology, paediatrics and psychiatry.

Among all those who failed Obstetrics and Gynaecology in that year 7/18 that failed were of ethnic minority. The exam consisted of 25% attachment marks, 12.5% coursework 25% essays and 37.5% Objective structured clinical exam (OSCE) In the OSCE candidates were given a two-digit candidate number to put on their papers. The list of names and numbers was put on a notice board for all to see. On essay papers at Sheffield University there is a confidentiality flap which is very difficult to seal down. Candidates have to write their names underneath the flap. Although there is nothing to stop a student sealing down the flap with cello-tape or stapling it down.

In Paediatrics 5/7 that failed were of ethnic minority. Paediatrics was, under that system 50% continuous assessment, 25% OSCE and 25% clinical exam. If the candidate failed the clinical exam it resulted in an outright fail. In a clinical exam there is no protection of anonymous marking. In fact anonymous marking doesn’t give you any protection at all.

In psychiatry 5/12 that failed were of ethnic origin. This exam consisted of a clinical exam, a written paper and an attachment. Dr. Peters the then undergraduate course tutor in sychiatry and now Undergraduate Dean would openly admit to having the list of names and numbers before the papers were marked. He would insist that the students wrote their names on the papers. Of the students who had to drop down a year into this group of students due to exam failure seven were of ethnic minority. Six were in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

I saw Mr. Page on 23 October 1997. He admitted to me, Dr Varma (snr) and Mrs. Varma that he knew that Dr Peters was openly flouting the rules on anonymous marking.

In Mr. Page's reply of 30 October 1997 he said
"The Medical School adheres to this policy. However the system cannot guarantee complete anonymity as the identifier of an individual student is the student registration number, access to which is available to nearly every department in the University, via the Management and Administrative computer. Internal examiners do not receive the list of names corresponding to student registration number."
Clearly Mr. Page was economical with the truth. He should have said that the medical school is meant to adhere to the system but they flout it.

In theory, he could face a misconduct charge by the GMC. However he won’t. Firstly he is white, secondly he is a consultant but most importantly he is on very good terms with Professor Weetman the Dean of Sheffield University Medical School. Given that Weetman is a GMC member himself nothing will happen. You only have to read Dame Janet Smith’s 5th report to the Shipman inquiry to see that the GMC is an old boys club.

Mr. Page went on to say
"any academic member of staff with a will to identify the name of an individual form their registration number could do so but when faced with having to mark nearly 200 or so scripts to a tight deadline would waste time doing so."
He did not mention the confidentiality flap nor the fact that not every examiner would mark 200 scripts. They don’t mark anywhere near that. Besides if you see my website you will see the ways around anonymous marking that they don’t want people to know of.

The question is what about students on courses where there are not so many students? On top of that what about resits where there are very few students?

"Project work submitted for assessment in the first two years of the course uses student registration number as an identifier." In theory, it has been known that such work is done by name, but the work is handed back to the student once marked. "In the latter stages of the course, assessment includes clinical and oral examinations, which are obviously conducted face to face and cannot be anonymous. Individual examiner biasing the whole assessment is minimal.
These safeguards are threefold:

1) A range of assessment at each level of the course ensures that a number of examiners would be responsible for assessing each candidate, with each component of the examination often having a different set of examiners.

If you believe that you will believe that the moon is made of cream cheese.

2) Clinical and oral examinations are conducted by examining pairs, with each examiner marking independently of the other before arriving at an agreed mark.

That is not true they usually confer.

3) The External Examiner is present to moderate marks and to ensure standards are comparable with other medical schools."

What you mean like external examiners like Professor Ann Mortimer who falsely accused me of being a drug taker on the basis of my exam papers? Or even Professor Mindham who failed one of my projects which was published?

As far as the failure rate of ethnic minority students was concerned he said:

"I am unable to comment on the failure rate of any particular group of students. The school does not routinely monitor failure rates based on race, nationality, ethnic origin or gender but believes the above procedures should ensure that racial bias does not occur."

