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 31
Day 31 is brought to you by – Have the GMC actually been to a tribunal before?
(Monday) [week 9] of the public hearing.
Anticipated start at 11:00am.
Oi, ‘scuse me, what happened to day 30?
Ah, yes, Day 30, the day of judgement.
It happened but didn’t happen.
The panel were due to convene to deliver the much-anticipated results of the charges sheet at 3 pm.
At 2 pm, the Bell v Tavi CoA decision was released.
The panel then announced a delay until at least 4 pm.
In the end, the panel decided enough was enough and stated the session would reconvene today (Monday)
What’s on today?
Today is, yet again, supposed to be the beginning of the defence case.
The BIG announcement……
After a delayed start, the panel prepared for the big announcement.
…..But not before..
The Chair asked SJ (red team QC), “we would value further submissions in relation to the allegation and evidence of that alleged duty. This relates to the information on the GGP website and the duty to provide it (or not).
The GMC claiming that information comes with vast legal duties.
It had been previously stated by IS (the blue team QC) that any duty had been complied with and, moreover, there wasn’t a requirement for some of the information given but was provided for good practice.
SJ, decides that means he can add MORE evidence. They got told off for this last week.
IS was not happy and stated as clearly and abruptly as he could, without being rude, that the GMC had “closed their case”, had had FOUR YEARS to collate this information and hadn’t produced it in evidence. (A head in hands emoji would be good at this point)
This is a very stern and direct objection, and IS is getting tired of this flaunting of the rules.
The panel, the decide, that enough is enough as well, and that no submissions regarding that issue should be made.
The panel are now in a position to respond to the list of charges and what happens to them.
There are a total of 29 charges, some of which have ‘sub charges’ to make things more complicated. Some of those have sub charges of their own!
The list is essentially broken in to three categories.
Red, Amber, and Green.
Red charges Those that remain (and may have been accepted already).
Amber Those that remain, but “there is a case to answer” and form part of the defence
Green Those for which “there is no case to answer” and the GMC CANNOT examine these. As such Dr HW has ‘won’ those charges without a need for defence.
Red 1 6
Amber 7, 8a, 2 & 3, 18, 19,20, 22a and 24
Green 8a, 8b, 15, 16, 17, 21b, 22b and 23 plus 25, 26, & 27.
These are as follows:
Red 1- 6 relate to patients A, B & C. These remain.
Amber 7 Dr Matt Limited
Green 8a & 8b relate to DR Matt Limited (charge 9 in that section remains)
Red 10-14 relate to fitness to practice certificate
Green 15-17 relate to the ‘work details form’
Amber 18-20 relate to ‘suspension from medical practitioner ,list’
Amber 21a relates to Health Board review
Green 21b Failure to notify review board
Amber 22a Failure to declare beginning of an investigation by GMC panel to review board
Green 22b Failure to declare ongoing investigation
Green 23 Dishonest conduct towards review board
Amber 24 Gender GP
Green 25-27 Gender GP
Red 28-29 Conviction regarding unlawful practice. (already accepted – but will be reasoned)
The principal charges remain, That is a not a surprise. It was unlikely those would be thrown out. IS and Dr HW will have a robust case for these. Also, as has happened, some are already very shaky, as GMC witnesses have stated that Dr HW acted acceptably. However, those will be determined by the panel and on the basis of the GMC and defence cases.
Of the secondary and more superfluous charges, many have been thrown out. Arguably, not a real surprise. The GMC had been shown up on these and there was really no case to answer, had the actually looked properly and/or actually put up any evidence.
With that out of the way, lets focus, and get Dr HW to the stand.
OK, let’s begin…or not.
Well, no, actually..
SJ stands and tries to make a long and detailed case as to why the GMC should be allowed MORE evidence.
Why, because they’ve had lots and lots and lots of documents to read through and weren’t sure which ones they needed. So, they have just added lots more, you know, to be sure.
SJ is making all kinds of excuses, and to why essentially blaming Dr HW but actually acknowledging that the documents HAVE been in the GMC possession “for some time”.
SJ says the GMC didn’t use the experts to bring this evidence and didn’t need to.
This is appalling.
After FOUR years of preparation and EIGHT weeks of evidence, having closed the case, SJ wants to re-open it YET again.
IS, as you can imagine is beyond livid. He does, some what ruefully point out to the panel, that many of the ‘new’ evidence is ALREADY in the bundles and isn’t new at all.
Some, documents are now unredacted, and some are different versions.
He is concerned that, evidence introduced now, could have affected the decisions and conclusions of the GMC witnesses, which cannot now be tested. He is also concerned that established protocols on the introduction of new evidence in a closed case are being ignored.
As I said last week, there are valid reasons for ‘new’ evidence. There are less valid reasons for forgotten or old evidence re hashed.
Most of this this evidence isn’t really new.
Don’t forget, we are here, because the GMC alleges Dr HW broke the rules, didn’t follow guidelines and protocols.
BUT the GMC are doing EXACTLY the same with the hearing process and established legal protocols in how they are handling this case. This is utterly appalling (again).
Another panel meeting
The panel decided, after a short deliberation, to ALLOW this charade of evidence.
Some they had to, as it’s already in the bundles, but the rest, Why?
As it was close to 5 pm by this time, it’s back on Tuesday to, maybe, hear the Blue Team case proper.
Unless SJ wants yet another go at introducing more evidence, it’s Dr HW to begin her defence. That will probably last until the end of the week.
IS has stated, once Dr HW takes the stand, she will be “incommunicado” with IS and his junior and will be ‘on her own’ and her defence case for a guide.
To be continued…../