Tuesday, 1 July 2014

European Court of Human Rights upholds French ban on wearing of veil in public. Bravo!!!!

We have good news from the European Court of Human Rights: The court upheld French ban on the wearing of veil in public places.
hijab : A veiled woman isolated on a white background Stock PhotoAt the same time, we observe the sad state of affairs in England and other parts of the world where abuses of human rights continue and people even die because of religious privileges which allow inappropriate wearing of religious clothes. For example, in UK medical regulator, the General Medical Council persecuted for many years a whistle-blower, Dr Helen Bright, a psychiatrist after she objected to the wearing of religious uniforms by mental health workers when working with mentally ill people.  Finally, the regulator struck her off medical register although she never harmed any patients. Her research on religious uniforms was published although condemned by regulator as serious professional misconduct. Oh, well. Pity so many died needlessly and continue to do so. Especially, men who are three to four times more likely than women to commit suicides in UK. Over 80% of victims of sexual abuse by clergy are men. The system, obviously works against them.


Press release from European Court of Human Rights:
issued by the Registrar of the Court
ECHR 191 (2014)
01.07.2014
French ban on the wearing in public of clothing designed
to conceal one’s face does not breach the Convention
In today’s Grand Chamber judgment in the case of S.A.S. v. France (application no. 43835/11), which
is final1, the European Court of Human Rights held,
by a majority, that there had been no violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family
life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and no violation of Article 9 (right to respect for
freedom of thought, conscience and religion);
unanimously, that there had been no violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the
European Convention combined with Articles 8 or 9.
The case concerned the complaint of a French national, who is a practising Muslim, that she is no
longer allowed to wear the full-face veil in public following the entry into force, on 11 April 2011, of
a law prohibiting the concealment of one’s face in public places (Law no. 2010-1192 of 11 October
2010).
The Court emphasised that respect for the conditions of “living together” was a legitimate aim for
the measure at issue and that, particularly as the State had a lot of room for manoeuvre (“a wide
margin of appreciation”) as regards this general policy question on which there were significant
differences of opinion, the ban imposed by the Law of 11 October 2010 did not breach the
Convention.
Principal facts
The applicant is a French national who was born in 1990 and lives in France. She is a devout Muslim
and in her submissions she said that she wore the burqa and niqab in accordance with her religious
faith, culture and personal convictions. As she explained, the burqa is a full-body covering including a
mesh over the face, and the niqab is a full-face veil leaving an opening only for the eyes. The
applicant also emphasised that neither her husband nor any other member of her family put
pressure on her to dress in this manner. She added that she wore the niqab in public and in private,
but not systematically. She was thus content not to wear the niqab in certain circumstances but
wished to be able to wear it when she chose to do so. Lastly, her aim was not to annoy others but to
feel at inner peace with herself.
Complaints, procedure and composition of the Court
Relying in particular on Articles 8 (right to respect for private and family life), 9 (freedom of thought,
conscience and religion) and 10 (freedom of expression), the applicant complained that she was
unable to wear the full-face veil in public. Lastly, under Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) she
complained that the ban led to discrimination on grounds of sex, religion and ethnic origin, to the
detriment of women who, like herself, wore the full-face veil.
The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 11 April 2011.
On 28 May 2013 the Chamber to which the case had been allocated relinquished jurisdiction in
favour of the Grand Chamber. A public hearing took place before the Grand Chamber in the Human
1 Grand Chamber judgments are final (Article 44 of the Convention).
All final judgments are transmitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for supervision of their
execution. Further information about the execution process can be found here: www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/execution
2
Rights Building, Strasbourg, on 27 November 2013. The following were authorised to intervene as
third parties (under Article 36 § 2 of the Convention) in the written procedure: the Belgian
Government, the Human Rights Centre of the University of Ghent, and the non-governmental
organisations Amnesty international, ARTICLE 19, Liberty, and Open Society Justice Initiative.
Judgment was given by the Grand Chamber of 17 judges, composed as follows:
Dean Spielmann (Luxembourg), President,
Josep Casadevall (Andorra),
Guido Raimondi (Italy),
Ineta Ziemele (Latvia),
Mark Villiger (Liechtenstein),
Boštjan M. Zupančič (Slovenia),
Elisabeth Steiner (Austria),
Khanlar Hajiyev (Azerbaijan),
Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska (the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”),
Ledi Bianku (Albania),
Ganna Yudkivska (Ukraine),
Angelika Nußberger (Germany),
Erik Møse (Norway),
André Potocki (France),
Paul Lemmens (Belgium),
Helena Jäderblom (Sweden),
Aleš Pejchal (the Czech Republic),
and also Erik Fribergh, Registrar.
Decision of the Court
The Government questioned the applicant’s status as “victim”, particularly as no individual measure
had been taken against her pursuant to the Law of 11 October 2010. The Court dismissed that
preliminary objection. It reiterated that individuals were entitled to argue that a law breached their
rights if they were required either to modify their conduct or risk being prosecuted, or if they were
part of a category of persons who risked being directly affected by the legislation at issue. The
present application was not therefore an actio popularis2. The Court also dismissed the
Government’s preliminary objections alleging a failure to exhaust domestic remedies and an abuse
of the right of individual application.
The Court further declared inadmissible the applicant’s complaints under Articles 3 (prohibition of
inhuman or degrading treatment) and 11 (freedom of assembly and association), taken separately
and together with Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination).
Articles 8 and 9
The Court examined the applicant’s complaints under Articles 8 and 9, with emphasis on the latter.
While personal choices as to one’s appearance related to the expression of an individual’s
personality, and thus fell within the notion of private life, the applicant had complained that she was
prevented from wearing in public places clothing that she was required to wear by her religion, thus
mainly raising an issue with regard to the freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs.
The Court found that there had been a “continuing interference” with the exercise of the applicant’s
rights under Articles 8 and 9, as she was confronted with a dilemma: either she complied with the
ban and thus refrained from dressing in accordance with her approach to religion, or she refused to
2 Action by which an individual challenges in abstract terms the law or legal practice of a State in the collective interest.
3
comply and would face criminal sanctions. The Court further noted that the limitation in question
was prescribed by the Law of 11 October 2010.
The Court accepted that the interference pursued two of the legitimate aims listed in Articles 8 and
