Professional Discipline & Regulation

Clodagh has acted in a broad variety of disciplinary cases, ranging from doctors before the MPTS to veterinary surgeons before the RCVS, as well as cases brought by the GDC, the GOsC, the GOC and the NMC.  Allegations have ranged from fraud and dishonesty, to rape and sexual assaults, breaching professional boundaries (including on social media), clinical concerns, through to issues with the practitioner’s health and substance misuse.

Clodagh has successfully challenged regulatory decisions in the Administrative Court. She represented Dr Waney Squier, consultant paediatric neuropathologist, in a high profile MPTS case and subsequent successful appeal which has significant implications for expert witnesses accused of straying outside of their expertise or bias (Squier v GMC). Clodagh is experienced in dealing with matters relating to conflicts of interest and apparent bias (GOsC v X). She has argued abuse of process successfully on behalf of a dentist, owing to concerns about disclosure, contact with a factual witness and the conduct of the GDC’s expert witness, resulting in the stay of the GDC’s prosecution (GDC v Jasbinder Singh). In GOsC v X Clodagh acted on behalf of an osteopath accused of sexually motivated assaults on a patient during shoulder manipulations. Clodagh took this matter over when it was part-heard, after the fact-finding stage had been concluded with a finding of sexually motivated conduct. At the subsequent hearing where Clodagh appeared, the Committee resiled from their finding of sexual motivation and concluded that in fact there had been no unacceptable professional conduct, such that the osteopath’s career remains unblemished.

Selected Cases

  • Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons v Dr X (2023): Clodagh was instructed on behalf of a veterinary surgeon facing investigations in relation to a substantial number of small animals in his practice dating back to 2017, with respect to allegations of unnecessary removal of gall bladders.  Following protracted investigations over many years and detailed responses from the vet, the PIC determined not to refer the matter on to the Disciplinary Committee and instead provided written advice.
  • Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons v Dr R (2022): Clodagh defended a veterinary surgeon on charges of misconduct relating to alleged mismanagement of a dog’s hyperglycaemia at a consultation four days prior to its sudden deterioration in health and death.  All of the disputed facts were found in the vet’s favour and the Committee determined that the vet was not guilty of disgraceful conduct in a professional respect, such that his unblemished career of 30 years remains intact.
  • General Osteopathic Council v S (2022): Clodagh defended an osteopath accused of sexually motivated misconduct / transgression of professional boundaries with a celebrity patient whom he went on walks with during lockdown and exchanged text messages with.  Clodagh argued that he had transgressed professional boundaries but that there was no sexual motivation behind his conduct and the Committee accepted the Defence case, imposing the lowest form of sanction, an admonishment.
  • General Medical Council v Dr G (2021): Clodagh was instructed on behalf of a senior A&E consultant in A&E accused of sexually assaulting a student Physician Associate during supervision / mentoring sessions.  The doctor had been tried and acquitted in the Crown Court and the same allegations were pursued before the MPTS. Clodagh was closely involved in the preparation of the Defence case, but the GMC’s case was discontinued shortly before the PCC hearing as the complainant was unwilling to testify.
  • General Dental Council v Dr B (2021): Clodagh acted on behalf of the dentist in relation to this complex dental clinical case about 15 patients and multiple allegations of inadequate treatment, and various other allegations including use of cocaine and dishonesty.  Clodagh dealt with interim order hearings and two High Court applications in the lengthy period of investigation spanning 3 years.
  • Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons v Dr C (2019): Clodagh successfully defended a vet with an unblemished record against allegations for failing to recommend an emergency Caesarean section in respect of a whelping bitch who had a retained puppy where there were factual disputes over the advice given, all of which were found in the vet’s favour. The DC concluded that the admitted parts of the charge did not amount to disgraceful conduct in a professional respect.