Mr. Allan was not satisfied and wrote back to Mr. Page on 21/11/97 . He said
"I feel that the introduction of a secure system of student identification for closed book examinations and routine monitoring of failure rates would help the University in responding to allegations of bias."
Catherine Davison a senior member of staff of the Medical School replied on 26/11/97 . In her letter she stated that she had passed on the letter to the University Teaching Committee, There was never a reply. This made the press in one of the local papers on 26/11/97.

On 28/11/97 the then academic and welfare secretary of the Student Union - Miss Nicole Meardon- wrote to Professor Woods, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine about this article. She expressed concern that
"It was alleged in this article that the University's policy on anonymous marking was not being fully implemented by your faculty. I am also aware that discrepancies following the procedure were acknowledged by the faculty during a student review hearing at which a member of the Unions Student Advice Centre was present representing a student."

Ms. Meardon was also concerned by the allegations of racial bias against students from ethnic minorities. She said
"Could you please send me any statistics on failure rates, compared to the intake of ethnic minority students and could you let me know what monitoring is carried out by your faculty? I would also be grateful if you could send me a written assurance that the Medical Faculty is abiding by the University's anonymous marking policy."

Professor Woods replied on 17/12/97 . He said
"I know of ONE instance where an ambiguous statement made by a lecturer led to confusion in the minds of the students sitting an examination. It is wrong to extrapolate from this single episode to a general statement that the Faculty as a whole has not implemented the University policy on anonymous marking. At the Faculty Student Review Committee, to which you refer, the Committee did acknowledge that a discrepancy had occurred on one occasion but this was not done with any intention to identify individuals and it was understood that the marking of the examination was conducted fairly and without bias, in accordance with the Departments usual practice."
If they have been caught once how many times have they done it? Woods lied- he knew that it came out at this hearing that Peters had flouted the anonymous marking system repeatedly.

I am amazed that Woods had the arrogance and audacity to say what he did. At that hearing John McSweeney of Howells solicitors exposed some 20 acts of alleged misconduct on the part of Dr Peters. Indeed the most serious was the fact that the external examiner Professor Ann Mortimer from the University of Hull falsely accused me of being a drug taker on the basis of my exam papers.

According to one of her websites she has taught at all levels doctors and professions allied to medicine for many years. She is the Chief External Examiner to the University of Birmingham and is the Deputy Chief Examiner for the Royal College of Psychiatrists. So you can see how unfair medical assessments are.

Despite the false accusation of being a drug taker the University made me resit the exam. That’s Sheffield university for you. That hearing was a huge cover up, they reinstated me and I believe that it was to protect Dr Peters and stop the events of the hearing of 6 November 1997 coming to the public domain.

Professor Woods did not send Ms.Meardon any failure lists nor a written assurance that the medical faculty was abiding by the anonymous marking policy. As far as monitoring was concerned he said
"I am unable to answer your general allegation about racial bias in examination within the Faculty of Medicine. As you should know, and in accordance with the University Equal opportunities Policy, the Faculty does not record, nor have access to, details of ethnic origin of individual students. We are therefore unable to monitor failure rates based on ethnic origin."

However he obviously took Ms. Meardon’s letter seriously. He sent courtesy copies of his reply to The Registrar of the University, Mr. Page, Professor Sharp (Dean of the medical school) and Hilary Shenton. (The Senior administrative member of staff at the medical school.) It is also interesting to note that the course handbook also makes a statement on equal opportunities.

In the same month the Steel Press - Sheffield university’s student union’s newspaper ran a story on the matter.

All this material was passed onto the Commission for Racial Equality. In their letter of 2 February 1998 to me they stated that
"in the case of Obstetrics and Gynaecology exams and the Paediatrics results the disproportionate impact of the failure rate on ethnic minority students seems to be a real cause for concern."

They commented on the response of the Mr. Page's reply to the MP.

"He states that the medical school does not monitor failure rates but seems to have a belief, (possibly divine) that their procedures are free and fair from racial bias. Given that the University must be aware of the concerns in their exams and their apparent commitment to a programme of action to make their comprehensive equal opportunities policy effective"
It seems strange that they have not decided neither to monitor the situation or take any action as a result.

