Standards of Proof, Medical Ethics and Family Law
At the moment to disqualify a doctor requires evidence beyond reasonable doubt (the criminal standard). However, to remove children from parents requires evidence on the balance of probabilities.
I am aware of a number of cases where totally rubbishy medical opinion has been used to remove children from parents.
I am to some extent persuaded of the need of stronger standards of proof for permanent actions (such as disqualifying doctors or removing children from their family for ever).
The big issue for me, however, is why that the GMC has not acted (and still does not respond to my reference) on some of the research managed by David Southall. There is a hearing on 13th November. However, it is not going to consider research project E5 in Sir David Hull's report.
The law in terms of defamation on these issues is relatively complex. References to bodies such as the GMC have qualified privilege which means that if they are not malicious, but in error then they do not form cause for a defamation action. Anything which is part of proceedings in parliament (such as an Early Day Motion) is covered by absolute privilege. One legal debate in my JR on questions is what the definition of proceedings is.
I think, however, that there will come a point where I might just publish the details of the allegations. I will give the GMC a little longer to respond.