Following concerns about his professional performance, an anaesthetist was suspended by the hospital trust which employed him and his case was investigated by the GMC’s Fitness to Practise Panel. The Panel determined that the anaesthetist’s fi tness to practise was impaired by reason of his physical or mental health, as a result of his suffering a depressive episode and adjustment disorder, and also by reason of serious defi ciencies in a broad range of areas in his medical practice. The Panel had placed such stringent conditions on the anaesthetist’s registration that these had the effect of preventing him from practising.

The Administrative Court decided that the imposition of such conditions amounted to the anaesthetist’s suspension from medical practice, as he was forbidden from doing anything which his registration allowed him to do. The court held that sanctions of suspension and the imposition of conditions were alternatives and mutually exclusive; a Panel could not impose conditions which had the effect of a suspension by emasculating a doctor’s registration. The Court quashed the conditions and referred the case back to the Panel to reconsider.

Udom v General Medical Council [2009] QBD (Admin)