Doctors to take legal action against GMC over ‘inaction’ on Covid vaccine misinformation.
Pulse reported that a group of doctors, including some GPs, has begun legal proceedings against the GMC based on what they say is a failure to act on Covid-19 vaccine misinformation.
In January, these doctors called on the regulator to investigate Dr Aseem Malhotra’s fitness to practise due to what they claim is his ‘high-profile promotion of misinformation about Covid-19 mRNA vaccines’.
Dr Malhotra, a consultant cardiologist, campaigner and author, has over half a million followers on Twitter, with most recent posts focusing on the Covid vaccine.
The upcoming action, which is led by lawyers from the Good Law Project, is based on the GMC’s refusal to carry out an investigation.
Professor Trish Greenhalgh, a GP and academic in primary care at the University of Oxford who has been in touch with the group, told Pulse the ‘scandal is that the GMC do not think it’s their job to investigate doctors who have massive, massive followings on social media and who fan the flames of disinformation’.
In a letter to the GMC in April, before the group received an official refusal, the doctors argued the regulator ‘is required to investigate whether Dr Malhotra’s fitness to practise is impaired by virtue of his campaign against the Covid-19 vaccine’.
The letter added: ‘Failing to act poses a potential risk to patients and to public trust in both the medical profession and the GMC as regulator.’
Professor Greenhalgh said one of the reasons the GMC has refused is that there is a ‘lack of direct proof linking a particular anti-vax statement with harm to a particular patient’.
A GMC spokesperson said:
‘We carefully consider all complaints raised with us, and thoroughly examine all relevant information before making decisions about whether they meet the statutory threshold for investigation.
‘We take action where there is evidence of a risk to patients or public confidence or a serious breach of proper professional standards or conduct. We do not take this responsibility lightly, and realise that our decisions can sometimes be disappointing for complainants.’
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