Dr. John Roylance (Petitioner) v The General Medical Council
|19 January 1999
|Judgment citation (vLex)
| UKPC J0119-2
|Appeal No. 49 of 1998
|19 January 1999
 UKPC J0119-2
Present at the hearing:-
Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough
Sir Christopher Slade
[Delivered by Lord Steyn]
In October 1997 an Inquiry by the Professional Conduct Committee of the General Medical Council started, amongst others, against the present appellant. Broadly speaking the case against the appellant was that he failed in his duty as Chief Executive of the United Bristol Hospitals Healthcare N.H.S. Trust to respond to concerns about standards of paediatric cardiac surgery performed at the Bristol Royal Infirmary by two surgeons, who were also respondents at the Inquiry. In the course of the Inquiry counsel for the appellant invited the Chairman of the Committee to stand down on grounds of real or apparent bias, or for the committee to stand down on the same ground. It was argued that the danger of bias arose in part because of the Chairman's involvement in paediatric cardiac treatment then being given to his grandson and because of the manner of his questioning of certain witnesses. On 11th December 1997 the Committee deliberated in camera and dismissed the application.
The Committee then considered a no case submission in camera and dismissed it. Subsequently, the Committee considered the remaining issues in camera in various sessions. On the 18th June 1998 the Committee directed that the appellant's name be erased from the register.
On Wednesday, 10th February this year the present appellant's appeal against the decision of the Professional Conduct Committee is due to be heard. The merits of the appeal are not before the Board. A ground of appeal is that the Chairman of the Professional Conduct Committee should have discharged himself from the Inquiry on the grounds of bias or apparent bias.
The appellant now seeks an interlocutory order directing the untranscribed shorthand notes covering in camera deliberations of the committee to be disclosed. Their Lordships are satisfied that such an order would be inappropriate. It is acknowledged to be an unprecedented attempt to probe into in camera discussions. Counsel submits that the exceptional circumstances of the case warrant such an order. Their Lordships are wholly unpersuaded that this case can be so categorised. If...
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