Daraghmeh v General Medical Council (2011)
In 2009, Dr Daraghmeh (D) was suspended from the register for 12 months following a finding after a performance assessment that his fitness to practise was impaired as a result of misconduct and deficient professional performance.
In 2010, a review hearing found that Dr D's fitness to practise was no longer impaired by reason of misconduct, but remained impaired in relation to deficient professional performance.
As a result of this finding, the fitness to practise panel imposed conditions on Dr D's registration, in line with its powers under section 35D of the Medical Act. The panel considered the results of the performance assessment carried out on Dr D. The assessment had stated that, with appropriate supervision, Dr D could perform at a junior level. The imposed conditions restricted the type of work he could carry out and stated that he must be directly supervised during any clinical procedures, until the supervisor was satisfied that supervision was no longer appropriate.
Dr D appealed against these conditions, on the grounds that:
- they were irrational and unworkable; and
- they amounted to an effective sanction of suspension, as the effect of the conditions made it almost impossible to obtain permitted employment.
The court followed the established principle that appeal courts should be slow to interfere with the decisions of a panel which had not erred in its application of relevant principles. The court found that the panel had been aware that the purpose of conditions was to protect the public, and that conditions must be appropriate, proportionate and workable. Considering the views set out in the performance assessment that Dr D should be subject to supervision, the conditions were reasonable. This was particularly so, as the supervision arrangements were at the discretion of the supervisor.
In relation to the second ground of appeal, the court found that the evidence presented by Dr D was nothing more than assertion on his part. The court accepted that the conditions would make it more difficult for him to find employment, but not impossible. In addition, the conditions were subject to regular review and Dr D was able to request a review if his circumstances changed.