  • General Osteopathic Council v TD (2018): Clodagh represented an osteopathic tutor of undergraduates, who also sat as a member of the GOsC’s Professional Conduct Committee, who was accused of bullying and intimidation towards a student. She was suspended by her employer as a result of the allegations pending further investigations.  The GOsC’s guidance requires osteopaths to self-report in the event of being suspended and Ms D did not do so for 4 months and she sat on 3 PCC committees in the interim.  In the proceedings brought by the GOsC against Ms D, the Committee were persuaded that the allegations of bullying and intimidation were not proved.  They concluded that the failure to self-report about her suspension and sitting on the 3 PCCs justified a 3-month suspension rather than a more substantial suspension or removal from the register, as had been argued on behalf of the Council.
  • GOsC v Z (2018): Clodagh represented an osteopath who performed a cranial technique on a 4 week old baby.  The parents alleged that excessive force was used and that his breathing was compromised. The GOsC’s expert suggested that it may have been a deliberate attempt to induce a life threatening event. The Committee found all of the allegations relating to the treatment of the baby not proven and only found one allegation proven in relation to a demonstration on the parents, resulting in the conclusion that the osteopath was not guilty of Unacceptable Professional Conduct, such that his unblemished record of 26 years remains intact.
  • GOsC v X (2017): osteopath accused of sexually motivated assaults on a patient during shoulder manipulations.  Clodagh took this matter over when it was part-heard, after the fact-finding stage had been concluded with a finding of sexually motivated conduct.  At the subsequent hearing where Clodagh appeared, the Committee resiled from their finding of sexual motivation and concluded that in fact there had been no unacceptable professional conduct, such that the osteopath’s career remains unblemished.
  • Dr Squier v GMC (2016) EWHC 2739 (Admin) Mitting J: Appeal against the MPTS findings of dishonesty concerning the expert evidence of consultant paediatric neuropathologist, in cases relating to alleged non-accidental head injury in babies (‘shaken baby syndrome’) and the sanction of erasure. Mitting J overturned the MPT’s findings of dishonesty and concluded that they should have made no such findings against Dr Squier. He found that “her views were genuinely held” and concluded that there were a number of flaws in the MPT’s determination in respect of Dr Squier’s conduct. An order of conditions not to give expert evidence (other than in coroner’s courts) for 3 years was substituted.
  • GMC v B (2016): GP faced allegations before GMC’s MPT re his management of a patient he had diagnosed as being terminally ill over a number of years and prescribed enormous doses of opiates to, with her ending up in an apparently semi-comatose state for about 6 months. The GMC alleged that he encouraged her to bequeath half of her estate to him. The credibility of the complainant was in issue: she came out of her apparent coma and disappeared in the night with her carer when district nurses became suspicious about her inexplicably healthy presentation despite the lengthy ‘coma’. She had a history of making false allegations to the police. Clodagh succeeded in getting the case dismissed during the first week of the hearing and the GP’s unblemished reputation remains intact.
  • GDC v Jasbinder Singh (2015): acted for a dentist before the PCC about a complaint arising out of Invisalign treatment with allegations of inadequate pre-treatment assessments, lack of advice about treatment options, informed consent, etc. Owing to concerns about the GDC’s approach to disclosure, contact with a factual witness and the conduct of the GDC’s expert witness, Clodagh successfully applied for a stay of the proceedings as an abuse of process.
  • General Optical Council v C (2014): acted on behalf of a student optometrist, who was left to do an eye test of a patient unsupervised, contrary to GOC guidance. An incorrect lens solution (containing hydrogen peroxide) was provided to the patient, causing eye irritation. Clodagh drafted responses on behalf of the student optometrist which persuaded the GOC to discontinue the proceedings shortly before the FTP hearing was due to take place, so her record remains unblemished.
  • GDC v M (2014): acted on behalf of a general dental practitioner facing PCC proceedings in respect of his care of a 6 year old’s teeth, including failing to diagnose/treat caries. These were the third set of GDC proceedings which this dentist had faced in 5 years. He worked as a single-handed dentist in a socio-economically deprived area and was contemplating retirement. Clodagh advised the dentist in preparation for the potential PCC hearing and assisted in drafting responses to the GDC, which ultimately persuaded the GDC to permit the doctor to apply for voluntary removal from the register without any PCC hearing.
