A procedural error by the General Medical Council (GMC) has stalled a Judicial Review of the regulator’s decision not to investigate Dr Aseem Malhotra.

The background to this case relates to a group of doctors, including some GPs, who commenced legal proceedings against the GMC in 2023 based on what they say is a failure to act on Covid-19 vaccine misinformation.

In January 2023, 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.

In 2023, Dr Matt Kneale asked the GMC to review its decision to close the concerns he had raised about Dr Aseem Malhotra.  The GMC considered Dr Kneale’s request under Rule 12 of our Fitness to Practise Rules, which set out the grounds that must be met for us to review a decision, and subsequently informed him that the grounds for a review hadn’t been met.

Under Rule 12 of the Fitness to Practise Rules, certain types of decisions can be reviewed if the grounds for a review are met.

Later in 2023 Dr Kneale was granted permission to judicially review (JR) our decision.

UK Fitness to Practise News

However, the GMC said while preparing for the JR, it identified an error in the Rule 12 decision, which means that it needs to be re-taken.

A GMC spokesperson said:

‘During an extensive further assessment of our evidence, we identified an error in our Rule 12 decision, which means that it needs to be re-taken.

‘We are sorry for this error; as soon as we realised it had been made, we took steps to inform all relevant parties and concede the Judicial Review.’

The GMC confirmed that the JR will now not take place, and we will again consider Dr Kneale’s request for a review of his case. This has been agreed with all parties involved and a new Rule 12 decision will be made in due course.

It stressed that in making a fresh decision at the Rule 12 stage does not mean that the allegations against Dr Malhotra will be investigated.

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