The GMC applied to the High Court for an order allowing them to continue to enforce restrictions on the registration of the respondent (S) for a further 12 months. S had been suspended from his post as a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at an NHS hospital due to concerns surrounding his performance. As part of the investigations carried out by the GMC intended to carry out to a performance assessment, S was in agreement with this. Whilst these investigations were ongoing an interim orders panel imposed conditions on his registration as a medical practitioner for 18 months. An assessment team later determined that S’s professional performance was deficient and concluded that he should be permitted to practise only on a limited basis. S would not agree to these limitations and as such the matter was referred to fitness to practice panel. It was likely that this panel would not hear the matter for a further 10 months thereby taking the time spent on the investigations over the original 18 months for which limitations were imposed.
The Court, in granting the application, recognised that there had been some delay in the proceedings, but also highlighted that this was in part due to a delay of some three months caused when S failed to submit necessary documents to the GMC and partly due to the complex nature of the investigation required. The protection of the public required a continuation of the restrictions on S’s registration and the 12 month requested appropriately represented a realistic timeframe required. The Court also approved the continuation of the conditions in their precise terms as these were a matter of medical expertise.