Re: GMC admits error in decision over whether to investigate doctor’s claims over covid vaccine; what was the exact error?

I Agree

Dear Editor

Unfortunately, this news item fails to identify the exact error which the GMC made at first instance when considering the complaint against Dr Malhotra[1]. If we know the nature of the error, then it would help commenting with greater accuracy as to possible outcomes upon reconsideration. It is certainly possible, upon correcting the original error, the outcome could be the same, thus the GMC’s reconsideration would be a hollow victory for the complaining doctor.

With regard to the view, this should “not be an area which the GMC should be adjudicating on”[2], it is reasonably clear that the GMC as a professional regulator has a legal duty to consider complaints irrespective of the nature or complexity of a complaint. In fact, the GMC has already adjudicated on at least two cases of promoting harmful misinformation [3] and one involved an allegation that covid-19 was a conspiracy [4]. The appeal against the GMC’s decision to impose a suspension was unsuccessful [4], thus confirming judicial approval of the GMC’s jurisdiction to adjudicate matters of competing and controversial opinions particularly in relation to covid-19.

Prima facie, the allegations against Dr Malhotra do not suggest that his opinions and claims are so egregious as to merit a referral to MPTS. However, MPTS as a first-tier tribunal has sufficient medical and legal expertise to decide on matters of this nature as it has done in relation to historical cases of controversial medical and scientific opinions of doctors. Of course, both the GMC and MPTS can obtain relevant expert advice where necessary, so there are no legally or logically sustainable grounds to suggest that the GMC should not adjudicate allegations against Dr Malhotra.

[1] BMJ 2024;384:q433

No competing Interests: 
No competing interests
The following competing Interests: 
Have responded to a previous news item on this matter before the GMC admitted an error at first instance consideration.
Electronic Publication Date: 
Wednesday, February 28, 2024 – 22:20
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Re: GMC admits error in decision over whether to investigate doctor’s claims over covid vaccine; what was the exact error?

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