FTP Lightning Strikes Twice

FTP Lightning Strikes Twice

GDPUK has recently reported upon a questionable Fitness to Practice (FTP) case where the GDC appeared determined to press on, seeking the very serious dishonesty finding over a single remark - see this story which is expanded on here - . It turns out that this is not the first controversial FTP investigation that this registrant has been subjected to.

In the recent case, it transpired that the principal witness was of poor quality and reading the hearing details raises the possibility that they may have been prompted both by work colleagues to make the complaint, and then by the GDC in its efforts to make their case stronger. In the event the case ended with the determination: “Facts found proved did not amount to misconduct. Case Concluded.” This came after over four years of investigation and untold stress for the registrant, as well as considerable expense for his indemnifiers in the defence, and registrants, who funded the case against him through their annual retention fees.

It is still not as bad an outcome as the registrant’s previous encounter with the GDC, when they were suspended for six months. This too was a controversial case that resulted in an exceptional episode in the House of Commons.

Father of the House and MP for Worthing West Sir Peter Bottomley used parliamentary privilege to accuse the GDC of wrongly targeting the dentist when they worked in his constituency. At the time the MP urged the Commons health select committee to investigate regulation. In the previous parliament that committee had criticised the GDCs’ performance.

Sir Peter referred to “a good dentist in my constituency, who was reported to the dental regulators on trumped-up charges and has not been able to practice for over six months."

At the time there were suspicions that the complaints that led to the case were raised as a means of score settling.

Following Sir Peter’s intervention a Freedom of Information request was sent to the GDC asking why the charge sheet for this case was not available on their website. The request explained that there was a great deal of controversy around the case as well as much discussion on social media, and that, “the GDC might appreciate how unhelpful it looks for the details of the case to be invisible.”

The GDC’s eventual response was brief: “the GDC neither confirms nor denies whether it holds this information, as to do so would contravene the data protection.”

To judge how much progress has been made nearly a decade later, registrants need only read the recent letter from a Coroner to the GDC and the GDC’s eventual public statement.

Transparency, trust and improving the fitness to practise process (gdc-uk.org)


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