“Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!” believes Niall Dickson, the Chair of East Kent Hospital University Foundation Trust (pictured) who believes the allegation of sexual assault made by a staff member, via a Governor of the Trust is, “part of a campaign of harassment against him“
Niall Dickson was the Chief Executive and Registrar of the General Medical Council (GMC) between Jan 2010 and Dec 2016. The GMC in 2014 was described as ” part charity, part quango, part government department and part protection racket.”
Part of the GMC’s remit is to protect patient safety and improve medical education and practice across the UK it investigates any kind of complaint against doctors.
Recently, The Guardian reported “13% of sexual misconduct complaints made between the years 2017-18 and 2021-22 were closed without investigation because the GMC is prevented from considering alleged incidents more than five years after the event.”
This has become known as the “five-year rule”, when no allegation against a doctor should proceed further if more than five-years have elapsed since the actual date upon which the most recent events giving rise to the allegation took place.
Under the “5 year rule”, “No allegation shall proceed …unless the Registrar considers that it is in the public interest for it to proceed.”
Let’s not forget, Mr Dickson was the Chief Exec & Registrar of the GMC between Jan 2010 and Dec 2016.
What constitutes the “public interest” is not explicitly defined by the GMC in the test applied by them which states:
“does the public interest warrant this allegation being proceeded with, despite the fact it is late?”
The test is a subjective one, and it has come in for some criticism from Peter Walsh, Chief Executive of Action against Medical Accidents (AvMa) who wrote:
“The ‘five year rule’ currently used by the General Medical Council is a dangerous anomaly and should be scrapped. Every fitness to practise case should be assessed objectively, just as most regulators currently do. There have already been some egregious failures of the system whereby doctors whose fitness to practise was still very much in question, have managed to evade even investigation due to this rule.”
So here is a question “in the public interest“
How many complaints of sexual misconduct did Niall Dickson, as registrar of the GMC between Jan 2010 and Dec 2016, determine as not being in the public interest as five years had passed?
And does he consider that such a question is “part of a campaign of harassment against him“?
The Shepway Vox Team
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