Healthcare Professionals in UK Law
Council for the Regulation of Health Care Professionals v General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, Truscott and Ruscillo
The role of the Court when a case is referred is to consider whether the disciplinary tribunal has properly performed that task so as to reach a correct decision as to the imposition of a penalty. The test of undue leniency in this context must, we think, involve considering whether, having regard to the material facts, the decision reached has due regard for the safety of the public and the reputation of the profession.
These range from a reprimand to sanctions that prevent the practitioner from continuing to practise. In any particular case under section 29 the issue is likely to be whether the disciplinary tribunal has reached a decision as to penalty that is manifestly inappropriate having regard to the practitioner's conduct and the interests of the public.
Where all material evidence has been placed before the disciplinary tribunal and it has given due consideration to the relevant factors, the Council and the Court should place weight on the expertise brought to bear in evaluating how best the needs of the public and the profession should be protected.
Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board
One development which is particularly significant in the present context is that patients are now widely regarded as persons holding rights, rather than as the passive recipients of the care of the medical profession. They are also widely treated as consumers exercising choices: a viewpoint which has underpinned some of the developments in the provision of healthcare services.
An adult person of sound mind is entitled to decide which, if any, of the available forms of treatment to undergo, and her consent must be obtained before treatment interfering with her bodily integrity is undertaken. The doctor is therefore under a duty to take reasonable care to ensure that the patient is aware of any material risks involved in any recommended treatment, and of any reasonable alternative or variant treatments.
Wilsher v Essex Area Health Authority
The position, to my mind, is wholly different from that in McGhee where there was only one candidate (brick dust) which could have caused the dermatitis and the failure to take a precaution against brick dust causing dermatitis was followed by dermatitis caused by brick dust. To the extent that certain members of the House of Lords decided the question on inferences from evidence or presumptions, I do not consider that the present case falls within their reasoning.
Preiss v General Dental Council
It is settled that serious professional misconduct does not require moral turpitude. Something more is required than a degree of negligence enough to give rise to civil liability but not calling for the opprobrium that inevitably attaches to the disciplinary offence. The core and most serious shortcoming was summarised by the PCC as failure to ensure that the state of the patient's oral health was appropriate in view of the ambitious treatment plan.
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