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Interim suspension orders

General Medical Council v. Hiew [2007] 1 WLR 2007

1. This case before the Court of Appeal considered the criteria for the exercise of the powers to extend interim suspension order made by the GMC’s Interim Orders Panel under Section 41A of the Medical Act 1983. The approach was reaffirmed as being the same as that applied to making the original order namely

(1) The protection of the public;

(2) The public interest or

(3) The practitioner’s own interest.

2. In making any such order, the Court identified and reaffirmed the criteria as

(1) That the court should take into account the gravity of the allegations;

(2) The nature of the evidence;

(3) The seriousness of the risk of harm to patients and

(4) The prejudice to the practitioner if such order was granted or continued.

3. Importantly, the court reaffirmed that the onus to ensure that the criteria were fulfilled remained upon the GMCouncil as the applicant for any extension of such an order. The GMC must prove on the balance of probabilities that the criteria are met. The court in its appellate role had to ascertain not whether the allegations themselves were true or false, but whether or not the allegations made against the practitioner justified in themselves the extension of the suspension. Any challenge to the voracity of the allegations themselves should not be entertained by an appeal but rather by challenge by way of judicial review.


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