I have been asked to provide a comment on the current ongoing case of the GMC v Dr H Webberley. The Tribunal hearing is being held at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS).
Firstly, this blog is an opinion on matters as they proceed, and I have no part in the case. I am merely viewing aspects from the outside, like many others. I am preparing this in a non-professional capacity, but I do have some experience at giving expert evidence at tribunal over many years.
I am getting updates from ‘live Tweets’ from the hearing provided from the Tribunal service and will see if I can get a press update as well. I am also thankful to @truesolicitor and others for their updates on this case. We are aware of other live feeds but are also aware that these are not as accurate and the reporting is, let’s say, skewed. ‘live tweets’ are taken from them being in the room and hearing and seeing proceedings. Apart from being there, it’s the best we can get.
I am trying to remain faithful to the feeds and comments made, but to report the facts and give a background to the proceedings and how the trial system works.
In this case, and current tribunal hearing, Dr Webberley (Dr W) is accused of practising medicine outside the rules and regulations of the General Medical Council (GMC) during the period March -November 2016, A failure to hold a proper safeguarding policy, and (2018) a failure to be registered as a practice in Wales. But there is more to it than that.
This update is from day 28
Day 28 is brought to you by Kaftkaesque
(Monday) [week 8] of the public hearing.
Intended start at 09:30am.
What’s on today?
Today is the beginning of the defence case.
Arguments will be set out and Dr HW may well take the stand tomorrow.
Let’s begin…or not.
Apparently, due to the traffic in Manchester, where the hearing is being held, although some are on video screens, delays meant a late start.
When we did get started the live feed to the public gallery was delayed a little (it gets worse).
Skeletons on the table.
The case for the defence is set out in a “skeleton Argument”. This sets out the basis the defence will argue its case against the charges raised.
To start with, it seems the panel hadn’t received this document. yet another delay while it was retrieved, and the panel could see it.
So, two hours late, IS can start the run through the points. Due to the delayed feed, some are missing. So, I will try and sum up some of the aspects we heard. This will give the flavour of what is to come.
Of ALL the charges that for this case THEY ARE WRITTEN BY THE GMC. As this is not law, it is a set of charges based on rules and guidance. They are in essence matters of wrongdoing, but WHOLLY based on what the GMC decided was wrong at the time or since (given it took them so long to put this case together.
The GMC have to justify each charge and then prove it has been satisfied.
The Blue team (Dr HW ) will set out to show that each of those is negative as best they can. That can be by showing,
So far, the Red team (GMC) haven’t really set out the charges, let alone really proved many through the witness taking the stand. We have seen many witnesses contradict each other and many also AGREE that Dr HW was right in what she did and/or there was more evidence than the GMC claimed.
IS tried to set out a series of points where, he says, the charges made, don’t hold water, and should be dismissed. These, in broad terms are as follows:
1) Where there were insufficient records, this is partially due to the GMC failing to collect the data needed to prove the case. That the late collection meant that some records had been destroyed. As such, IS says, you cannot prove something did/did not happen if you can’t show the evidence that it did/didn’t.
2) That many of the GMC witnesses were missing vital information in those notes, and thus their conclusions are suspect.
3) The GMC tried to blame Dr HW for their own failings to investigate and collate data on THERE OWN CHARGES in sufficient time.
4) There are a lack of emails and other documents, that from these that do exist (or shown to the GMC by IS, suggest much of the information the GMC say was not asked for by Dr HW WAS being asked for. Again, without the documents, the case is NOT proven, it is merely conjecture.
5) That the GMC didn’t start the “investigation or put together this case until early 2021. That’s FOUR years after Dr HW was suspended pending the investigation. Just Awful. That alone should be sufficient for the GMC to get a red card.
6) That where there is the benefit of doubt, that should be in favour of Dr HW NOT the GMC. The GMC’s case is based on the opposite, and, as such aspects cannot be proven. Assumption is not proof.
7) That, in respect of Patient E, there is NO evidence the charge has been proven. Dr H was asked about this patient and the GMC have not put full evidence as he had not seen all the emails relating to this matter, that IS showed him at the time. 
8) That the GMCs own failing regarding the form for Frosts Pharmacy, excludes that charge. The GMC pre-filled the form (incorrectly) which Dr HW corrected – The GMC say this was then wrong.
9) That in some aspects of the charges relating to Frosts Pharmacy, IS says the case is “factually wrong.” If so, it can’t be proven.
10) That the GMC have used the wrong basis of the rules for suspension of Dr HW (Ironic when the GMC case is about misinterpretation of the rules)
11) That to notify of an investigation when the notification was sent out by the same people you have to notify, is just nit-picking nonsense. If the rules said she should, and perhaps she didn’t, then it’s a failing, but not a patient safety issue that befits removal. It’s just daft bureaucracy. If Dr HW DID notify, as she says she did, then there is no case.
12) That there are no rules that require a notification of a specialism on a website. Therefore, the GMC can’t simply make up a charge that doesn’t exist.
13) Worse. That the GMC can’t MAKE UP a charge for s safeguarding policy to be placed on a website, when no such requirement exists. Worse still. That DR HW’s website DID have a policy anyway. That’s just poor investigation, clutching at straws type claims. It certainly DOESN’T show a robustness of the case.
14) The Kaftkaesque question. IS says that To suggest DR HW tried to avoid the regulatory framework in the UK is “Kaftkaesque”, that is so bizarre, nightmarish, and weird, that it just can’t be true. Especially given she is in a hearing on charges put together by the regulator that she is member of but trying to avoid. DAFT
At that point, a break was called, but there was a LONG delay of the live feed. By the time that resumed, SJ was at the stand, so we don’t know what we mossed at the end of IS #’s statement or the beginning of SJ’s.
Was at the stand, attempting to rebut the claims just made by IS. He is referencing matters from his experts and witness to do this.
A summary of his points is this
1) That the fact some records exist is enough to prove the GMC case. (Frankly how, when it has been shown there are more and better, and/or those that were lost can’t be used, so can’t prove and unproven. Conjecture and probably aren’t legal basis of decision.)
2) That of the records there were available, there is sufficient evidence to prove the case. (the problem is that its incomplete and it’s not certain that it proves the case. In many cases, we have seen that it most certainly wasn’t.)
3) That DR HW failed to respond to a patient “in pain” in due time.
4) That Dr HW didn’t notify the Health Board she was being investigated, even though she received a letter FROM the GMC saying she was being investigated.
SJ asked for a break.
Chair gave a 15-minute break at 15:40pm (back at 15:55).
YET AGAIN the live feed was delayed.
The live stream came back at 17:12 (1 hour 17minutes late) to hear that case adjourned until tomorrow.
No idea. It’s a shambles. Significant aspects have been missed. Whilst that will have no bearing on the hearing, it does affect what can be drawn from what was said.
We may get a summary tomorrow and this aspect of the delay needs to be investigated.
Back tomorrow and the beginning of the Blue Team case proper.
It’s is likely Dr HW will take the stand. That could be for the remainder of the week.
Back tomorrow (Tuesday) at 09:30 (day 29).
To be continued…../