en English

Day 28 of Dr Webberley’s MPTS hearing sees a turning point: It is now the defence’s turn to present their testimony. Following an inconsistent and contradictory series of witnesses from the GMC, we look forward to seeing who the defence will bring to bear.

First, however, discussions must be had over what evidence and which allegations are admissible going forward. Mr Stern QC, the counsel for the defence, made the entirely reasonable point that many of the allegations being investigated lack the evidence to prove them.

 

 

For instance, the allegation that Dr Webberley inadequately assessed Patient E while working for Dr Matt Ltd are based on records that have been proven to be incomplete. The GMC did not inquire into the whereabouts of these records until 2021 – four years after the events in question. By this point Dr Matt had closed in April 2017 and the data had been deleted as a matter of course three months later. Mr Stern QC pointed out that the GMC have brought an allegation against Dr Webberley based on incomplete admin records, rather than Doctor’s records.

Furthermore, Dr Webberley is accused of failing to notify Frosts Pharmacy of her suspension. However, the contract was not between Frosts and Dr Webberley, but between Frosts and Online GP Services Ltd, a company of which Dr Webberley was not the only GP. There was also no legal stipulation in the suspension that Dr Webberley inform Frosts. The suspension mandated that she not provide NHS services, and she clearly did not – it is unclear on what basis this allegation is being upheld. Likewise, she is accused of failing to notify the Health Board of the investigation by the GMC, when it is abundantly clear from the Health Board’s records that they were fully aware of the suspension. The letter of suspension Dr Webberley received from the GMC informed her that the Health Board had also been apprised of the investigation. No one seems to be denying that the Health board were fully aware of the investigation from the start – however the GMC appear keen to catch Dr Webberley out on a technicality.

 

 

Among the allegations are the charges that GenderGP’s website had no reference to an accredited paediatrician or a safeguarding policy. Mr Stern pointed to evidence relating to the GenderGP website, clearly showing the safeguarding policy, however he also stated there is no duty to provide these references. That is to say, the allegations are not actually based on a failure of any duty or violation of any law.

In a similar vein is the allegation that Dr Webberley avoided registering her online service in the UK. This was made on the grounds that she did not try to register it with the CQC – but seems to ignore the fact that she did try, several times, to register with Health Inspectorate Wales given that Wales is where her services were based. In fact, as we’ve seen recently from the testimony of Liam Stratton, Dr Webberley was told she would not need to, nor be able to register with the CQC. Dr Webberley was investigated by the HIW during her attempts to register the service. The absurdity of accusing someone of not registering with a regulatory body while that person was in the process of registering with said body, led Mr Stern QC to call the whole situation kafkaesque, and call for the allegation to be thrown out.

 

 

Day 29 opened with Mr Jackson QC attempting to introduce new evidence, despite having closed the GMC’s case last Friday. Mr Stern QC pointed out that the GMC had four years to build a case and that it would be unfair at such a late stage in the hearing to allow them to introduce evidence that had been available to them prior. The Tribunal took a recess to consider Mr Jackson’s submission then they returned and announced that they were rejecting it. Mr Jackson contested that there was an obligation under the Good Medical practice Guidelines for Dr Webberley to have included references to a paediatrician on the GenderGP website and to also have a child safeguarding policy on the site.

Mr Stern QC pointed out that there is such a policy on the site but that even if there wasn’t there is no requirement under law that a website like GenderGP make reference to a paediatrician or to any particular policies. As was pointed out by several people online, many GPs online presence don’t make reference to either of these things. Some asked will offending GPs and medical practitioners expect to find themselves before the GMC for failing to mention paediatricians on their websites as well, or is this requirement solely being applied to Dr Webberley? As Mr Stern QC stated, there is no requirement under law to do with either of the things that Dr Webberley is being accused of doing.

 

 

Mr Stern indicated that he felt the GMC had not acted as one would expect a responsible regulatory body to when they discovered that they lacked the complete Doctor Patient records. Instead the GMC are trying accusing Dr Webberley of poor care based solely on incomplete admin records from a long-defunct company.

 

 

The Chair of the Tribunal offered instruction to the rest of the panel and the Tribunal adjourned until *Friday. The Tribunal will make a decision as to which, if any of the allegations will be addressed by the defence during the second part of the hearing. We return on Friday to hear the tribunal’s decision.

*Adjourned until Monday.