Dr Helen Bright is an extrovert, capable consultant psychiatrist who, for lifestyle reasons, chooses to work as a locum. Or rather did, for she has now been constructively erased from the Medical Register.
Dr Bright remains on the Medical Register, but has a string of conditions on her practice so draconian that it is quite impossible for her to find work – see here. Because she cannot work, she has no opportunity – even if she accepted them, which she does not – to comply with the conditions. She has been sent down the salt mine, with no way out. She has been effectively erased from the Medical Register – without being erased. She has, instead, been constructively erased.
Now, there is no doubt that this is a cunning ploy on the part of those sinister panellists who sit on the General Medical Council’s (GMC) Fitness to Practice (FTP) panels. Dr Bright had certainly upset them, but her alleged misdemeanours were not so heinous that erasure or even suspension were deemed to be appropriate punishments. Indeed, had such punishments been applied, Dr Bright might well have won on appeal, on the grounds that the punishment was disproportionate given the crime. Nonetheless, the panellists were determined that Dr Bright should never work again, so they devised an alternative: apply conditions with which there was no realistic prospect of compliance. Dr Bright would be prevented from ever working again. Quite clever, really, if it wasn’t so sinister.
What, you may wonder, were Dr Bright’s crimes that so upset the GMC? Had she been killing patients? Goosing patients? Got her hands in the till?
Not a bit of it. In fact, the FTP panellists even agreed that she was a competent capable and caring doctor. Instead, her crimes relate to attitude and behaviour. She doesn’t behave in a way that the GMC find acceptable.
Dr Bright has in fact had two hearings before the GMC. The first, in 2003, came about because she had questioned the appropriateness of a nun wearing her habit at work in a psychiatric setting (there were other misdemeanours, but it was this one that caught the limelight – see here and here). Whatever your views on such matters, it is nonetheless a legitimate question to ask. But the GMC panellists – who, interestingly included a devout Christian amongst their ranks – did not approve. Dr Bright was found guilty of Serious Professional Misconduct and, on this occasion, her case was concluded with a strong reprimand.
Dr Bright’s second hearing, and the one that gave rise to the conditions attached to her practice, occurred in 2006/7. Her only unequivocal, unchallenged crime was calling a colleague – a nurse – a liar whilst “wagging a finger” at her. Well, sometimes nurses, and indeed doctors, do lie. There were various allegations which involved altercations with other clinical staff, and although some of these were found proven by the panellists, there remain questions as to whether the evidence was sufficient to justify the findings of fact.
Notwithstanding the possibly dubious nature of the proof, this was sufficient for the panellists to adopt a “pattern of behaviour”/no-smoke-without-a-fire line of reasoning which caused them to find Dr Bright guilty again of Serious Professional Misconduct – and this time round they decided enough was enough, Dr Bright had to be stopped – and so they applied conditions to her practice that now leave her unable to work – and unable to appeal.
This is a gross abuse of power by the GMC. Certainly Dr Bright has been intemperate with colleagues – but then there cannot be many doctors who have not at times behaved in such a way. There is no doubt about her clinical abilities (and it is noteworthy that none of the complaints filed with the GMC came from patients or relatives). To deprive a competent and capable doctor of their livelihood and ability to practice for what amount to a series of politically incorrect blunders is both disproportionate – and sinister.
Even more worryingly, Dr Bright is not alone in suffering at the hands to the GMC. Her case also raises a number of other concerns about the GMC’s handling of complaints about doctors. Perhaps it is time we began to question the attitudes and behaviour of those who sit in judgement at Euston Towers.
22 thoughts on “Constructive Erasure”
There is such a thing as Freedom of Speech. Telling the truth is not professional misconduct. It is protected by Article 10 of Human Rights Act 1998, for example. Freedom of speech is protected by law and the fact that somebody feels offended is just not enough for it to be regarded as an offense.
Waving a finger in the presence of someone does not mean that the finger is waved at them. Please, read the transcript of my hearing at GMC.
GMC and courts do not always get it right and there are various appeal routes one can take. I have outstanding appeal at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.
