The General Medical Council has issued a statement following the suspension of a doctor arrested in connection with “Just Stop Oil” protests.

We reported on the case involving Dr Sarah Benn, a GP in Birmingham, was arrested after taking part in demonstrations at the Kingsbury oil terminal in Warwickshire.

An independent tribunal of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has suspended Dr Sarah Benn’s registration for a period of five months. Dr Benn was referred to a tribunal because in 2022 she breached several court orders, which amounted to contempt of court, and as a result she received a custodial sentence.

UK Fitness to Practise News

A GMC spokesperson said:

‘Dr Sarah Benn was referred to a hearing at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service not for protesting about climate change, but for multiple breaches of a court order which resulted in a custodial sentence.

‘Like all citizens, doctors have the right to express their personal opinions on issues, including climate change. There is nothing in our guidance to prevent them from doing so, nor from exercising their right to lobby government and to campaign, including taking part in protests.

‘However, patients and the public rightly have a high degree of trust in doctors and that trust can be eroded if doctors repeatedly fail to comply with the law.

‘Our fitness to practise investigations consider cases which are referred to us and where doctors have broken the law, not their motivations for doing so. It is not the role of regulators to determine UK law – that is a matter for parliament.’

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