The ECHR has cleared the UK Government of human rights violations after a doctor appealed against his suspension from practice on the basis that this had violated his right to “peaceful enjoyment of possessions”.

The GP’s practice had been inspected by his PCT, which suspended him from the “performers list” because of the threat they felt that he posed to the health of his patients. The GP appealed the decision, initially through the English courts, arguing that, in suspending his ability to practise his profession, the PCT had deprived him of his right to peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. The ECHR decided that there was no infringement for four reasons:

  • The GP continued to be paid during his suspension, under the terms of the NHS contract
  • There was a fall in patient numbers during the litigation, but the doctor had failed to prove this was caused by the suspension
  • Even if the fall was caused by the suspension, the GP did not show that this had affected his income
  • While goodwill in the practice might be affected by a fall in patient numbers, that did not affect the doctor as it has no marketable value.

Malik v United Kingdom 23780/08 [2012] ECHR 438 (13 March 2012)