9: “public safety” and the “protection of the rights and freedoms of others”.
As regards the aim of “public safety”, the Court noted that the legislature had sought, by passing the
Law in question, to satisfy the need to identify individuals in order to prevent danger for the safety
of persons and property and to combat identity fraud. It considered, however, that the ban was not
“necessary in a democratic society” in order to fulfil that aim. In the Court’s opinion, in view of its
impact on the rights of women who wished to wear the full-face veil for religious reasons, a blanket
ban on the wearing in public places of clothing designed to conceal one’s face could be regarded as
proportionate only in a context where there was a general threat to public safety. The Government
had not shown that the ban introduced by the Law of 11 October 2010 fell into such a context. As to
the women concerned, they were thus obliged to give up completely an element of their identity
that they considered important, together with their chosen manner of manifesting their religion or
beliefs, whereas the objective alluded to by the Government could be attained by a mere obligation
to show their face and to identify themselves where a risk for the safety of persons and property
was established, or where particular circumstances prompted a suspicion of identity fraud.
As to the “protection of the rights and freedoms of others”, the Government referred to the need to
ensure “respect for the minimum set of values of an open democratic society”, listing three values in
that connection: respect for gender equality, respect for human dignity and respect for the
minimum requirements of life in society (or of “living together”). While dismissing the arguments
relating to the first two of those values, the Court accepted that the barrier raised against others by
a veil concealing the face in public could undermine the notion of “living together”. In that
connection, it indicated that it took into account the State’s submission that the face played a
significant role in social interaction. The Court was also able to understand the view that individuals
might not wish to see, in places open to all, practices or attitudes which would fundamentally call
into question the possibility of open interpersonal relationships, which, by virtue of an established
consensus, formed an indispensable element of community life within the society in question. The
Court was therefore able to accept that the barrier raised against others by a veil concealing the face
was perceived by the respondent State as breaching the right of others to live in a space of
socialisation which made living together easier. It added, however, that in view of the flexibility of
the notion of “living together” and the resulting risk of abuse, it had to engage in a careful
examination of the necessity of the measure at issue.
Proceeding with that examination, the Court had to ascertain, in particular, whether the ban was
proportionate to the aim pursued. It admitted that it might appear excessive, in view of the small
number of women concerned, to opt for a blanket ban. It further noted that the ban had a
significant negative impact on the situation of women who chose to wear the full-face veil for
reasons related to their beliefs, and that many national and international human rights bodies3
regarded a blanket ban as disproportionate. The Court also stated that it was very concerned by
indications that the debate which preceded the adoption of the Law of 11 October 2010 had been
marked by certain Islamophobic remarks. It emphasised in this connection that a State which
entered into a legislative process of this kind took the risk of contributing to the consolidation of the
stereotypes which affected specific groups of people and of encouraging the expression of
intolerance, when it had a duty, on the contrary, to promote tolerance. The Court reiterated that
remarks which constituted a general, vehement attack on a religious or ethnic group were
3 Among others, the French National Advisory Commission on Human Rights (see paragraphs 18-19 of the judgment), nongovernmental
organisations such as the third-party interveners, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
(paragraphs 35-36) and the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe (paragraph 37).
4
incompatible with the Convention’s underlying values of tolerance, social peace and nondiscrimination
and did not fall within the right to freedom of expression that it protected.
While the Court was aware that the disputed ban mainly affected certain Muslim women, it
nevertheless noted that there was no restriction on the freedom to wear in public any item of
clothing which did not have the effect of concealing the face and that the ban was not expressly
based on the religious connotation of the clothing in question but solely on the fact that it concealed
the face. In addition, the sanctions provided for by the Law were among the lightest that could have
been envisaged: a fine of 150 euros maximum and the possible obligation to follow a citizenship
course, in addition to or instead of the fine. Furthermore, as the question whether or not it should
be permitted to wear the full-face veil in public places constituted a choice of society, France had a
wide margin of appreciation. In such circumstances, the Court had a duty to exercise a degree of
restraint in its review of Convention compliance, since such review led it to assess a balance that had
been struck by means of a democratic process within the society in question. In the Court’s view, the
lack of common ground between the member States of the Council of Europe as to the question of
the wearing of the full-face veil in public places4 supported its finding that the State had a wide
margin of appreciation. The ban complained of could therefore be regarded as proportionate to the
aim pursued, namely the preservation of the conditions of “living together”. The Court held that
there had not been a violation of either Article 8 or Article 9 of the Convention.
Other Articles
The ban imposed by the Law of 11 October 2010 admittedly had specific negative effects on the
situation of Muslim women who, for religious reasons, wished to wear the full-face veil in public.
However, that measure had an objective and reasonable justification for the reasons previously
indicated. There had not therefore been a violation of Article 14 taken together with Articles 8 or 9.
The Court was also of the view that no separate issue arose under Article 10 of the Convention,
taken separately or together with Article 14.
Separate opinion
Judges Nuβberger and Jäderblom expressed a joint dissenting opinion, which is annexed to the
judgment.
The judgment is available in English and French.
This press release is a document produced by the Registry. It does not bind the Court. Decisions, judgments
and further information about the Court can be found on www.echr.coe.int. To receive the Court’s press
releases, please subscribe here: www.echr.coe.int/RSS/en or follow us on Twitter @ECHRpress.
Press contacts
echrpress@echr.coe.int | tel: +33 3 90 21 42 08
Céline Menu-Lange (tel: + 33 3 3 90 21 58 77)
Tracey Turner-Tretz (tel: + 33 3 88 41 35 30)
Nina Salomon (tel: + 33 3 90 21 49 79)
Denis Lambert (tel: + 33 3 90 21 41 09)
The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg by the Council of Europe Member States in 1959 to deal
with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights.
4 From a strictly normative standpoint, except for Belgium, no member State of the Council of Europe other than France
has, to date, opted for a ban on the wearing of the full-face veil in public. This question, nevertheless, is or has been a
subject of debate in a number of European States (see §§ 40-52 of the judgment).

