Ethnicities and Primary Medical Qualification Country of 28 Doctors who committed suicide while under GMC investigation (FOIA)
Anonymous GP posted July 2014:
Doctors who have committed suicide..
January 2014 an overworked 53 yo male Liverpool NHS GP partner took an overdose to end his life and was unable to be revived in A&E. His surviving son would like to keep the suicide private.
Feb 2013 suicide/depression overcame a 53 yo NHS GP Martin Bell. http://www.essexchronicle.co.uk/GP-took-life-admitting-suicidal-thoughts/story-19631858-detail/story.html.
Sept 2012 age 51 NHS GP John King commits suicide. http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2013/03/19/perfect-family-gp-killed-himself-after-sons-kidney-failure/.
June 2012 age 26 NHS GP Elizabeth Foubister hanged herself. Thought text message was break up. Stressed from NHS work. http://www.worcesternews.co.uk/news/9941517.Doctor_killed_herself_after_partner_sent_an_angry_text/.
Feb 2012 NHS GP Festus Ojagbemi aged 49 hanged himself. Feared double life exposure. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9591098/Suicide-of-GP-who-led-secret-double-life-with-two-women.html.
Feb 2012 53 yo NHS GP David John Weddell took a lethal overdose at a Hilton Hotel. Sometimes worked 7 days a week! Worked to death. http://www.bromsgrovestandard.co.uk/2012/06/27/news-Coroner-describes-popular-Rubery-GP-as-remarkable-42553.html.
Dec 2006 47 yo locum NHS GP David Scarfe faced a large tax bill and divorce, self asphyxiated with a plastic bag. http://www.thisisoxfordshire.co.uk/news/1624975.depressed_gp_killed_himself/.
May 2006 46 yo GP Mark Gradwell jumped in front of train. Being investigated by PCT. http://www.thisisoxfordshire.co.uk/news/1624975.depressed_gp_killed_himself/.
Jan 2005 45 yo NHS ICU doctor slit his own throat. Dr Andrew Scott had burned out. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/jun/01/nhsstaff.health.
10 tips on handling a GMC complaint (especially if malicious/vexatious)
What happens if you are fortunate and your MDO agrees to provide you legal assistance? Be prepared to hear them suggest you reply with 'no comment.' You may be flummoxed, as it may make you appear guilty with such a terse reply but there is method to the madness. The MDO will look at the GMC complaint and may have decided there is no evidence to substantiate the string of allegations so yes, 'no comment' becomes the best defence.
Advice for the GMC
Provide a lawyer for all doctors facing a FTP trial. MDOs may exercise discretion not to provide a doctor with legal support.
No penalties for wasting GMC time and resources so serial complainants may continue to lodge frivolous complaints
If a member of the public decides to appeal a traffic conviction and then loses, he or she has to pay court expenses. Why is it that a member of the public or an institution may refer a doctor directly to the GMC behind their back and when the complaint is found to be groundless, lacking in evidence, unsubstantiated, etc., the GMC expense is subsumed in the annual subs paid by doctors, and not by the complainant, and the doctor is left out of pocket for loss of income and personal legal expenses not covered by their own medical defence organisation?
Even the police may charge members of the public for wasting police time and impose a fine and/or 6 months imprisonment. 'In England and Wales, one can be charged with the offence under Section 5(2) of the Criminal Law Act 1967 when one "causes any wasteful employment of the police" by "knowingly making to any person a false report".'
Without any comeback on members of the public who make complaints (who are not even the doctor's patient) or on institutions who may waste GMC's time and money, these complaints may continue to flood the GMC and may be another reason why our nation is haemorrhaging its finest doctors.
The GMC has an online complaint feature on its main webpage and may even confer anonymity to any complainant, even if the complainant is not a patient of the doctor and has never met the doctor! This suggests that any member of the public may 'waste' the GMC's time by clicking online complaint and make up false allegations of any doctor for whatever motive, whether it be public trolling, trust management trying to get rid of a whistleblower, ex partners, ex employees, ex girl friends, etc. I would suggest the GMC may wish to address these flaws in process.
No redress or compensation for innocent doctors
Conferring anonymity to complainants who may never have met the doctor appears to defy the laws of natural justice, the right to face one's accuser to cross examine.
Advice for Maureen Baker and the RCGP
Please do not refer GP members to the GMC without abiding by the GMC's Code of Good Medical Practice working with colleagues and sitting down with the GP. The GMC must not be used as a commercial weapon to intimidate a private course competitor.
Thank you for paying for mediation with a QC in 2009 but I was saddened to receive further formal complaints from the RCGP in 2013-14 for donating to Bapio's fight against discrimination against IMGs (as the BMA also donated), for raising money for a jobless single mother IMG GP trainee and for blogging and tweeting (raising awareness) about the effects of unconscious bias in a subjective exam in which good doctors of colour may have been failed and was denied any informal meeting or mediation with you now as RCGP Chair and Prof Nigel Sparrow as the current RCGP Secretary. Intimidation through formal complaints and disciplinaries are not on! If IMGs are not made to feel welcome by their own college of GPs, they may join the Australian College and work in peace without fear of GMC complaints from institutions.
Dr Liz Miller founder of the Doctors Support Network drew attention to doctor suicides under GMC investigation in 2010 and met with the GMC in an attempt to suggest reform.
"In 2003/4 9 of 215 doctors under investigation by the Health procedures died - three were known to me and were suicide.
I have spoken to numerous doctors over the years on the brink of suicide because of the GMC.
Nowadays I also have medical students calling me.
I have the figures for deaths during FTP cases since 2004 - approx 10 per year - I have asked, under FOI for causes of death, the deadline for that inquiry has almost expired, and I am pursuing it.
I have a meeting with Niall Dickson 8th September based on my concerns. My points will be that
a - The health of the medical profession, must be managed by Occupational Health not the regulatory body
This is the case with all other safety critical professions, such as train drivers, and pilots.
b - All doctors undergoing FTP must have an occupational health assessment.
This is standard practice outside the medical profession, where companies request occupational health assessments before instituting conduct or performance proceedings. This assessment protects the company in the event of an employment or other tribunal.
c - Medical students must be excluded from the jurisdiction of the GMC
The standards by which medical students are judged, need to be in the context of other students rather than of mature doctors. GMC intervention prevents disabled medical students from qualifying as doctors.
d - Good medical practice contains such contradictions that, in the face of a good lawyer, all doctors are guilty of breaching its standards every day of their working lives. The GMC has such lawyers. Good Medical Practice needs to reflect realistic standards to which doctors can aspire.
GMC process, procedures and sanctions literally scar doctors for life. Few recover, even if they can get a job, few are ever fit to work again. The GMC approach drives mental health problems underground because no one will come forward because a declared mental illness as a doctor almost certainly means the end of your career. As you know once a doctor has had dealings with the GMC their career is over.
Whether it is possible to reform the GMC in this stage of its history is questionable. If there is no reform, it will be the end of the medical profession in this country.
I wrote the attached report in 2005, my views have not changed and neither have the circumstances which gave rise to it.
With best wishes
Dr Liz Miller AKC FRCSE MRCGP BA MSc DoccMed"