"It would seem useful for the Commission to raise its concerns about these issues with the University and possibly investigate the medical schools examination system in particular."

The CRE agreed with me that three things were clear:

1) The University was clearly not following its own rules.

2) The University procedures were clearly inadequate.

3) The University was bound by it's own equal opportunities policy to do something about the problem. The CRE said that they had heard the same thing from other students before, which is no such discrimination, has EVER been alleged in the pre-clinical part of the medical course. It is in the clinical part of the course that such acts occur. In July 1998 after much liasing between the CRE and the University, the CRE confirmed that the University agreed to monitor failure rates by ethnic origin as of the 1998/99 academic year in all courses.

However who is doing the monitoring? Dr. Peters, the Department of Paediatrics or Obstetrics and Gynaecology? However the University has made another step to make sure this cannot happen again. The results are now put up in a lockable glass cabinet where nobody can take them down again. They put that lockable cabinet up very quickly after the press started making noises about the lack of compliance with the anonymous marking policy.

I was asked to write an article saying why students should have their papers back once marked for student BMJ . They then asked Weetman to write an opposing article. Weetman demanded to see my article before he wrote his response.

He argued why students should NOT have their papers back once marked. I couldn’t believe his comment where he says that most students won’t want to see their exam papers back. I just wondered how out of touch with reality he was when he made that comment. Then again when I interviewed him on student debt matters he said “It probably hasn’t changed that much since I was a student.” He qualified in 1977 the interview was in December 1998.

Why did he demand to see my article before he wrote his? Well if you want to know why then go to

The Steel Press was going to run a story on my case but were prevented from doing so.

By Dr Sushant Varma

Tuesday, 27 October 2009


It has been disturbing to see yet again an eminent psychiatrist labeling a man of above average intelligence as cognitively impaired (suffering brain damage) when there is political motivation to do so.

Psychiatrists can make extra income through private work and authorities would be only too relieved to have a person that taxes their brains too much decanted to a psychiatric institution in order to discredit him. This symbiotic relationship is something that may not be obvious to a layperson, but is a classic social problem of Human Rights Abuses.

Doctors4Justice members successfully intervened and the man is out of the psychiatric hospital now.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Medical Mobbing

Hospital Doctor presents an interesting piece related to Medical Mobbing. Many in the medical profession have experienced mobbing of this kind.

"In medicine, mobbing has been recognised as ‘sham peer review’. US neurologist Lawrence Huntoon defines it as “an official corrective action done in bad faith, disguised to look like legitimate peer review. Hospitals use it to rid themselves of physicians who advocate too often or too vociferously for quality patient care and patient safety, and economic competitors frequently use it to eliminate unwanted competition”.

Kenneth Westhues, University of Waterloo, said that: “sham peer review is defined by a particular technique of punishing, discrediting, and humiliating the target: the quasi-judicial procedure of peer review, whereby in response to one or more complaints, a hospital committee formally deems the target deficient or incompetent in some way, and decides on a penalty (like retraining, suspension, or dismissal)”.

In his editorial, The Psychology of Sham Peer Review, Huntoon goes onto say: “The psychology of the attackers is a combination of the psychology of bullies and that of the lynch mob. The attacks are typically led by one or a few bullies who have gained positions of power over others and who enjoy exercising and abusing that power to attack and harm the vulnerable. Although there is always some improper motive that precipitates the attack, the attack itself often serves to distract attention from the bully’s own underlying shortcomings, deficiencies, insecurities, and cowardice.”

Here are some related links that may be of use to everyone.