“A nurse” is welcome to read GMC transcripts available to all as I asked for a public hearing so all of you can have it. Please, make a request to GMC and they will email you, A Nurse. Essentially, a nurse claimed I told her that I would see a patient who was not on outpatient list as she could see for herself. Without asking me she just added him to the list and left the list in the public corridor on the surgical trolly; note turned upside down. I carried on seeing my patients who were on my list the copy of which I had in my office which was not altered by this nurse or anyone else. I was completely unaware of what was written on the note placed in the corridor upside down by her. I did not tell her I would see this patient as she falsely claimed. So, that is a lie. Happy now? There were some unusual aspects to this case in that it was pediatric nurse who was getting involved with psychiatric patients without being asked by me. There was a receptionist who could have dealt with the issue of the appointment. It is recognized psychological phenomenon that those who have poor boundaries are likely to victimize others and also find themselves victimized. It is possible that this nurse was quite simply used by management for different reasons.After I left, several months later one of my patients died within twenty four hours of being admitted to a hospital. I was asked to attend a meeting in the hospital although I no longer worked there. I asked for the copies of the notes and prescription charts for this patient to be sent to me so that I could make a meaningful contribution to the meeting. Hospital declined to send me the notes and prescription chart. Undeterred, I obtained a copy of the post-mortem from coroner’s office stating that this patient died a natural death. I did not think this was the correct verdict because she was on a lot of medication, and one of the drugs at least was contraindicated at the time. I did not prescribe this medication so it must have been prescribed by one of the local doctors after I left the trust. So trust decided to do me in because they were paranoid about their own liability for the death, possibly. Even though the coroners verdict was of natural death the verdicts can be overturned on further investigations. Does anyone care about the truth? No, is the answer. The daughter of this patient allegedly read about my previous case at GMC which was about me objecting to a Catholic nun wearing a religious uniform. Imagine, Northern Ireland where so many people had been discriminated against because of their religion and where all of this was taking place.
GMC does fix the trials by fixing who sits on the Fitness to Practice Panels and is also institutionally racist. I stood no chance with religious fanatics appointed to the panels judging me. There were also other members with other conflicts of interests.
The matters were further complicated by government and GMC policies of treating locum doctors differently. Equality Human Rights Commission refused to help individual locum doctors when they complained to them about discrimination. They and GMC have a case against them with European Commission for breaching various European Directives. Recently government introduced a new law regarding equal treatment of temporary workers.
Psychiatry is a shortage specialty in UK. I have never harmed any patients by anybody’s findings.
Illness like depression is known to be associated with the higher incidence of myocardial infarction and psychotherapy does reduce the risk by about 20%. Suicides can be prevented too. Therefore, I conclude that neither NHS, GMC or courts acted in public interest which they are supposed to do when they mistreated me and excluded me from clinical work.
I do not find it difficult to understand that willful blindness is more pleasant to some people than having to consider the needs of mentally ill people in the first place.
Awful for the GMC to do this to Dr Bright. PLEASE CAN DOCTORS CALL FOR THE GMC TO BE DISBANDED. They have punished many doctors for the slightest and trivial issues!
Government is to introduce urgent retrospective legislation so that about 2000 doctors who have sectioned patients while not approved are now approved. They have not been reported to GMC and will not be reported to GMC. It is estimated that there are about 6000 patients have been sectioned by doctors not properly approved. All of those sections will be now legal. So, I was found guilty of serious professional misconduct by a biased GMC FTP panel.
Patients sectioned by unapproved doctors:
Jeremy Hunt told the Commons: “Our latest best estimate is that 2,000 doctors were not properly approved”
See Times article here:
There is a lot of talk about denial of rights. I would like to know if this is the Dr Helen Bright who denied me my rights as a carer to attend a meeting with my sister.My sister requested that I would be present at the meeting but this was refused by Dr Bright denying my sister her rights also.
23-3-2013 I worked as a locum consultant psychiatrist in Northern Ireland, in a job that has seen an amazing turnover of staff: twenty consultant psychiatrists or so in a period of only two years left the same post. As a self-alleged carer what does that figure mean to you, if anything?
You telephoned me one day in 2004 about your sister whom I saw once previously in out-patient clinic. She presented as well to me. You asked me if I knew she had psychotic symptoms at the time and I said I did not because your sister did not disclose it. I asked you why you did not come with your sister to the outpatients if you were concerned about her and you told me you could not because your son was ill. I asked you why you did not write to me or telephone me and you responded: “There may be a complaint coming”. Indeed, you could not wait to make complaints against me. So, it is holding you to an account that triggered hostility.
I gave you an appointment to come and see me in a couple of days for one hour (outpatients follow up appointments were for only twenty minutes) but you cancelled that appointment. Instead of keeping your commitment to that appointment I gave you, you chose to complain about me in the form of back stabbing and mobbing later on. Today, you chose to defame me on the Internet alleging human rights abuses although I have never done any harm to you or to any of your relatives.
