Doctors’ watchdog’ that still has no bite

Chris Carter TEN YEARS ago a campaign, launched by this newspaper following the tragic death of a young woman, culminated in a change in the law over struck-off doctors. Maria Ayling died due to the negligence of her GP, but we discovered although he was struck off he

Chris Carter

TEN YEARS ago a campaign, launched by this newspaper following the tragic death of a young woman, culminated in a change in the law over struck-off doctors.

Maria Ayling died due to the negligence of her GP, but we discovered although he was struck off he could reapply to be put back on the register after only 10 months.

The long-running campaign ended with the then Ilford North MP Linda Perham presenting a 10-minute Rule Bill to Parliament and subsequently winning an extension from 10 months to three years.


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Maria's dad Eric battled hard to win justice for his daughter, but constantly came up against a brick wall put there by doctors' watchdog body The General Medical Council.

It was only his persistence and the support of the Recorder and Mrs Perham which won the day.

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The rule-change was finally welcomed by the GMC and it was hoped this might herald a new era, which would see the council acting on behalf of patients, as well as its members.

This week's revelation about convicted rapist Anil Tangotra has highlighted fears that little has changed.

When contacted about the delay in striking this man off - a man who had preyed on young girls in order to drug them and rape them - their question to our reporter was along the lines of "What's your point?"

Well, the point most people understand is how could they wait 18 months before striking off a convicted rapist, condemned by a judge as "a shark cruising the waters of arranged marriage"?

If the GMC does not appreciate how little faith people have in them to protect us from rogue doctors, they only needed to ask Eric Ayling. Or maybe Bernard Bloom who is embroiled in a long-running battle to win justice for his sister Carmel, who died after a minor operation.

The Labour government at one stage pledged to reform the GMC with a more independent body. Following the complacent attitude of the GMC with regard to Tangotra, the Recorder suggests the plans should be put back on the table.

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