  • GMC v D (2012-2014): acted on behalf of a psychiatrist before the FTPP in respect of charges relating to her health, arising out of her alcohol dependency and a possible bipolar disorder diagnosis. The FTPP imposed conditions on the doctor’s registration in 2012 and, on review in 2014, Clodagh persuaded the FTPP to lift all further restrictions on the doctor’s registration as she has remained abstinent from alcohol throughout the period of the GMC’s supervision.
  • GMC v Scholten (2013-2014): acted on behalf of a cosmetic surgeon, specialising in female genital cosmetic surgery, who took a photograph of an anaesthetised patient’s genitalia without consent when performing a breast augmentation procedure. After successfully challenging the interim order of suspension before the High Court, in the FTP proceedings Clodagh secured a 3 month order of suspension without a review, despite findings of lack of insight.
  • GMC v Saidi (2013): acted on behalf of an overseas trainee psychiatrist facing allegations of dishonesty and misleading conduct, arising out of admitted plagiarism in his application for specialist training. The panel found the allegations of dishonesty not proven, but did making findings that the conduct of plagiarism was misleading. Ultimately, however, they concluded that the doctor’s fitness to practise was not impaired and they declined to impose a warning, despite an application for the same by the GMC, so the doctor can continue in practice with his record unblemished.
  • GMC v H (2013): represented a consultant neurosurgeon accused of sexual assault of female patient with cauda equina type symptoms, during a private consultation without a chaperone, including vaginal penetration with gloved hand and clitoral palpation. Doctor was arrested but not charged with any offence, but subject to bail conditions. Clodagh persuaded the IOP not to suspend the doctor, but to impose workable conditions so that he could continue in practice while the allegations were investigated.
  • GMC v Mphanza (2012-2013): represented an anaesthetist at the GMC FTPP hearing who had failed to perform a rapid sequence induction on a 74 yr old patient undergoing laparotomy for a possible incarcerated hernia, where the patient regurgitated on induction of anaesthesia. She died in the weeks that followed. Doctor with 30 year unblemished career faced charges of misconduct. He admitted using the incorrect anaesthetic technique, but denied other more serious allegations about ignoring concerns raised by junior staff. All the disputed charges were found not proven, the Panel found that there was no misconduct and it declined to issue a warning, so the doctor successfully defended the entire case.
  • NMC v F (2012): represented female practice nurse accused of having inappropriate personal relationships with 2 male patients. Article 8 and privacy issues argued. Successful half time submission resulted in the CCC dismissing all charges.
  • GMC v A (2012): persuaded IOP to revoke interim order of conditions against a junior locum obstetrician who was reported to the GMC by the employing Trust for failing to supervise a fellow obstetrician (a substantive employee) and misinterpreting a CTG, when evidence suggested that she was in fact the more junior member of the team.
  • GMC v O (2012): resisted interim order on behalf of doctor accused of, but not charged with, rape.
  • GMC v P (2012): resisted interim order on behalf of doctor accused of fraud in his financial dealings between his NHS and private practices.
  • GMC v Calton (2011): FTPP relating to a consultant psychiatrist’s care of two psychiatric patients, where no patient consent or court order had been obtained authorising disclosure of the first patient’s records, who was unaware of the proceedings. Case relating to first patient withdrawn at Panel’s direction. Case relating to second patient cancelled pursuant to detailed defence application under r.28.
  • GMC v J (2011): FTPP re neuro-anaesthetist with alcohol problem and honesty issues.
  • GMC v Lambiris (2011): FTPP – doctor accused of kissing patient and inappropriate remarks/advice. All disputed facts found not proved and doctor case concluded with no finding of impairment.
  • GMC v Squier (2010): IOP – resisted order against consultant paediatric neuropathologist whose expert testimony in ‘shaken baby syndrome’ cases was in issue.
  • GMC v Taranissi (2008): FTPP relating to allegations of inappropriate treatment and testing of patients at a fertility clinic run by renowned fertility expert, Mr Mohamed Taranissi. Case dismissed at ‘half time’.
  • GMC v Craft (2005-2006): FTPP concluded no case to answer in case against pioneering fertility specialist, Professor Ian Craft, facing charges of inappropriate treatment of patients at his fertility clinic.
  • Bainton v GDC (2000): Privy Council’s discretion to extend time for lodging petition of appeal if appeal appears to have substantial merits.
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