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GMC seeks to overturn decision not to strike off paedophile doctor

It wants the Professional Standards Authority to refer the case to the High Court

Mark Gould

Monday, 19 October 2015

The GMC hopes to mount a high court challenge against the decision by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service Panel (MPTS) not to strike off a consultant cardiologist who was convicted of downloading images of child sexual abuse.

Dr Steven Burn, 53, was arrested after IT staff found 65 illegal images of children on his work computer. He claimed he had been driven to search for the indecent images by the stress of work, but was sacked from his post at Royal Derby Hospital for gross misconduct in June.

But when he appeared before the MPTS, two weeks ago, it was ruled he should not be struck off.

Instead, he was handed a 12 month suspension after pleading with the panel for another chance, telling them he would “rather die than re-offend”.

Now the GMC hopes to mount a high court challenge to the decision. GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: "We strongly disagree with the decision reached by the panel in the case of Dr Steven Burn, the consultant cardiologist. We had called for this doctor to be struck off the medical register and we will do what we can to have the decision changed.

"We believe it is essential that patients can have confidence in the doctors that care for them, and behaviour of this kind cannot be tolerated. To be fair I am sure the vast majority of doctors would agree."

Mr Dickson says the GMC has contacted the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), the authority responsible for overseeing the UK’s healthcare professional regulatory bodies, to ask them to consider referring the case to the High Court and indicating that the GMC would support such an appeal.

From next year, the law will change so that the GMC will have the right to appeal MPTS decisions, where it feels they do not protect patients and the public. "That day cannot come soon enough," Mr Dickson added.

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