Responding to the General Medical Council's announcement that it has published the terms of reference of a review into Dr Arora’s case, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chair of BMA council, said:
“While it is notable that the GMC has decided to review Dr Arora’s case, an in-house review falls short of the root and branch independent evaluation of the entire GMC referral pathway that the BMA has called for. It is important to note that the review into Dr Arora’s case may provide answers to how the GMC got it so badly wrong on this specific occasion, but it will not change the sanction or its impact on Dr Arora.
“Being investigated by the GMC can be one of the most traumatic experiences in a doctor’s life. There is therefore a moral imperative that fitness to practise investigations are used proportionately, appropriately, and only when necessary.
“This case demonstrates how the current system is structurally disproportionate, lacks timeliness, with insufficient checks and balances, and is manifestly unjust. Dr Arora is just the latest example in a worrying trend of ethnic minority doctors facing disproportionate referral, investigation and sanctions from the regulator and MPTS.
“The BMA has been clear that an external scrutiny panel is needed to assess each potential employer referral to ensure that it is fair and objective, and consider whether the issue could be more appropriately dealt with locally and swiftly. Upon receipt of a referral, the profession must have confidence in the objectivity and fairness of the GMC’s decision to investigate.
“We would therefore urge the GMC to complement this specific review with an independent evaluation of the entire referral pathway. Nothing short of this will secure justice and fairness in medical regulation.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.