The High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland has granted the GMC an extension to an Interim Order of Suspension in General Medical Council v McCloskey (Re Medical Act 1983, s.41A(6)) [2023] NIKB 75 (30 June 2023).

Following an oral hearing on 21 September 2021, the respondent doctor was made subject to an Interim Suspension Order. The Order was subsequently reviewed and extended to June 2023.  This case sought a further extension in accordance with section 41A(2) of the 1983 Act. 

The respondent doctor opposed the application to extend.  The judgement noted that the documents submitted did not comply with statutory court rules.  Whilst the GMC raised this with the court, it commented that it was ready to respond to the various allegations made in the document if the court so required.

Although Rooney J dealt with the points raised by the respondent doctor, Rooney J however commented that:

Applying the guidance provided by the courts in GMC v Hiew and GMC v Obasi, the decision for this court is simply whether there should be an extension of the period of suspension.  It is not for this court to consider the merits of the case de novo. 

Similar to the position of the IOT, this court is not in a position to attempt to resolve disputes over what was said by the respondent, whether it amounted to misinformation and whether the respondent’s right to free speech has been infringed.  Furthermore, the court is not in a position to evaluate the respondent’s allegations of fraud, false representation and illegality. 

Resolution of those issues will be a matter for the GMC at the hearing.

Although the extension was granted, Rooney J did note:
It is noted that a hearing is to take place in October 2023.  The court expresses its concern as to the delay in finalising these matters.  In order to bring finality to these proceedings, I would urge that a concerted effort should be made to determine all matters relating to Dr McCloskey’s fitness to practise at the said hearing date.”

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