Monday, 23 June 2014

Assisted Dying Bill and Dr Michael Irwin

MichaelIrwinDr Michael Irwin (photograph on the left, click on it to read more) worked as the medical director at United Nations. He is known for his humanitarian work in assisted dying which led to him being struck off medical register by the General Medical Council. He campaigned tirelessly for the right to die before and since. Now, new proposed changes (private bill by Lord Falconer) in law would mean that at least those with mental capacity and physical ability to take medication that would end their life would be able to do so if they have less than six months to live. Doctors would be allowed to prescribe such medication but not administer it themselves.
Dr Michael Irwin is a prominent member of the National Secular Society(NSS). Each year Irwin Prize, which he funds, is awarded to a prominent secularist.  Recently, NSS wrote about him HERE 
And here is the judgment by the General Medical Council to erase him from the medical register:
 
Fitness to PractiSe Panel
26 – 27 September 2005
Hearing Room 2, Regent’s Park, 350 Euston Road, London


Name of Respondent Doctor:       Dr Michael Henry Knox IRWIN

Registered Qualifications:              MB BS 1955 Lond

Registration Number:                      0014922

Type of Case:                                     New Misconduct/Caution

Panel Members:                                Professor K Hobbs, Chairman (Medical)
                                                               Mr R Bergman (Lay)         
                                                               Mr M Chapman (Lay)
                                                               Dr M Johnson (Medical)
                                                               Mrs L Lloyd (Lay)
                                                              
Legal Assessor:                                Mr R Hay    

Secretary to the Panel:                    Christine Challis

Representation:
GMC: Miss Alison Foster QC, instructed by GMCLegal represented the GMC

Doctor: Dr Irwin was present and not represented

allegation
A.

“That you were on 6 July 2004, at Guildford Police Station, cautioned for an offence, which you admitted, that on 18 October 2003 at Cranleigh in Surrey, had in your possession 30 20mg tablets of Temazepam, a controlled drug of class C, with intent to supply it to Mr PK.” Admitted and found proved

B.

“And that, being registered under the Medical Act 1983,

‘1.        On the dates specified in the allegations set out below, you were a UK registered medical practitioner; Admitted and found proved

‘2.        You were interviewed under caution by the Surrey and Sussex Police on 2 March 2004; Admitted and found proved

‘3.        At the interview under caution you admitted that,

a.         On 18 October 2003 and at Moss Pharmacy, Cranleigh, Surrey, you submitted a prescription for and obtained, in your own name and using your GMC registration number, 30 x 20mg tablets of Temazepam, Admitted and found proved

b.                  You travelled to Isle of Man on/about 19 October 2003 to visit
Mr PK, Admitted and found proved

c.         On your visit to the Isle of Man you had in your possession, a quantity of approximately 60 Temazepam tablets, which included the 30 x 20mg tablets obtained by you on 18 October 2003 at Moss Pharmacy, Cranleigh, Admitted and found proved

d.         You intended to supply Mr K with the quantity of Temazepam to assist him to commit suicide, Admitted and found proved

e.         i.          you also obtained travel-sickness tablets to provide to
Mr K to take with the Temazepam, Admitted and found proved

ii.         the travel sickness tablets would have assisted Mr K to hold down the Temazepam, which may otherwise have been difficult for him; Admitted and found proved

‘4.        You did not eventually supply to Mr K, the Temazepam that you had intended to supply to him, as he had become too ill to take it himself; Admitted and found proved

‘5.        On 6 July 2004, you accepted a caution from Surrey Police, for the offence of having in your possession with the intent to supply to Mr K, a Class C controlled drug, namely Temazepam; Admitted and found proved

‘6.        Your actions as set out at paragraphs 3.a., c., d. and e. above were,

a.         Unprofessional, Found proved

b.         Inappropriate, Found proved

c.         Irresponsible, Found proved

d.         Likely to bring the profession into disrepute; Found proved

[In reaching its findings in relation to allegations 6a, b, c and d, the Panel took into account the undisputed evidence that you obtained in your own name Temazepam, a Class C controlled drug, immediately before travelling to the Isle of Man intending to supply it to Mr K.  This was an act of deception.  Moreover, on 6 July 2004 you admitted an offence contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and, as a consequence, you were cautioned at Guildford Police Station. 

It is for these reasons that the Panel has found your actions in relation to allegations 3a, c, d and e to be unprofessional, inappropriate, irresponsible and likely to bring the profession into disrepute].

