GMC to review paediatrician guidelines05 May 2010
The General Medical Council (GMC) has said it will review the guidance it gives to paediatricians working in child protection after paediatrician Dr David Southall – struck off three years ago after accusing a mother of drugging and murdering her 10-year-old son – won his appeal and is now able to practise again.
Southall went to the Appeal Court to force the GMC – which had said he had an attitude problem – to put him back on the register and the court decided that the council's case was too weak for him to remain struck off. Southall accused the GMC panel of not having a proper grasp of child protection work and had not investigated adequately inconsistencies in the mother's statements.
Lord Justice Leveson said: "I am far from convinced that the public interest is truly served by a rehearing of the limited factual allegation that was made in this case, turning on the precise language used 12 years ago. If there is to be a re-hearing, I do not accept that it would be right for it to be conducted before the same panel; fresh minds should be brought to the issue in this case."
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: "Although the case has been remitted back to the original panel, it is clear that the court has overruled the panel's finding in relation to Mrs M [the mother]. We accept that and will take immediate steps to resolve the outstanding issues raised in the judgement."
Conceding that the GMC needed to look again at guidelines for paediatricians working in child protection, Dickson added: "This is a complex judgement and we will need to study the details before making any further comments."