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Suspended GP fights to clear name
Thursday 28 October 2010
Suspended GP fights to clear name
A Mid Wales GP suspended from practising medicine for a year because of the potential risk she poses to patients, is planning to take the General Medical Council to judicial review.
Dr Sarah Myhill, 52, who has a private practice at Llangunllo, near Knighton, was suspended from the medical register until October next year at a GMC review hearing by its Interim Order Panel last Thursday.
The doctor, who has been practising for nearly 30 years and specialises in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome, spent 20 years in the NHS before going into private practice 10 years ago.
She said she has felt absolutely nauseated since the ruling.
“It never occurred to me that they would extend the sanctions,” she told the Journal.
“I gave the GMC so much evidence that I was expecting them to say ‘there is no case to answer, get on with your life’.
“They say I am a potential threat to the reputation of the medical profession.
“But all they discussed at the hearing was the website and my opinions of it. My opinions are not the same as the conventional view and that is what they have got me on.”
Dr Myhill said she had been considering matters and would now be taking the GMC to judicial review under the Human Rights Act at the High Court on two grounds – a right to a fair hearing, which she claims she has not had, and her right to freedom of opinion.
“I have consulted with other doctors who have faced similar things and they say if I wait until the review hearing in three months time, the GMC will declare me ‘psychiatrically unsound’ and then I will have no chance of a judicial review.
“If I fail on the judicial review then I will have to de-regulate with the GMC and just practice as a nutritional therapist but that would curtail how I treat patients and as a doctor. I do not want that.”
In April the former NHS GP was banned from prescribing drugs for 18 months by the GMC and was told to take down part of her website. The GMC imposed five conditions for a total of 18 months after she was found to be ‘potentially putting patients at risk’. It came after a group of eight GPs based in Yorkshire claimed she had provided ‘inappropriate’ treatment to a patient in June 2009.
Dr Myhill recommended vitamin and magnesium injections for suspected chronic fatigue syndrome, a treatment an expert said had ‘no clinical or biochemical basis’.
Concerns were also raised about advice on the doctor’s website concerning breast cancer screening and child vaccinations.
At a six-month review hearing in London last Thursday, the GMC heard that there were “repeated and significant concerns raised by former patients, medical practitioners and other members of the public”.
The panel determined that the original order remained necessary but went a step further and suspended the doctor for the remainder of the order. GMC panel chair Dr Peter Maguire said: “The circumstances which bring patients to your practice by their very nature make your patients vulnerable, notwithstanding any actual health issues.
“The panel is satisfied that, based on the complaints made, and the concerns raised, there is sufficient information before it to indicate that there may be impairment of your fitness to practise and that such impairment may pose a real risk to patients.
‘The panel has been extremely concerned by your possible lack of understanding of the requirements of modern- day best practice, as well as a seeming lack of perception and understanding of the consequences of your actions.”
Dr Myhill tried to challenge the interim conditions at the review hearing, which was held in public at her request. It was attended by around a dozen of her supporters.
Dr Myhill’s 12-month interim order will be reviewed within three months.
The above originally appeared here.
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