By Press Association
Professor John Walker-Smith has taken his case against the General Medical Council to the High Court
The decision to strike off an eminent doctor over the MMR jab controversy has been defended at the High Court as “just and fair – not wrong”.
The General Medical Council (GMC) admitted to a judge that “inadequate reasons” may have been given by a disciplinary panel that found Professor John Walker-Smith guilty of serious professional misconduct. Those reasons related to conflicts over expert evidence.
But Joanna Glynn QC, appearing for the GMC, said: “In spite of inadequate reasons it is quite clear on overwhelming evidence that the charges are made out.”
Professor Walker-Smith is asking Mr Justice Mitting at London’s High Court to rule that he was denied a fair hearing. On the fourth day of his challenge, the judge said that the case had been “complex and difficult from the start – it greatly troubles me”.
The professor is being supported by the parents of many children with autism and bowel disease seen by him at the Royal Free Hospital, north London, up to his retirement in 2001. They say one consequence of the GMC’s decision is that families now face serious difficulties in finding NHS treatment for autistic children with bowel disease.
In May 2010, Prof Walker-Smith lost his license to practice along with Dr Andrew Wakefield, the doctor who triggered a global scare about the MMR vaccine. A GMC fitness to practise panel found both guilty of misconduct over the way the MMR research was conducted. The panel’s verdict followed 217 days of deliberation, making it the longest disciplinary case in the GMC’s 152-year history.
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