 ‘7.       You self-prescribed, during 2003, approximately 140 20mg tablets of Temazepam, using your GMC registration; Admitted and found proved

‘8.        At the interview under caution on 2 March 2004, you further admitted that,

a.         You had self-prescribed and obtained, using your GMC registration, 20 Temazepam tablets on 13 December 2003, being the day after your arrest, Admitted and found proved

b.         You had been self-prescribing Temazepam over a period of time, for the purposes of stockpiling it; Found proved

‘9.        On 25 January 2005, you self-prescribed and obtained, using your GMC registration, 30 x 20mg tablets of Temazepam, from Lloyds Pharmacy, Hove; Admitted and found proved

‘10.      On 31 January 2005, you self-prescribed and obtained, using your GMC registration, 30 x 20mg tablets of Temazepam, from Glaibyer and Kemp Dispensing Chemists, Hove; Admitted and found proved

‘11.      Your actions as set out at paragraphs 7. to 10. above were,

a.         Inappropriate, Found proved

b.         Irresponsible, Found proved

c.         Unprofessional;’ Found proved

[In reaching its findings in relation to allegations 11a, b and c, the Panel has taken account of your evidence that you self-prescribed Temazepam over a period of time with the intention of stockpiling the drug for your own use.  The Panel finds that the quantities self-prescribed were excessive.  Moreover, it is concerned that you kept these large quantities of Temazepam without secure storage arrangements.  Temazepam is a drug of addiction with a street value in the illicit drugs trade.  It is for these reasons that the Panel has found your actions to be inappropriate, irresponsible and unprofessional. ]




Determination on impaired fitness to practise

“Dr Irwin

The Panel has considered the submissions made by Miss Foster, your own comments to the Panel and the advice of the Legal Assessor.  The Panel has determined that your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of your misconduct and the Police caution.

The Panel found that the Police caution and your misconduct were sufficient for it to determine that your fitness to practise is impaired.  Indeed, the Panel regard either of these matters individually as serious enough to amount to impairment.

The Panel has referred to the May 2001 edition of ‘Good Medical Practice’; in particular it has noted the requirements that a medical practitioner must be honest and trustworthy and avoid abusing his position as a doctor.  Furthermore, paragraph 11 of the same edition states: “Some parts of medical practice are governed by law or are regulated by other statutory bodies.  You must observe and keep up to date with the laws and statutory codes of practice which affect your work”.  The Panel is of the view that you have been in breach of these requirements by committing the serious criminal offence of possessing Temazepam, a class C controlled drug with intent to supply.  This resulted in the Police caution. 

Furthermore, you admitted that you dishonestly self-prescribed this drug ostensibly for your own use when in fact it was intended for another. This, together with your repeated self-prescribing of supplies of Temazepam for the purposes of stockpiling for your own use against the advice of your general practitioner, amounts to an abuse of the trust placed in you as a doctor.  In all the circumstances, you have abused your position as a doctor.

The Panel will now invite further submissions from Miss Foster as to the appropriate sanction, if any, to be imposed on your registration.  Following Miss Foster’s submissions you will be given the opportunity to respond and to call any evidence if you wish to do so.

As is usual in these proceedings, the Panel will expect both parties to make reference to the GMC’s Indicative Sanctions Guidance when making submissions.“

Determination on sanction

“Dr Irwin

The Panel hereby revokes the order for the suspension of your registration made by the Interim Orders Panel on 3 February 2005.

On 6 July 2004 you were cautioned at Guildford Police Station for an offence under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.  You had admitted that on 18 October 2003 you had in your possession 30 x 20 mg tablets of Temazepam, a controlled drug of class C, with intent to supply it to Mr PK.

When you were interviewed under caution by the Surrey and Sussex Police on
2 March 2004 you admitted that on 18 October 2003 at Moss Pharmacy, Cranleigh, Surrey, you self-prescribed using your GMC registration number and obtained
30 x 20mg tablets of Temazepam, a class C controlled drug. 

You travelled to the Isle of Man on 19 October 2003 to visit Mr PK and you had in your possession, a quantity of approximately 60 Temazepam tablets.  You have admitted that you intended to supply Mr K with the Temazepam to assist him to commit suicide.  You also obtained travel-sickness tablets to provide for
Mr K to take with the Temazepam to facilitate his oral retention of the tablets.  In the event you did not supply to Mr K the Temazepam as he had become too ill to take it himself.

The Panel has found that your actions as set out above were unprofessional, inappropriate, irresponsible and likely to bring the profession into disrepute.

You also admitted that you self-prescribed, during 2003, approximately 140 20mg tablets of Temazepam, using your GMC registration.  At the interview under caution on 2 March 2004, you further admitted that you had self-prescribed and obtained, using your GMC registration, 20 Temazepam tablets on 13 December 2003, the day after your arrest. 

On 25 January 2005 and 31 January 2005, you self-prescribed and obtained from different pharmacies using your GMC registration, 30 x 20mg tablets of Temazepam on each occasion.   You issued the prescriptions immediately before the scheduled hearing of your case before the Interim Orders Panel on 3 February 2005. You had been self-prescribing Temazepam over a period of time, for the purposes of stockpiling it.

The Panel has found that your actions were inappropriate, irresponsible and unprofessional.

In all the circumstances, your actions fell well below the standard expected of a registered medical practitioner and the Panel determined that by reason of the Police caution and the above misconduct, your fitness to practise is impaired. 

The Panel has referred to the May 2001 edition of ‘Good Medical Practice’; in particular it has noted the requirements that a medical practitioner must be honest and trustworthy and avoid abusing his position as a doctor.  Furthermore, paragraph 11 of the same edition states: “Some parts of medical practice are governed by law or are regulated by other statutory bodies.  You must observe and keep up to date with the laws and statutory codes of practice which affect your work”.  The Panel has found that you have been in breach of these requirements by committing the serious criminal offence of possessing Temazepam, a class C controlled drug with intent to supply. 

Furthermore, you admitted that you dishonestly self-prescribed this drug ostensibly for your own use when in fact it was intended for another. This, together with your repeated self-prescribing of supplies of Temazepam for the purposes of stockpiling for your own use against the advice of your general practitioner, amounts to an abuse of the trust placed in you as a doctor.  In all the circumstances, you have abused your position as a doctor.

Medical practitioners have a duty to act honestly and within the law, and uphold the trust placed in them.  The matters before this Panel are serious and give rise to a clear and obvious risk to patients and could seriously undermine the confidence and trust that the public is entitled to place in the medical profession. 

The Panel was concerned also about your lack of insight into the seriousness of your actions and your lack of professional judgement. 

