Martin Forde QC represents former Chairman of the BMA at the General Medical Council and secures a finding that he is not guilty of misconduct or deficient professional performance.

After a hard fought 10-week hearing at the GMC in Manchester, Martin Forde QC representing Mr James Johnson, the former Chairman of the BMA established that the doctor’s fitness to practice was not impaired by reason of misconduct or deficient professional performance. The Panel also concluded that the case did not merit a warning.

Mr Johnson faced a series of allegations relating to 14 patients ranging from a failure to obtain consent, alleged unnecessary amputation of limbs, and, as reported inaccurately the deliberate stabbing of a junior doctor during a fit of rage in the head with a needle. It was also suggested that he had deliberately left a clip inside a patient following an operation.

The case was dogged by lurid and inaccurate reporting and was opened by the GMC as demonstrating behaviour that “reflected rather a caricature of surgical arrogance that was out of place even decades ago, other than through the lampooning lens of cinema comedies”. Much was made of an alleged tension between Mr Johnson’s BMA duties and his commitment to his patients.

The case involved much expert evidence which was complex and ranged across most aspects of general vascular surgery particularly that involving by-passes.

Ultimately the Panel were to conclude that there were no aspects of the case which amounted to misconduct and that any concerns regarding performance had been fully remediated.