1. In their own Words Academic Mobbing

2. Psychology of Mobbing

3. Bullying in Medical Schools

4. Bullying in Medical Schools

5.Uncovering the face of racism

6. Mobbing in the Workplace

7.Wikipaedia on Mobbing

8. Bullying online on Mobbing

9.Workplace Mobbing Australia

10. Mobbing USA

11. Mob Bullying in the NHS

12. How to Beat NHS Workplace bullying

13. NHS Employers Guidance on Bullying and Harassment

14.Targets Triggering bullying Culture

15. Costs of Bullying to the NHS

16. NHS Bosses "bully 1 in 12"

17.Business Strategy of Equality and Human Rights

18. Mobbing Portal

Sunday, 25 October 2009


Consultant Psychiatrist working part-time asked for voluntary erasure from the General Medical Council register (UK).
He was doing a Section 12(2) Mental Health Act 1983 emergency assessment on a suicidal patient when he received a telephone call on his mobile from the General Medical Council stating that as there was a postal strike it was decided to inform him by telephone that his erasure has been immediate!
He had the presence of mind to complete his assessment and save yet another life despite being informed he was no longer registered.
Fortunately, it was possible to persuade the General Medical Council to allow voluntary erasure to take place at a planned date at the beginning of November 2009 and for loose ends to be tied.
If one can be erased twice like that anything is possible.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Mental Health issues and the Practitioner Health Programme [PHP]

This Department of Health document provides an insight into doctors who suffer from mental health issues. "Previous studies have shown the medical community to exhibit a relatively high level of certain mental health problems, particularly depression, which may lead to drug abuse and suicide. We reviewed prospective studies published over the past 20 years to investigate the prevalence and predictors of mental health problems in doctors during their first postgraduate years."[ See abstract]

Latest research suggested that doctors were in denial about their mental health problems.

"Research by the Royal College of Physicians, published in the journal Clinical Medicine, found that nearly three quarters of respondents said they would rather discuss mental health problems with family or friends, than seek formal or informal advice, citing reasons such as career implications, professional integrity, and perceived stigma of mental health problems.

The survey of over 3,500 doctors in Birmingham is the first of its kind of this scale looking at (non-psychiatric) doctors' preferences for disclosure and treatment in the event of becoming mentally ill.

Almost three quarters (73%) of respondents to the study would be most likely to disclose mental health problems to family or friends, rather than seek formal or informal advice. The most important reasons affecting that decision were issues such as career implications (33%), professional integrity (30%), and stigma (20%). Forty one per cent of respondents would seek informal advice for outpatient treatment, but 8% would either self-medicate or opt for no treatment at all.

The Royal College of Psychiatrist document on Doctors and Mental illness can be downloaded here.

A Doctors4Justice member kindly informed us of the Practitioner Health Programme. The website tells us as follows :-

The Practitioner Health Programme is a free, confidential service for doctors and dentists who have mental or physical health concerns and/or addiction problems and who live or work in the London area.

Any medical or dental practitioner can use the service, where they have

* A mental health or addiction concern (at any level of severity) and/or
* A physical health concern (where that concern may impact on the practitioner’s performance).

The BBC Report can be downloaded here.

Their contact details are as follows Our Help line is 020 3049 4505 or email us at [email protected]

Friday, 23 October 2009

Khan v General Medical Council. GMC Beaten in Court

Members of Doctors4Justice assisted on Khan v General Medical Council. The case involved a surgeon who sadly infuriated David Graham of Liverpool Deanery following a threat to sue under the Race Relations Act. This caused a domino effect where the Deanery referred Mr Khan to the General Medical Council for minor CV errors. Despite the fact there was no case to answer, it was taken to hearing where he was given a draconian three months suspension.

We were in close contact with his wife, advised her of the case law, the relevant manner of arguing their case. To Ms Rifat Malik a ex national TV newsreader, the injustices meted out by the GMC came as a real shock. It was her hard work with all our assistance that finally achieved a victory in court. Dr Sushant Varma's tireless work on this case led this family to achieve a successful outcome. The suspension was lifted and Dr Khan was given a clean record.

On the day of the victory, we received this email.

The landmark victory can be downloaded here.

The chocolate did it!!

We just wanted you to be among the first to know that we have been totally vindicated and amir has been cleared of dishonesty and the impairment and sanctions have been set aside.

The judge said that he would be ordering 'no action' to be taken.