The Panel has considered the submissions made by Miss Foster on behalf of the GMC as to the appropriate sanction it should impose, your comments to the Panel and the advice of the Legal Assessor.  The Panel has also had regard to the GMC’s Indicative Sanctions Guidance and the GMC’s publication ‘Good Medical Practice’. The Panel is conscious of the fact that the purpose of sanctions is not to be punitive, but to protect patients and the public interest. Public interest includes not only the protection of patients but also the maintenance of public confidence in the profession, and declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct. 

In determining the appropriate sanction in your case, the Panel first considered whether it would be sufficient to place conditions on your registration.  In doing so it has had regard to the issue of proportionality and has balanced the interests of patients and the public interest against your interests. Any conditions would need to be appropriate, proportionate, workable and measurable. The Panel considers that your actions were so serious that it is insufficient, in the public interest, to impose this sanction. Further, the Panel considers that it would not be possible to formulate any appropriate conditions. 

The Panel then went on to consider whether it would be sufficient to direct that your registration be suspended.  Your actions amounted to a serious abuse of your position of trust. The Panel is concerned that you do not fully accept the seriousness and potential consequences of your actions for which you have expressed no remorse.  The Panel has also concluded that there would be no remedial value to a suspension of registration.

Your actions were:

  • A serious departure from the relevant professional standards set out in Good Medical Practice
  • An abuse of position of trust
  • Dishonest
  • An indication of persistent lack of insight

The Panel has therefore concluded that it would not be sufficient to suspend your registration.  Accordingly, the Panel has no alternative but to direct the erasure of your name from the medical register.

This means that, unless you exercise your right of appeal, this direction will take effect 28 days from when written notice of this determination is deemed to have been served upon you.  A note explaining your right of appeal will be provided to you.

Having reached a decision that your name should be erased from the medical register, the Panel is minded to consider whether your registration should also be suspended immediately. The Panel will now invite submissions from Miss Foster and then from you, Dr Irwin, on this matter.”

Determination on immediate sanction

“Dr Irwin

The Panel has considered the submissions made by Miss Foster as to whether or not the Panel should direct that your registration be suspended with immediate effect.  The Panel notes that you do not oppose this course of action.

In view of the serious nature of matters for which you received a Police caution and the findings in relation to your misconduct, the Panel considers that it is necessary, for the protection of members of the public, in the public interest and in your own interests, to exercise its powers under section 38 (1) of the Medical Act 1983, as amended.  The Panel has therefore directed that your registration shall be suspended with effect from today.

The effect of this direction is that your registration will be suspended from today.  Unless you exercise your right of appeal, the direction for the erasure of your name from the Medical Register as previously announced, will take effect on the expiry of the 28 day appeal period.

That concludes the hearing.”



Confirmed


October 2005                                                                                                    Chairman


Monday, 21 April 2014

Foreign/ethnic doctors in permanent danger in UK

   
Recently, British Medical Journal (BMJ) published several articles about foreign doctors' high failure rates in British specialists' exams and their very high presence in the disciplinary proceedings before the General Medical Council (GMC), regulator of medical profession. GMC decides which doctors should have the right to practice medicine in UK as registered doctors. The failure rates in some of the professional exams are just an amazing: fifteen fold difference, for example, in Clinical Skills Assessment as administered by The Royal College of General Practitioners. The research above was funded by GMC and published by the medical trade union, British Medical Association, owners of BMJ. Some of the researchers are of the opinion that foreign men (doctors) should work twice as hard to be likely to pass British specialists' exams. However, in today's Times a doctor, Shaukhat Ali writes that in an experiment 50% of British medical graduates failed PLAB test, the same test that GMC demands non EU doctors pass before being allowed to be registered with them.

Nobody has come forward to admit it is their fault that foreign/ethnic doctors perform so poorly in British exams, or to say they are responsible for so many foreign doctors being subjected to disciplinary procedures leading to sanctions on their practice. 75% of those erased from UK's medical register are from ethnic minorities.

So, what is the solution to these problems?

It appears to the author of this article that one should take a lesson from the Chinese students in Hong Kong. Firstly, they got rid of the British rule and then, over 70% employed private tutors. Now Hong Kong students have the first place in the world in mathematics, science and reading.

While some foreign doctors do see reality in UK promptly and flee to the better countries, others take a long time to realize that they will never win through the British courts, even if they try. It is not enough to be clever, to have evidence, good lawyers and money. Judges in the UK courts have commitment to denying that there is racial/ethnic discrimination. It is as if in their minds the preservation of the medical institutions' reputation is paramount.

The General Medical Council do their best to keep poor records of doctors' ethnicity. The so called independent information regulator and courts collude with them. The mortality rate in those facing disciplinary procedures before GMC in twenty times higher than that of the normal British working age population. It is as if specific targeting of some doctors has occurred. There is evidence in policy making that indeed, this is the case. We are aware that some unlawful targeting has occurred.

The government must have public interest at heart and supply adequate numbers of doctors whatever their nationality, but medical profession works against it in order to decrease the supply of doctors and increase the price of their own services. In other countries in Europe one can get better private medical care and at a lower cost. It is not a secret. One of the principles of European Treaty is to increase competition in order to increase prosperity of the citizens but this is not what the UK medical regulator wants. Like those who write poisonous letters of complaints against foreign doctors to GMC they want conformity, not excellence. Even when evidence is sent to GMC showing that patients are dying and will continue to die because of some poor UK practise GMC would insist for decades that a foreign doctor is guilty of serious professional misconduct in order to deflect the responsibility from those really culpable. International scientific community may regard a doctor to be impressive but GMC would stick to their guns that doctor's innovative thinking is nothing more than serious professional misconduct. GMC is a body with no moral conscience. You will not hear their executives pleading before Parliament to allow them to correct their mistakes when they punish the wrong doctor and allow the local medical mobbing gangs to escape.