I also told you on the telephone I would give the first cancellation outpatient appointment to your sister. Naturally, I do not get cancellations every day and you would have known this from your experience as a psychiatric nurse. However, you immediately fired a complaint to hospital management complaining that I refused to give you an appointment for your sister at the end of that day. This is what bullies do: they set up people the tasks they must fail.
You repeatedly made false allegations about me and continue to do so eight years on. Now your complaint is that your rights as a carer were infringed. How do you define a carer?
When your sister was my patient you were a married woman who lived in another town with your husband and your children. I addition you worked full time as a professional, psychiatric nurse.
Your sister lived with her parents (one of whom was a psychiatric nurse and who made no contact with me regarding his concerns about his daughter)and two adult sisters one whom was student of psychology. In addition there were two small children (nephews or nieces)also living in the same household as your ill sister. It was unclear to me where their fathers were. One child, I was told, had autism and the other one was a baby. In the medical notes there was no social worker’s report. I wondered what social pressures if any existed at home (housing, financial, emotional, noise level from children and its effect on sleep of the three mentally ill persons who lived in the same household: your sister and mother both had schizophrenia and there was a child with autism-they do not like change, but a new baby arrived). I asked social worker to visit in case help with housing, finance, or anything else was required and also because I needed to understand social circumstances. This request of mine for social worker’s report (which I got)resulted in yet another complaint against me to the hospital management by you insinuating intrusion into private life of your family.
For example, dysfunction individuals do have that characteristic of fearing intimacy and that is why, I think, you did not turn up for your appointment with me and objected to me requesting social worker’s report.
I do understand that one can live hundreds of miles away and care about someone but that does not make you into a carer.
After you cancelled your appointment with me and made a number of false allegations against me for which you never apologized you turned up unannounced with your two sisters in out-patients clinic expecting me to see you. Your sisters agreed to see me with out you as I objected to your presence finding you emotionally disturbing. You knew that as I told you that there and then more than eight years ago. You made a complaint about that too to Clinical Director. Your conduct towards me was reminiscent of an attack by another relative and this gave me nightmares. When I told you that you smirked with delight. Your sisters did not. As it turned out my instinct was correct: you were another mobber.
You had eight years to find out what were your rights and what were my rights regarding your presence at the out-patients appointment for your sister but you chose not to do so. Doctor has the right to refuse to see patients for whom he/she cannot care. Doctors also have the right to refuse to see relatives who are abusive as you were and remain so.
Eventually, I had to ask another consultant to help me and take over the management and I agreed to take over one of his cases in exchange.
I do understand that in families there is sometimes competition for attention from parental figures. Sometimes, children learn to make false allegations against another child in order to get love from a parent. Is that something you learned to do long time ago? It seemed to me that your complaining had another purpose such as getting attention for yourself. However, when I offered you my attention you turned it down. This makes sense because, of course, in hostile dependency on another person that person cannot be trusted.
You also found by speaking to me that I had a foreign accent. Did that give you strength to persecute me? I know that ethnic discrimination was even more widespread in Northern Ireland than religious bigotry. Also, I noticed that you made no complaints about your local doctors even if your own mother was given a cocktail of drugs (two months after I left the job) and in a dose that probably caused her cardiac arrhythmia and death within 24 hours of hospital admission. You fail to convince me about your interests in human rights.
There is no complaint from you in the minutes of the meetings where “statutory dose of Haloperidol is mentioned”. There is no such a thing as statutory or even standard dose of Haloperidol as it has to be adjusted according to patient’s needs.
You found on the Internet about my previous GMC hearing but kept it secret from me. Why did you do that when the hearing was public as were the findings?
Why do you think Clinical Director whom you told about my previous GMC hearing also kept is secret from me that you told him? You see, I never told him and he never asked me. There were no conditions on my practice anyway at that time.
How did you feel about me objecting to the wearing of uniforms in psychiatry knowing that in Northern Ireland female psychiatric nurses in hospitals still wore uniforms in 2004, something that stopped in England thirty or so many years previously?
I am now asking you to apologize to me for the comments you made here.
After studying medical error for over 10 yrs, Ive come to the conclusion that the purpose of the GMC is not to filter bad doctors out, but to filter them in, whilst getting rid of genuinely good doctors.
If you look on the FDA website or google FDA ADRs you’ll find that pharmaceutical drugs are the 4th leading cause of death.
According to many many peer reviewed studies, medical error is the leading cause of death.
Just google death by medicine.
According to Prof Sir Liam donaldson, your chance of dying from medical error is 1 in 300 (you can google all of this)
According to Prof Trevor sheldon, university of york, medical blunders in uk hospitals kill 90,000 per year.
