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Gagging Order?

Colin Campbell
by Colin Campbell on 25/01/19 18:00

Gagging order

A very good friend of mine spoke to me recently and recounted a conversation they had with a solicitor who works for one of the dental and medical defence unions.

For whatever reason, my friend mentioned that they knew me and the response from the solicitor was concern about how loud and noisy I am and how I have a tendency to speak (publish) my thoughts.

My friend asked if the solicitor read my blog and they had no idea that I write a blog, so I’m quite interested to know where their opinion was formed from?

Whilst one should never read reviews about their own work, it is an interesting thing to ponder, is it not?

I’m not blessed with many skills but I do have the particularly ridiculous ability to connect previous and associated pieces of information and snippets.

This one was not so difficult to connect.

During my investigation period through my (first) GDC case (I’ve only had one so far) I was providing an expert report for a high-profile dentist who had their own case.

I had been instructed to provide that report as an expert prior to receiving my own GDC letter and following the production of that report I mentioned to the solicitor associated with the case that I had an investigation at the present time.

I was immediately taken off the case and asked to refund the organisation for the report that I had already produced. Following that they allowed me to keep the cost of the work I had already done!!

It is clearly not in any way in the interests of the defence unions to slow down the run-away train of over regulation and compliance.

Like it or not, if you were a solicitor working for a defence union you would be out of work if people didn’t complain anymore and therefore, whether you think it or not, there is a conscious or unconscious perverse incentive to keep the system running.

You would not like people like me (and some of the much better, more eloquent and more vociferous champions of this cause) to be shouting about the things that are wrong and what we need to do to fix it.

How else could we run cases estimated to cost in the region of £20,000 for multiple days using dental registrants as human tug of war ropes?

We pay the GDC, we pay the defence unions, they keep working and we keep paying.

I spent nearly £7,000 on those organisations last year to keep them running and keep them going and what they would really like me to do is keep my mouth shut.

I have much more to say about this stuff and will continue to do so and test what I believe are the laws of a country, which at least pretends that its citizens have freedom of speech.

Nothing that I write in these pages is bigoted or racist or sexist or harmful to individual people but unless more of us use whatever means we have to call out the inequity and injustice in healthcare regulation we will have less and less healthcare to regulate (today was the day that the BBC published the shocking geographical variation in the amount of General Medical Practitioners available to the population)

In a bizarre turn of events, it turns out that I live in the area (Rushcliffe) which has the highest GMP to population ratio in the country – the best, but the variations are terrible.

The GMC, and in dentistry the GDC, have a responsibility to protect the public, not just in the short term but in the long term. The over-burdening, over regulation is chasing healthcare practitioners away to other countries and to other professions and there is significant evidence of this should they care to look.


Blog Post Number: 1897


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Colin Campbell
Written by Colin Campbell
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