We also want to say that you both have been the ones who gave us hope and support for all these years and without you both we would never have made it so far.
You are tireless and resourceful and we know there are so many drs and their families that you have helped through your work - your compassion, humanity and fight for justice has been inspirational. There is no doubt that our success after 5 years of struggle is almost wholly down to your help - we are indebted to you both forever.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Rifat and Amir

GMC Backed Down on Ethnicity Data Collection

The material below was written by Dr Sushant Varma. He details the evidence on Race Discrimination at the General Medical Council. Dr Varma's work directly led up to the change in the data collection procedures at the General Medical Council. The GMC commenced ethnicity data collection in 2007. Previously, no one could sue the GMC successfully or establish racial discrimination due to the lack of statistics. Discrimination law is dependent on statistics.

This was the main downfall in those who sued the GMC. Dr Sushant Varma noted this and made a formal complaint to the then Commission of Race Equality. Both Dr Pal and Dr Varma formally requested an investigation into the GMC citing that the GMC was in breach of the Race Relations Act. We pointed out that for 100 years plus, the GMC purposely failed to collect ethnicity data so that there was no finding of racial discrimination against them. An absence of statistics meant it was impossible to make a evidential finding of race discrimination.

In 2007, the response from the CRE was as follows

"As stated in my previous e'mail , the Enforcement and Public Duty team is currently in communication with the GMC , regarding allegations of a disproportionate representation of overseas doctors on their Fitness to Practice Panel investigations . This is a specific issue that we have become increasingly aware of and are therefore making enquiries on it in order that we can establish the best cause of action. We are also considering a similar approach with regards to the treatment of BME doctors"

As a direct result of this complaint supported by a number of members of Doctors4Justice, the CRE recommendations to the GMC effectively forced them to collect ethnicity data. Congratulations to Dr Varma who made history by this excellent research and work.

Dr Varma and Dr Pal's arguments to the CRE were cut and pasted for the GMC's document on ethnicity data here. The document trail between the GMC, CRE and ourselves detail the processes that led up to this landmark change. The GMC have marketed this issue as if it was miraculously their idea. The fact is that they refused to collect data until they were forced into a corner by the CRE.

GMC and Racial Discrimination - by Dr Sushant Varma -2006/2007

The evidence suggests that the GMC are tougher on foreign doctors if you read this article GMC tougher on foreign doctors (1) written in 2003 you will see evidence of this.

Concern was raised on this issue in Dame Janet Smith�s 5th report to the Shipman inquiry (2). Here the high court judge commented on the work of the policy studies institute in 1996, 2000 and 2003 finding the same

In February 2005 (3) Dr Surendra Kumar wrote an article in BIDA news (British International Doctors Association) expressing concern about the disproportionate number of overseas doctors facing hearings at the GMC. In response the president of the GMC said this is due to the fact that overseas doctors are more likely to be referred to the GMC. Whilst that may be partly true I have no doubt that there is discrimination.

Indeed if you go to you will see a recent story entitled BAPIO raises the issue of disproportionate disciplinary actions against ethnic minority doctors with the GMC. President Professor Sir Graeme Catto assures action. It seems that three years on nothing has changed.

Although the president- Professor Sir Graeme Catto has partially explained the problem by saying that a disproportionate number of overseas doctors are referred to the GMC (4) I have no doubt that there is discrimination.

For example Dr Peter Wilmshurst wrote a beautiful article (5) showing all sorts of issues. He has found gross inconsistencies as have I. For each time a foreign doctor gets disciplined by the GMC I can give you details of how a white doctor does worse and gets away with it.

For example if you look at (6) you will see an article showing how a final year medical student was caught cheating in her medical finals. I now have official confirmation that she faced no penalty.

If you look at my website you will see that I was cheated of my medical degree due to wilful manipulation of evidence and procedures to ensure I failed exams. It reached such an extent that I was forced to have to take my exams externally. However after qualifying in medicine externally my medical school dean wrote to the GMC president alleging fraud. The president said that there were no grounds to take any action. 5 years in September 2006 on the GMC erased me from the medical register for precisely that. The GMC did nothing about those responsible for manipulating my exam results. (7).However on 21 December 2006 the GMC wrote to me after I made representations to the Information Commissioner saying that they had found memos showing that in August 2001 they knew that they could not take action against me on this matter.

In my case several facts are clear.