One of the expressed interests of GMC is education but they, actually, actively work against the education of foreign doctors. A good example of that is the ethnic doctor who trained in UK as a medical doctor but whom they convicted of serious professional misconduct because she wanted better administration of how status of educational supervisors was regulated. The Royal College of Psychiatrists would not issue certificates to Educational Supervisors in order to prevent foreign doctors teaching (even when the same foreign doctor had the status of educational supervisor before when in permanent NHS consultant post). In a fury, GMC convicted doctor to be supervised herself for over 4 years and then struck her off the medical register for refusing to comply with their wicked demands.

This doctor learned only when she became NHS Consultant that she is meant to give one hour per week of supervision to her junior doctor on one to one basis. She never had it in six years of her training. What is happening in UK is very easy to explain: NHS Trusts get the money from the government to train junior doctors. This training should include one hour of personal supervision (teaching by Consultant, not based on patients under their care already) per week. Clinical supervision of juniors occurs in ward rounds, and multidisciplinary meetings in addition.

So, unlike the Chinese in Hong Kong who got personal private tutors, foreigners/ethnic doctors in UK are undereducated when it comes to the specialists exams.

The additional factors may be present too, such as discrimination in oral exams when examiners actually see and hear the foreign doctor. All of these exams should be recorded and the copies given to those being examined. Why not if there is nothing to hide?

Suffering from oppression can lead to anxiety and depression and poor performance not just in IQ tests but in medical exams. Poor motivation can lead to poor remembering. How motivated can one be when anticipating that one would be trashed?






Friday, 11 April 2014

BAPIO loses High Court battle against RCGPs and GMC

The action against alleged racial/ethnic discrimination in the examination for the general practitioners' membership exam of The Royal College of General Practitioners filed by BAPIO (British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) ended with a loss and a considerate advise from the judge that the RCGPs could address the differences in the pass rates between those who are white UK graduates and non-white non- UK graduates. Neither RCGPs nor GMC said anything against not talking about it.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Rat takes the train, men start screeming and climbing on the seats

 wharf rat cartoon humor: Rat: 'So...your Sewer or mine?'             A bit of a shock on New York underground train when passengers noticed a rat taking the train with them (Click HERE to watch) . Rats are social and intelligent animals and would leave the train like everybody else eventually.
Recently, a mouse entered my house and was a bit noisy at times seeking company and following me from one room to another especially in the evening. I fed it and watered it but also wondered what to do with it. As it liked to be under the washing machine in the kitchen one evening I opened the door to the garden and left it open for a couple of hours. It left, presumably, looking for better company and more interesting environment. So, mouse traps are probably, not necessary in every situation.
There are people who like training wild mice to do tricks as they learn much faster than a dog would. Click HERE to watch them perform some tricks.
There are some domestic animals like cats who use public transport every day on their own initiative.Read here.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/pets/8958012/Owner-surprised-to-find-cat-regularly-catches-bus.html

Sunday, 6 April 2014

The Shame of the Church - New York Times video report


 http://www.snapnetwork.org/snap_regional_offices/blaine-bio.html


We received the link to this important video published by New York Times from SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests). The President is Barbara Blaine (photo on the right, click on it to read more about her work).
Click HERE to watch The Shame of the Church).
It does not look like anything radical is going to happen unless there is a proper scrutiny of judiciary at international court that would be prepared to deal with this criminal offending against children on a large scale. International Criminal Court in Hague even had a judge who had supported in some ways pedophile network exchange.
In this document the court sets out how they would like to be understood with respect to their functions: HERE
However, when courts receive applications that need corrections they could ask for application to be corrected, for example, to include allegations of crimes that happened only after 2002 (establishment of the court).
It also appears that because of the attitudinal problems to rape, not just of women, but also men (more relevant perhaps, to abuse of boys by clergy who are the majority of the victims of abuse by clergy) a special division should be formed at ICC to deal with sexual crimes and those against children. Expertise and training of the judges is required in order to understand psychological manifestations of trauma and attitudinal problems that exist socially to male rape (denials in particular) and female rape. The court needs to appoint a judge who is not fearful and unprepared to compromise on children's anywhere in this world.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Mr Ben Cowburn, Cornwall Coroner's Inquest, Dr Peter Jefferys evidence and the trail of suicides



    Updated 30-3-2014

 
Dr Emma Carlyon, Cornwall Coroner, conducted inquest into the death by suicide of Mr Ben Cowburn. Court proceedings have been reported widely in the press and on the Internet drawing criticism from Conservative MP Priti Patel because of the Coroner's decision not to disclose the name of a man whose conduct towards Mr Ben Cowburn was at least questioned by some. However, The Needle blog exposed the name here:
http://theneedleblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/ben-cowburn-and-the-x-factor/
It was inevitable that bloggers would investigate and expose court secrecy. The Needle has a mission statement:
 A needle can lance a boil or it can burst a balloon, in the hands of a pathologist it can draw blood, and in the hands of a doctor it can vaccinate a child.


Mr Ben Cowburn made numerous pleas for help to health professionals and law enforcement agents to whom he reported that he was raped. When questioned by coroner about allegations of rape a police officer replied:
He said he had not been, he agreed to them as he felt pressured to do the things. 
Well, police got it wrong, it seems. In male dominated culture men do not see themselves as rape victims in general. There is a language of communication that police appear to struggle with. A good expert in psychiatry or psychology in the field of male rape/sexual abuse would have helped the court, but did the court or police ask for it? Did they want it at all?

 Similarly, there are allegations from family of the victim that his treating psychiatrist (not Dr Peter Jefferys) described Mr Ben Cowburn as a drama queen. Ouch! Psychiatrist has denied describing the victim as melodramatic. There are psychiatrists who are unwilling to accept that there is abuse and rape of men (as children and as adults). Afterall, it could happen to them and that is an unpleasant thought they run away from. Sometimes, in broad daylight a man is bundled into a van by a couple of men and raped. The next thing they do throw him out and the victim tries to kill himself by walking in front of a bus. This is a true story. Interestingly, one of Mr Ben Cowburn's suicide attempts was to walk into traffic.

