Cancer expert Professor Karol Sikora has accused the General Medical Council (GMC) of selecting patients from an “envelope” in order to make its case. Reporting on the case of oncologist Professor Justin Stebbing, Medscape reported that “defence witness Prof Sikora said Prof Stebbing’s record showed many of his patients had responded well to treatment and had gone on to live a “significant period of time”.” It is reported that of the the 36 charges, Prof Stebbing has admitted 21, include allegations he provided inappropriate treatment to patients given their advanced cancer or poor prognosis, overstated life expectancy and the benefits of chemotherapy, and continued to treat patients when it was futile and they had just weeks to live.

“Britain’s approach to cancer care which ought to be put under the microscope”

Professor Sikora said it was Britain’s approach to cancer care which ought to be put under the microscope. He told the MPTS hearing the UK was “far behind” on the global cancer league table because of “overly strict” adherence to guidelines at the expense of clinical judgment. He said: “I don’t know why this is involving the GMC. You’re pillorying him [Prof Stebbing] through no fault of his own.” Prof Sikora also questioned the length of time and the cost of the MPTS hearings, saying: “The whole system has been let down by the GMC. “I pay £450 a year to the GMC. The case runs on. A delay of four years is unacceptable.” Prof Stebbing has faced more than 100 days of legal hearings since January 2020. Covid, holidays and illness have caused delays and the MPTS has admitted that the case was “beset with difficulties from the outset”. Earlier this year the service said: “It is imperative that progress is made in this case.” A Freedom of Information request has uncovered that hearing costs alone have already topped £300,000, with the tribunal still scheduled to continue until November 12. That does not include the investigative and legal costs for Prof Stebbing.

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