In 1998 a lecturer was caught manipulating evidence and procedures to ensure a non white student failed exams- an exam decision was overturned from fail to pass. The GMC did nothing. (7)

In 2000 a student at University College London was caught cheating in her finals- the GMC did nothing (6)

In 2001 a professor of medicine is caught manipulating evidence and procedures to ensure a non white student failed exams (

Instead of taking action against the professor and lecturer the GMC takes action against the student.

I would again ask that all FTC members sign my online petition.

(1) GMC tougher on foreign doctors 14 February 2003

(2) Chapter 17 The Shipman Inquiry

(3) President�s Report BIDA news February 2005

(4) President looks back on a year of changes (page 4) GMC news June 2004

(5) The General Medical Council a personal view Cardiology news October/November 2006

(6) Cheating at medical school British Medical Journal 12 August 2000

(7) Sushant Varma vs. Dr Steve Peters GMC reference FPD/1998/1234

Update on petitions

Since the preceding article was written the 10 Downing Street website has made itself available for petitions. Members of Freedom to Care are recommended additionally to sign the following petitions.

'We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Abolish the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom.'

'We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Investigate Allegations of Institutional Racism at the General Medical Council.'

Dr Adrian Treloar. Non Declaration of Religious Affiliations

Dr Adrian Treloar is a Consultant Psychiatrist with a distinctly pro-life view on matters related to the Liverpool Care Pathway and other end of life issues. While his opinions are admirable, we were concerned about his constant non declaration of his religious affiliations during his written work to the British Medical Journal etc.

He is a council member of the Guild of Catholic Doctors. Declarations should be made in light of the GMC's guidance on Personal Beliefs. The public have a right to know whether a doctor's views have been influenced by the Catholic Church in order to place these views in perspective. Medicine should be secular but sadly various religions do influence the treatment of patients. This may be acceptable or not acceptable to the patient. The public though deserve a choice. It is the duty of all doctors to provide a scientific evidence based opinion. If this view has added influences, it should be declared. One such influence is the Spirituality Group at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Spirituality is not a branch of Psychiatry and is therefore in breach of the Royal College's own rules on the matter. No other Royal College appears to have such a group influencing medicine. It is also in direct conflict with the GMC's Guidance on Personal Beliefs.

Correspondence between us and the BMJ.
"I wanted to raise a important issue with you. Until recently, I did not realise that Dr Adrian Treloar was a council member of the Guild of Catholic Doctors. I note that a number of his posts do not carry a conflict of interest declaration - in some posts he writes "None Declared" eg here . He is a avid contributor to the BMJ and quite rightly so but it is immensely misleading to the general public not to declare his personal interests. Medicine should be largely secular and the public have a right to believe that opinions are based on science and not a pro life twist influenced by the Catholic Church. You are no doubt aware of the GMC's guidance on Personal Beliefs"

I hope you will therefore add the Conflict Declaration to all his posts. I have copied this to Dr Treloar.


Member of Doctors 4 Justice

Response from Fiona Godlee Editor of the BMJ

We have recently (this month) moved to requesting that authors include their non-financial conflicts of interest, as part of the ICMJE uniform requirements. Up until now we have required only financial conflicts. Any future postings from Dr Treloar will need to include relevant non-financial conflicts of interest.

If you would like to post a rapid response to Dr Treloar along the lines of your email, to which Dr Treloar could reply, that would be helpful.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

RCPsych should not publish the London Approval Panel: Section 12(2) Mental Health Act 1983 Approval Criteria and Procedures

Photo: Professor Dinesh Bhugra President of The Royal College of Psychiatrists

I have written to the President about Concerns regarding LONDON APPROVAL PANEL: SECTION 12 MENTALHEALTH ACT 1983 APPROVAL CRITERIA & PROCEDURES

I noted the Royal College of Psychiatrists has commitment to racial equality.

The College was named in the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 as a public authority with a"General duty". The "General duty" requires specific organisations to "eliminate unlawful racial
discrimination, promote equality of opportunity, and promote good relations between persons of
different racial groups".