The coroner, Dr Emma Carlyon, agreed to hear evidence from Dr Peter Jefferys (photo on the right above), a retired Old Age Psychiatrist, who is not an expert in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry or Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or male rape. Mr Ben Cowburn was only 18 when he died and had diagnosis of Post-traumatic stress disorder. The Coroner's office was informed of Dr Peter Jefferys inappropriateness as an expert witness in this case and even in any case considering his known lack of integrity from other cases.
Dr Jefferys was quoted as saying to the Coroner:
“The ability of a young man to deal with life experiences they regret and the mistakes you make in life can be severely compromised if at the same time you suffer from a major depressive illness or struggle with adolescent issues. “It can push you from saying, gosh, I should not have done that, into being tormented by it and unable to share it for months, years or decades.”

Since when has sexual assault(s)/sexual abuse been a regrettable life experience? And how can Dr Jefferys at the same time accept diagnosis of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in this man?

Dr Peter Jefferys worked as a Medical Director at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow, Middlesex, when Dr Helen Bright, Consultant Psychiatrist and pioneer in the treatment of adults who suffered abuse as children reported to him that Harrow Social Services employed a Catholic nun, wearing her religious uniform (in psychiatry uniforms are not worn as it forms a barrier to trust, leading to poor compliance with treatment, more violence and self-harm by patients) as their social worker to work with mentally ill some of whom could have suffered abuse at the hands of clergy. Instead of dealing appropriately with the matter Dr Jefferys dismissed Dr Bright, and subjected her to post-employment victimization (sending false complaints to GMC) in order to cover up for suicides under his watch. After he dismissed Dr Bright he did not replace her immediately and some of Dr Bright's patients died by suicide. From no deaths record under care of Dr Bright now there were deaths under his watch and he made a cunning plan to start working for the regulator, the GMC.

In the years before nun was employed, the suicides in Harrow, on average, were 15.2 per year, during the four years Harrow had nun as a social worker 17.5 on average and after she left it went down to 15.2 suicides per year.

Survivors Network of those Abuse by Priests (SNAP) have 10,000 members and are based in USA. They gave evidence to UN in Geneva at the hearing into Holy See's compliance with Children's Charter recently. SNAP wrote to Dr Helen Bright to say that they agree religious uniforms should not be worn in mental health. It is detrimental to mental health of sex abuse victims, not something that Dr Peter Jefferys would ever be bothered about. Instead, he engaged in conspiracy with others including Professor David Jolley, another Old Age psychiatrist to do Dr Bright in. Dr Bright conducted research on Prof. David Jolley's patch in Wolverhampton into how off-putting or approachable do patients find a person dressed in religious uniform or casual dress (actors photographed for questionnaires). Professor David Jolley joined Dr Jefferys in complaining that Dr Bright conducted her research without his permission. GMC found Dr Bright guilty of serious professional misconduct for conducting ethical research, but contrary to old boys network approval. This research by Dr Bright has been regarded as impressive by international scientific community and was the first research in the world into religious uniforms in mental health setting. Professor Jolley's integrity matches that of Dr Jefferys.

Hospitals are liable when patients commit suicides under their watch. Dr Jefferys, of course, knows that. He was also head of audit and reported on suicides in the psychiatric unit at Northwick Park Hospital. It appears he was chosen for the job in Cornwall Coroner's case on Mr Ben Cowburn on the basis of his corruptibility.

In order to barricade himself against any possible threat to his registration as a doctor from the medical regulator, The General Medical Council, he became their Fitness to Practice Panelist. This was a brilliant strategy. But that was not enough to stop his fears and never will be. He also became involved in disciplinary matters at the Social Care Council (who regulate the nun, social worker) and other regulators (including Bar Council); at one count being involved in the regulation of eighteen professions!

Despite all these precautionary measures he has reputation as a man of no integrity and as a hired gun as stated by solicitor Yvonne Hossack (another of his victims) to the General Medical Council. After she complained about him to GMC he retaliated against her by complaining about her to Solicitors Regulation Authority who had as Chief Executive ex GMC man. His allegations against his instructing solicitor were false. He claimed she disclosed confidential information to GMC against the rules of her profession in her complaint against him. The confidential information was the psychiatric reports he wrote which Ms Hossack sent in as evidence against him. Of course, GMC needs the names of the patients so that complaints could be investigated, something he always knew. But GMC was already corrupted by him and they refused to investigate him. Those who want to read those psychiatric reports written by Dr Peter Jefferys can do so as these are available in redacted format following a request to Law Society under Freedom of Information Act 2000 by Dr Helen Bright. Ms Hossack was right: Dr Peter Jefferys has no integrity. He wrote one thing for her in his reports but when pressed by Bristol Council solicitors to answer some questions he changed his opinion dramatically. Curiously, while complaining about the breach of confidentiality he wrote a psychiatric court report about several patients (eight) giving their names in one report. Normally one would expect patients to read the reports in order for facts to be corrected if necessary. So, is each patient meant to read confidential information about seven others? Or are they not important enough to have individual reports written on each? Or does Dr Jefferys think he must not be ever corrected? Or slighted in any way?

Dr Peter Jefferys made false allegations of rape against a professor of mathematics who was devoted to his partner, a sufferer of multiple sclerosis. When she was admitted to a nursing home, a visiting GP prescribed her a drug known to have given her skin blisters as a side effect in the past. Her partner, professor of mathematics complained about it to the prescribing doctor and manager of the nursing home and in no time, in retaliation, allegations were made that he raped his partner by nursing home staff. In his expert witness report on this woman to the court Dr Jefferys recommended the couple were only to meet under observations despite woman's denials that she ever made any allegations of rape. In additions there were false allegations that he was aggressive. Interestingly, Dr Jefferys report omits completely the question of rape being addressed by him to the woman whom he was examining for the court and in which he recommended observation of the couple who were to meet in the communal area only. Professor has been an obstacle to the council seizing her property to pay for nursing home fees as he lived in the apartment and they could not just throw him out but were doing everything they could to make him get fed up and leave. The property was left to him in her will too. Dr Jefferys was simply a hired gun for the case as he appears to be in the case of Mr Ben Cowburn.

