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.
Day 33 is brought to you by Haven’t I had that question before?
(Wednesday) [week 9] of the public hearing.
Anticipated start at 09:30am.
Another Big Day?
Today is another very big day. Big for the same two people really. Only this time we have an idea of what is likely to happen.
Firstly (in the blue corner) Dr HW, who Finally, gets to take the stand and tell us all what why and how she did what she did. Yesterday, she nailed the questions and, quite frankly, made SJ look a bit silly on a number of occasions.
Secondly, (in the Red corner) SJ, who has the task of cross-examining Dr HW on her witness statement and the evidence given by the GMC witnesses thus far. Yesterday, he had a very tough day. I suspect one of the toughest ever.
What they have to do today
SJ will have his work cut out AGAIN.
Ordinarily, a prosecution QC at this stage, would expect ‘the rub of the green’. They would expect to be making the defendant look nervous in defending the charges who is then dodging and weaving to avoid and try and make the best of the QCs questions.
The QC would be in their element, causing difficulty and discomfort.
But in this case, entirely the opposite. That’s NOT how its supposed to work.
I suppose, given that the GMC prosecution case was the opposite of what should have been expected, and that IS was able to run rings around the “expert” witnesses, we ought not to be surprised.
I know, from acting as an expert, that confidence is key. Actual facts and detailed responses win the day. A QC cannot dispute those, despite trying.
It was a long time ago in this series, and I may have said this before. I once had a QC try to get me to agree a straight line between two known points was, in actual fact, a curved line. Why, because his client had made it so but wrongly.
The point was a fact is a fact. The straight line of long standing isn’t a curve of a neigbours trespass desire.
Dr HW gave a robust and positive response to the questions asked. Not only that, but she was also able to correct SJs inaccuracies, pull him up of nonsense and show that, where a QC is supposed to know the answer before the question is asked, he clearly didn’t. That is bad for him.
Above all that, with the real or spurious sound issues, Dr HW was able to school SJ in hoe matters should be dealt with and how protocols should work. That is even worse for him.
The overall point of this is, that SJ, far from holing Dr HW below the waterline or delivering blows to be fall his victim, he achieved nothing. All his points and attempted stabbings just deflected and were fired back at him.
This is testament both to the underlying weakness of the GMCs case and the expertise and knowledge of Dr HW.
That sets us up nicely for today and SJ will already know he will have a long day ahead of him.
So, ready to go then (round 2).
The day starts as it left off with SJ trying to get more time to ask mainly pointless questions. That was deferred until later.
As I said at the beginning of this blog, I’m not a lawyer, and I’m certainly not a doctor.
I’m not going to go into the detail of all the questions asked and responses given.
What I can try to do here, given yesterday, is to show how this is panning out and where the hypocrisy lies between what Dr HW is here for and what the GMC/NHS/GIDs/Tavi/KOI ACTUALLY do.
This isn’t made up stuff of conjecture, its what was said by GMC “expert” and non-expert witnesses, plus the questions asked by SJ and the responses given by Dr HW.
As I have said many times before Why are we here?
The hypocrisy is astonishing in many ways.
Todays session of questions mainly covered the guidelines around the GMC and WPATHWPATH World Professional Association for Transgender Health https://www.wpath.org, patient care, diagnosis, and a more detailed exploration of Patients A’s case.
Let’s start here with responsibility and passion:
In her responses about patient A, there was genuine remorse about an admin error which happened close to the time of her suspension. We saw no remorse, apology , or any concern from a single GMC witness regarding their methods of care of treatment of trans patients. In respect of the KOI, it was tantamount to conversion therapy. But presented with absolute poker face style and assertion that that was the only and right way.
SJ keeps returning to this aspect, time and time again.
Dr HW is being accused of being self-taught, and the GMC see this as bad.
We have established, beyond doubt, despite SJ going on and on about it, that the level of training that Dr HW has is as good as anyone in her field. Why? Because she has exhausted all the ‘official’ training available in the UK and had to look to other countries to fulfil her desire to learn.
This by being a member of WPATH (which at least TWO GMC witnesses weren’t), attending conferences, speaking to others like her (more on that later) and learning.
At the same time, the GMC witness were all ‘self-taught’ and in some cases parachuted into a role, of “given the nod” to take on a role. All the boys club system.
In addition, and importantly, despite the GMC setting up a task force to create and deliver trans healthcare training, they have FAILED to do this.
Not only that, SJ, having been told there is no standard training and she had done all the UK can offer, tries to criticise her “for not doing more”!
Dr HW is being accused of not following guidance. This is a tricky subject. When are rules, rules, and when are rules, guidance? Which guidance, and where from?
Dr HW has clearly sated and methodically answered, that the guidance from the GMC and the UK as a whole on trans healthcare is seriously lacking. It is behind the times and surpassed by that from other countries. To this end, she will use a director of WPATH to give evidence on her behalf. That alone is a massive kick in the teeth for the GMC, and why they tried so hard to get Dr B to not attend.
