Judgment has now been handed down in the appeal of Professor Walker-Smith.
He challenged the 2010 General Medical Council (“GMC”) Fitness to Practice Panel finding of serious professional misconduct and their decision to remove his licence to practice, after the longest and one of the most complex disciplinary cases brought by the GMC.
The Court (Mitting J) allowed the appeal and quashed the finding of serious professional misconduct and the sanction of erasure, finding among other things that the Panel’s reasoning was wholly inadequate, superficial and in a number of instances wrong.
Professor Walker-Smith was the head of the department of paediatric gastroenterology at the Royal Free Hospital in London. The GMC’s case arose in the context of his work with Dr Andrew Wakefield and Dr Wakefield’s controversial research into the causes of autism, and his collaboration with him on a paper published in the Lancet which was criticised due to its alleged role in sparking a global scare about a postulated link between the MMR vaccine, bowel disease and autism (a link which has now been discredited).
Stephen Miller QC and Andrea Lindsay Strugo acted for Professor Walker-Smith and Joanna Glynn QC (who did not act below) and Christopher Mellor acted for the GMC.