LONDON APPROVAL PANEL: SECTION 12 MENTAL HEALTH ACT 1983 APPROVAL CRITERIA & PROCEDURES are discriminatory. There has been a failure to monitor the ethnicity of the applicants for approval under Section 12(2) of the Mental Health Act 1983. This is contrary to the stipulations of the Race Relations Act 1976.

7. F1 ...contract workers.
— (1) This section applies to any work for a person ( “the principal") which is available for doing
by individuals ( “contract workers") who are employed not by the principal himself but by another person, who supplies them under a contract made with the principal.
(2) It is unlawful for the principal, in relation to work to which this section applies, to discriminate against a contract worker—
(a) in the terms on which he allows him to do that work; or
(b) by not allowing him to do it or continue to do it; or
(c) in the way he affords him access to any benefits, facilities or services or by refusing or deliberately omitting to afford him access to them; or
(d) by subjecting him to any other detriment.

The vast majority of locum doctors appear to be from ethnic group.

The current LONDON APPROVAL PANEL: SECTION 12 MENTAL HEALTH ACT 1983 APPROVAL CRITERIA & PROCEDURES are discriminatory against locum doctors and other groups too. It can be postulated that the vast majority of female doctors work part time due to
family commitments. As such the criteria would be discriminatory to both groups-locum doctors as well as female doctors.

Further issues are as follows:

London region approval panel Section 12 (2) 1983 published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists
states this:


1. Applicants must have a minimum of three years' post-registration experience, with full GMC
registration. Doctors with GMC restrictions on their practice are unlikely to be approved.

a) You would know of course, that there is racial/ethnic discrimination in medicine and that there is increased rate of referral of doctors who are of differnt racial and ethnic origin (British and non- British) to GMC (BMJ 2009)

5. Additional requirements apply for doctors not in permanent NHS employment (e.g. post- retirement or locums). These include: evidence of CPD registration & participation in continuing
education; contemporary reference from an NHS consultant; statement on reasons for seeking
approval. Approval may be time-limited to the duration of a locum post or for one or two years.

a) You will know that it is not necessary to provide reasons why a doctor wishes to be approved under Section 12(2). The same is not asked of doctors in substantive posts.
b) Contemporary reference From an NHS consultant is an example of restriction on professional practice and contrary to European Treaty.
c) Limiting approval for the duration of locum post is also discriminatory as the same is not applied to doctors
in substantive posts. This is again against Eurpean Treaty which allows professionals to work as self-employed.

8. All applicants will be expected to provide evidence of an Enhanced CRB check(a normal request on NHS employment). A confirmation from an NHS or other employer that one has been issued may be sufficient. Individuals will be expected to fund their CRB check if their employer is unwilling.

a) CRB applications can only be made by an employment business and does not apply to self-employed people. There is no provision made by the Approval Panel to apply for CRB. This is also discriminatory.


2 In accordance with amendments to Section 17 of the NHS Act 1977 applicants must declare criminal convictions or GMC Fitness to Practise proceedings including Interim Orders and restrictions. This is the Section 17 from NHS 1977 Act:[ F117 Secretary of State’s directions: exercise of functions

(1)The Secretary of State may give directions to any of the bodies mentioned in subsection (2)
below about their exercise of any functions.
(2)The bodies are—
[F2(za)Strategic Health Authorities;]]
(a)Health Authorities;
(b)Special Health Authorities;
(c)Primary Care Trusts;
(d)NHS trusts.

[F3(3)Nothing in any provision made by or under this or any other Act shall be read as affecting the generality of subsection (1) above.]


1 Approval by this process gives authority to act as an approved doctor throughout England and
Wales. However, an approved doctor must ‘Recognize and work within the limits of your competence’ [GMC Good Medical Practice 2006]. Doctors moving area are advised to notify their employer and make sure their names are transferred to the relevant Register of Approved Doctors.

a) Locum doctors move all the time and it is not necessary or even possible to inform the employer if there is not one.
b) It is not necessary to always transfer to the local Register of Approved Doctors. There is no National Register because of the lack of organisation.

