BMJ: Keeping silent at GMC UK hearings could draw “adverse inferences,” says High Court

27 August, 2019

Courtesy of The BMJ, we share a very interesting and important new development in the jurisprudence of doctors appearing before the medical council, which could have major consequences for the handling of complaints against doctors: ‘Keeping silent at GMC hearings could draw “adverse inferences'.

Increasingly what starts in the UK or the West trickles down to LMICs because of historical and other reasons. Most LMICs were once colonised by countries of the West. Therefore LMICs must necessarily take note when ground breaking changes take place in the training, practice and regulation of medicine in western countries: READ ON


"Keeping silent at GMC hearings could draw “adverse inferences,” says High Court

A longstanding belief that doctors could safely remain silent at medical practitioners tribunal hearings and that the panel would not draw negative conclusions from their decision not to give evidence has been overturned by the High Court.

The court has ruled for the first time that there is no “right to silence” at tribunals and that panels are free to draw “adverse inferences” from the fact that a doctor declines to give evidence.

Barrister Christopher Geering, writing on the website of 2 Hare Court chambers, described it as “a dramatic new development.” Solicitors Claire Raftery and Chris Dunn of the law firm Clyde & Co wrote in a blog, “This will have immediate implications for BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 20 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5224

Joseph Ana.


@Health Resources International (HRI) WA.

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HIFA profile: Joseph Ana is the Lead Consultant and Trainer at the Africa Centre for Clinical Governance Research and Patient Safety in Calabar, Nigeria. In 2015 he won the NMA Award of Excellence for establishing 12-Pillar Clinical Governance, Quality and Safety initiative in Nigeria. He has been the pioneer Chairman of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) National Committee on Clinical Governance and Research since 2012. He is also Chairman of the Quality & Performance subcommittee of the Technical Working Group for the implementation of the Nigeria Health Act. He is a pioneer Trustee-Director of the NMF (Nigerian Medical Forum) which took the BMJ to West Africa in 1995. He is particularly interested in strengthening health systems for quality and safety in LMICs. He has written Five books on the 12-Pillar Clinical Governance for LMICs, including a TOOLS for Implementation. He established the Department of Clinical Governance, Servicom & e-health in the Cross River State Ministry of Health, Nigeria in 2007. Website: Joseph is a member of the HIFA Steering Group and the HIFA working group on Community Health Workers.

Email: jneana AT