Dr HW has shown up SJ by stating guidance he refers to as not being followed, was out of date and withdrawn, and that medical guidance moves quicker than a glacier, so published guidance from 1996 and 1998, is out of date.
The other aspect here, is one of interpretation. SJ and the GMC are trying to show that guidance, as other aspects, is rigid. This is not the case. Rules are to be followed and guidance, is, well that, guidance. A suggested pathway with marker posts and milestones. Even Dr Klink, the lover of MDTS admitted, eventually, that the system could be flexible.
Dr HW implies, patients are not robots and not all are the same. Care and treatment is considered and reflective of each, as an individual.
Other countries are so far ahead of the UK, and its draconian Trans healthcare thinking, that is incredible. That guidance and ‘best practice’ has to be used to show she is giving the best care.
This is the biggest hypocrisy of them all.
Dr HW is being accused of not having the required training and expertise to prescribe for and treat trans patients, especially those under 16.
SJ asked her if she had Pead Endo training and qualification to prescribe.
Her response? “by virtue of my degree, I am able to prescribe for any condition I have knowledge and competency in.”
SJ refers to PGB (at the Tavi) saying he qualified as a Paeds and took further training to become a prescriber.
Dr HWs response? Dr W is paediatrician and NOT a paeds endocrinologist, he’s on that specialist register.
Why is this important?
Because the GMC are accusing Dr HW of not being suitably qualified when the (PGB of the UCLH) (who prescribes and cares for U16 trans children) is no more qualified!!
This is the Why are we here question.
Dr HW was shopped to the GMC shortly after starting Gender GP.
Patients came to her (in private practice) due to a lack of care, having been “discharged” from the Tavi/NHS for going to her, or saying they would go elsewhere.
Those patients, many in mid treatment from the state system. Were denied ongoing care.
Dr HW tried, as stated in both her own and GMC evidence to contact the Tavi and PGB in particular. He refused to respond.
She suggested they hold a meeting to discuss trans Healthcare in a mutually beneficial way. We have learned today that they agreed to a meeting, waited until she was out of the country, couldn’t make it and held the “joint “ meeting anyway. Odd!
Dr HW tried to communicate with PBB directly. No response. She went up to him at a conference and was told essentially that she was dead to him. Yet PGB is one of the main protagonists in this case coming about.
Dr HW said yesterday “she had been warned” by some Drs that if she did what she did, “treated the trans community” that “there would be consequences”.
This is the old boys network not liking someone challenging the status quo. That’s why we are here.
The fact she is clearly showing she is as good, if not better than them shows the root of the problem.
She is a trained GP with specialist knowledge.
SJ in his questions, is trying to assert, that she should be judged to a higher standard. Why? Especially when her standard is better than theirs anyway.
She has shown the system to be total out of date, has recognised the weaknesses and, ,ore importantly, the harm being done to patients, families and loved ones, by that system and has chosen to make it better.
This, as with many things that have gone before, is a challenge to the establishment and the old boys network, that they don’t like.
It was the same with Kerry Packer in cricket. We now have all sorts of formats that he pioneered. At the time the sanctions for playing in his series were draconian.
Freddie Laker pioneered low-cost airlines, long before the likes of Easy jet and Ryanair. Again, hated by the establishment, who tried to put him out of business.
Cricketers (there’s a theme here – maybe white cis men perhaps) playing in South Africa at the time of apartheid. Trying to be equal and play cricket as a sport. All sanctioned, banned and, guess what? With agreement and lack of politics, All play together equally
This is the same, Dr HW went out on a limb, challenging the establishment, who are so rigid and set in their ways, that they have to sanction and bring her down to prevent the inherent weaknesses from being seen. ALL those weaknesses have been exposed in the real world.
Dr HW is clearly showing, this isn’t about guidelines, rules, and protocols, it’s about her, her ideas, and a challenge to the establishment. A challenge that is backwards and dinosaur in its procedures and is damaging trans people in the UK.
Dr HW treats people as people, allows them to be themselves and uses that groundwork to establish, agree and prescribe treatment to best suit that patient.
The GMC seem to want Dr HW to jump through hoops, over hurdles and over fire breathing dragons, just to prove she is the same as them. She is better than them in so many ways. More than that, she has shown their own failings and shameful treatment regimes.
As it was close to 5pm by this time, its back on Thursday to continue where we left off.
SJ wants to start on questions on Patients B & C
Later in the week, we have Pt A and his mother. SJ could have his work cut out with a ‘woman scorned’ at the Tavi and PGB’s treatment of her son. That and the person she went help her (Dr HW) and is very happy with was ‘dobbed in’ by the very person who refused care for her son. Could be fun.
To be continued…../