3 Doctors must inform the Register Administrator if they become subject to GMC Fitness to Practise proceedings. Suspension of Registration automatically cancels S12 (2) Approval.

a) Suspension of registration is a temporary measure which does not demand erasure from Section 12(2).Again this cannot be justified in law.

4 Approval may be withdrawn on the recommendation of a special hearing, comprising three members of the Approval Panel (chaired by the vice-chairman), with the doctor able to respond to the relevant evidence. An independent appeal mechanism exists.

a) This does not say what the Appeal mechanism is or what representations could be made and
under what conditions or where or within what time limit. This appears to be contrary to Article 6 of Human Rights Act 1998. There is no definition what a special hearing is or what rules govern it, or what charges can be considered.

6 Renewal Reminders - Doctors will be reminded of impending expiry of approval with approximately three months notice. Retrospective approval cannot be given which means there is a risk of completing invalid recommendations if approval lapses. Informing this office of change of address reduce the risk.

a) Unfortunately, this is an empty promise as reminders do not happen in my experience.

b) The reminder should happen at least 13 months in advance to allow for a refresher course

c) It fails to state that there is a discretion in law for additional six months approval for necessary arrangements to be made. In other words the approval can be extended for doctor to complete Refresher course. It is unlikely, that many doctors would know that. The observations that I made make me think that the Royal College of Psychiatrists does not have to continue publication of a document so flawed.

Dr Helen Bright


This is a General Medical Council Hearing Room. It is clean, cool, modern with efficient secretaries. This is also a place where doctors can exercise powers of life and death usually over people not present (patients, relatives, tax payers) and the accused doctor.

Extraordinary cruelty can occur in a very civilized manner: witness statements are not accepted in evidence, unnecessary psychiatric examinations are ordered for political opponents, religious prejudice reigns over reason and much more. Lengthy psychiatric reports are written on doctor never examined by psychiatrist. Professional standards! What is that? Diagnostic Criteria? Never heard of those.

General Medical Council revolving doors, not to be tampered with

The First Victory Doctors4Justice

Doctors4Justice has won their first victory for a locum Consultant Psychiatrist who has not been paid for years. A well known locum agency refused to pay the doctor because time sheets were not approved by the hospital manager who re-wrote time sheets to reflect less than half of hours actually worked. Unknown to locum, the hospital closed and the agency claimed they could not recover their own money. Doctors4Justice members helped by finding the relevant law Statutory Instrument 2003 no 3319 section 12 prohibition of withholding the payment by the agency (on the grounds that time sheets were not verified by the hirer). It was noted that although the agency claimed that the hospital was a limited company and it was dissolved this could not be found on Companies House register. As a creditor the agency should have been asked by the limited company (if there was one) for the permission to dissolve.

Research also showed that there were other complaints by the locums about this agency and the agency was asked to provide a media statement which they did not do, but the case was settled within 10 days of Claim Online being issued with court fees paid too.

Read here about the law governing the conduct of Employment Agencies:

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Current Aims and Objectives

  1. To support doctors and members of the public faces with problems relating to the UK's health service.
  2. Offer practical advice and information for complaints, employment issues, regulatory body matters etc.
  3. Offer information related to options for legal advice.
  4. Make brief representations on behalf of individuals.
  5. To make representations to the European Commissioner of Human Rights on issues related to the health service.We have been working on representing case histories related to the inconsistent decision making practices of the General Medical Council.
  6. To alleviate isolation for doctors and the public by creating a strong internet group where information can be shared and where individuals can be assisted immediately. Information sharing is vital to assist each other.
  7. To develop self help articles within our website offering free information for all.
  8. To monitor issues of inequality in the NHS and make representations on these issues to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. A member of the group managed to effect a change in GMC policy by ensuring ethnicity data is recorded to ensure future doctors have statistics to rely on when alleging discrimination against the General Medical Council.
  9. To ensure that medicine in the NHS is secular.
  10. We aim to be in a position to make representations to GMC Consultations and others within the National Health Service.
  11. We aim to listen to our members, to develop ideas and to present issues that are vital to grass root doctors.
  12. We aim to consider the creation of a new trade union at some point in the future. It has been long held that the British Medical Association does not serve the requirements of grassroots doctors.