The head of Glaxo recently admitted ‘our drugs dont work on most patients.
Prof Donald light, medical error the 4th leading cause of death.
District attorney steve cooley shortly after the michael jackson inquiry stated on live tv that pharmaceuticals are the number 1 cause of death in the US today.
JAMA article stated medical error the 3rd leading cause of death.
I could go on, but the question that should be asked is, with so many patients being slaughtered by doctors in the NHS, just how good is the General medical council at it’s job when the NHS have a kill ratio better than that of the British Army.
Even when Hitler was bombing our cities he didn’t manage to kill that many.
Well, maybe he did, but you wouldn’t expect the NHS to be a close second.
The General Medical council is quite clearly incompetent
Any decision made by the GMC is best ignored or overturned.
I work for the GMC within Investigations and have a large caseload.
I stumbled upon this page and find it worrying how little people understand what the GMC’s purpose is; to protect patients. Doctors have their own defence unions to protect them.
This doctor might not be a ‘threat’ to patients in how she deals with them on a one-to-one basis but most doctors work with a support network of colleagues. If they do not effectively work with those colleagues; supporting them, communicating with them and respecting them, patients will not receive the best overall treatment.
I would imagine this was the thinking behind the GMC’s decision; if this doctor’s attitude prevented her from working effectively with her colleagues, her patients would not have received the best treatment.
I wish some people would educate themselves a little more before ranting about something they clearly know nothing about. Dig a little deeper and look at the GMC’s procedures and guidance and their reasoning and you will see they’re not some doctor-hating organisation, they simply try their best to protect patients. We can’t win – complainants think they’re too ‘soft’ and doctors think they’re too harsh. However, at the end of the day they are not here to appease doctors or the public; they’re here to protect patients with the best decisions possible.
Hello GMC employee,
Some of us are familiar with the way of victimizing people by saying: ” Why are you not like everybody else and not be disruptive?”
Why is it that GMC does not know of sham peer reviews and its characteristics? Surely, you could Google it and learn for yourself even if your masters do not wish for it?
GMC is so dysfunctional. A bit like a a family in which there is a criminal but nobody dares report him/her to police because she/he brings money to the rest. GMC is dysfunctional just like that, it prefers money from medical mobbers to a decent doctor who puts patients first.
Had GMC paid any attention to the issues I raised patients’lives would be saved. Read, please,here:
Each year (for four years) nun worked in an area as a social worker wearing her habit while working with mentally ill more patients committed suicides on average 18 per year compared to an average of 15 before she started her work and 15 per year after she left (four years later).
It is GMC who has been wilfully ignorant and fails to appreciate that some achievements of doctors for public benefit come at the high cost. GMC made their contribution to this high cost through their wilful blindness and mindless and immature prosecution process (fixing the panels so that they can win amongst other techniques)and looking down on me as an outsider.
GMC did receive the petition against the wearing of religious uniforms initiated by a lay person and signed by people from a number of different religious backgrounds but GMC always did nothing to improve the welfare of mentally ill patients in that respect. Why did not GMC claim that this person (lay petitioner) was guilty of serious professional misconduct? As you know the answer, please, do admit GMC does screw up from time to time.
GMC protected my ex boss a paedophile. He was called Morris Fraser. He was allowed to work despite criminal convictions for paedophilia. The legal assessor became Attorney General.
Even President of General Medical Council sat at his hearing. There was no psychiatric expertise at the hearing with P BB Mayhew sitting as a Legal Assessor.
Please, read this post:
Assuming that having a problem with a colleague means that patients will be affected is plain stupidity. Would you who work in GMC be fired if you had a problem with your colleagues assuming that doctors or patients would be affected? Plain stupidity and psychological abuse is what GMC is doing.
Thank you Anonymous on 18th July 2016 @ 1:28pm. GMC has victimized many doctors who had done no harm whatsoever to any patients. They collude with dysfunctional NHS staff and NHS directors who have pathological aversion to conflict. And conflict can be: doctor asserting what is medically correct for the patient and/or protecting their human rights while some staff have not got around to thinking it through yet or doing their fair share of work. GMC’s legal assessor told one Fitness to Practise Panel UN declaration on protection of human right defenders is not at all legally binding on them. What about freedom of speech for doctors and patients? It is a bit like we must not raise any issues in case everything is gone. Catastrophic thinking. Imagine family colluding with a criminal member not to speak to the police about the offending so they do not lose their money coming from offending. We know what is wrong with NHS but we must not say it. When we do speak up GMC acts like a dysfunctional member of family ready to kill the doctor. Like some “honour” killing event.
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