The local authority where this professor lives could have spent a lot of money on litigation against him (over £500,000), an innocent man to cover up for their criminal staff. At one point Local Authority employed carers to aid professor's partner at home. One stole her credit card. Local Authority blamed professor and took his power of attorney from him via Court of Protection. A shop detective caught the thief as she was trying to use the credit card. Police were called. But a storm of false allegations against prof. followed and now litigation is by prof. to get damages paid to him for what he suffered for many years after the Court of Protection found no allegations of rape or theft against him were ever true.
  GMC received a complaint about Dr Jefferys by this professor, but Dr Peter Jefferys is their man to whom they probably owe a lot as he sat at over 100 GMC disciplinary proceedings. GMC does not go after their henchman nor are they keen on public interest in this case.                                                           




















Dr Helen Bright worked at Longreach Hospital in Redrouth too where false allegations were made against her by the Trust staff in 2004. At that time she was a locum Consultant Psychaitrist in Old Age Psychiatry. Staff did not want old people on their ward, just adults up to age 65. Mr Ben Cowburn would be unwelcome as a young person in such an atmosphere of ageism. In Dr Bright's case nursing staff even went as far as discharging her most ill elderly patient who could not even walk or feed herself . This was done without consulting Dr Bright. No wonder there were false allegations against her as means of self-protection when patient's husband, a retired policeman, complained to trust managers about his wife's improper discharge and not against Dr Bright whom he thanked for her care of his wife. While Dr Bright managed to defend herself against these false allegations before the General Medical Council the unleashing of mobbing was spread to other NHS trusts via NCAS, the NHS jungle drum. by the Medical Director of mental health trust in Cornwall (He run away to another NHS trust since the events). NCAS collect information from anyone, any NHS trust, any gossip and even invent false allegations themselves against doctors who are truthfully and rightly critical of NHS practice.  They gave advice that Dr Bright who had done no harm to anyone should be reported to the GMC by all NHS trusts who contacted them when they heard in 2004 that GMC found Dr Helen Bright guilty of serious professional misconduct in 2003 following Dr Peter Jefferys writing to GMC and after that becoming their Fitness to Practice Panellist. The GMC do not see any conflict of interests when it is on their agenda to get rid of ethnic minority doctors of which Dr Bright is certainly one. The fitness to practice hearing in 2003 at GMC resulted in verbal reprimand and huge reputation damage to Dr Bright. She still could work, there were no conditions on her practice. In 2004 the final, massive, furious mobbing attack started in Cornwall, spread via NCAS faulty advice to two other NHS trusts and resulted yet again in GMC's Fitness to Practise hearings with Dr Jefferys acquaintances from GMC judging Dr Bright as well as an undeclared preacher, Dr Gwen Adshead. Doctors' licence used to be regulated by bishops in England but now clergy can and do work at GMC. They are useful to the nasty lot as they do see any justified anger as sin, not that they use such language. They do know better than that. Instead the language used is that of pseudo psychology: anger management problems, poor conflict resolution, poor team working etc. Dr Helen Bright ended as a locum with 16 conditions on her practice and could never find work again as the result of faulty GMC proceedings. Eventually she was erased from the medical register by the review  panel which again had a religious worker on it. The same formula was used by GMC consistently: get the religious force in to teach Dr Helen Bright a lesson she will never forget. Women should know their place and so should children: to serve mens desires. Dr Helen Bright was erased from medical register and Dr Jefferys has a sense of obligation to Cornwall mental health trust: what he did not manage to complete they did. While it is true that at one point Dr Bright did appeal to the High Court against conditions imposed on her practice by GMC the judge's finding that Dr Bright is a good, hard working and conscientious doctor is wortless as the judge left all the conditions there on her registration. A worthless appeal. Constructive erasures work, everyone knows that. Psychiatry is a shortage specialty and  more people died unnecessarily as the result of how Dr Bright was treated by Dr Jefferys. Dr Bright could have saved many lives were it not for the abuse of power. GMC rules allow them to abuse their power any time they like because one can never appeal against panel decisions when inappropriate appointments of panelists take place. Dr Gwen Adshead when she judged Dr Bright was no longer their panelist as her term expired before. Nobody cares about such little things. The Privy Council agreed to such rules.

The Coroner's Court inquest concluded on 26-3-2014 with jury giving open verdict with failures in care. Coroner made no recommendations to the NHS Trust because she was satisfied with the changes they made since the event of the tragic death. A new £5 million unit is planned for child and adolescent care on Longreach Hospital site. The charity trust set up by Mr Ben Cowburn's parents are working with NHS.


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Yammy Eaton Mess and 10 Downing Street, London


Baroness Warsi has been critical of 10 Downing Street having too many many men from Eaton without giving any evidence of their incompetence.
Is she loosing her faith that universal God loves all equally? We thought she travelled on multi-inter-faith ticket more of a Labour's Tony Blair type policy that somehow manages to stir things up.

 Conservative Party members would be able to recognise the whipping up of envy as well as the lack of gratitude.
How to make Eaton Mess:


Friday, 14 February 2014

Why Holy See could not see what was coming from UN Committee on the Rights of the Child despite their poor record?

UN report CLICK HERE

The UN report from The Committee on The Rights of The Child is very critical of The Holy See (Vatican) record and the current situation with cannon law described as not compatible with human rights.  The actions of The Holy See do not comply with the needs for independent police investigation of the offenders and so on and on.