Ref: 10114
























1.         On the 1st February 2002 Dr. Gill applied to the Respondent Health Authority (hereinafter referred to as the “PCT”) for inclusion on their General Medical Services Supplementary List. The application was approved, subject to the imposition of a condition, namely, “that your    personal development plan satisfactorily addresses the concerns raised in relation to communication and teamwork so as not to compromise the efficiency of the service”. Dr. Gill has appealed against the imposition of the condition. Both parties wish the Panel to make a determination on the papers only. Consequently, the Panel has not heard any oral evidence.



2.         The Background:


On 1st September 2001, Dr. Gill commenced employment as a Retainer at Park View Surgery, Loughborough.


On the 1st February 2002 Dr. Gill applied to the PCT for inclusion on their GMS Supplementary List. On the 11th March 2002 Dr. Gill gave notice to the surgery of her intention to resign. She subsequently completed her notice period on the 10th May 2002.


On the 17th June 2002 Dr. Gill received notification from Dr. C. McGarrity at the PCT to the effect that her application to join the Supplementary List had been approved, subject to the imposition of a condition.


On the 18th June 2002 Dr. Gill wrote to the FHSAA and gave notice of her intention to appeal against the imposition of the condition.



3.         The PCT’s reasons for the imposition of the condition:


In support of her application, Dr. Gill provided the names and addresses of two referees. The first was a Dr. Diane Wallis, a GP (Principal) at the Park View Surgery. The second was a Dr. J. Aust, a Senior Partner at the same surgery.


The reference dated 20th May 2002 from Dr. Wallis was critical of Dr. Gill. It suggested that she was not an effective team player and that she would not be re-employed by Dr. Wallis should the opportunity arise. These comments were expanded upon by Dr. Wallis in a letter dated 20th May 2002. A telephone conversation between Dr. Wallis and Dr. McGarrity confirmed the contents of the written reference.


The imposition of the condition was undoubtedly based on the information received from Dr. Wallis.



4.         Dr. Gill’s case:


Since receiving the Grounds of Appeal dated 18th June 2002 there has been a steady stream of correspondence from Dr. Gill, most of which has been repetitive and therefore unhelpful. In summary, Dr. Gill contends that the reference and information received from Dr. Wallis should be rejected because it is (a) biased, (b) unprofessional, and (c) based on a desire to exact some sort of retribution upon her for having raised a number of complaints/concerns whilst working at the Surgery.



5.         The Law:


            In reaching our decision, the Panel have considered:


(i)        Regulations 8 and 15 of the NHS (General Medical Services Supplementary List) Regulations 2001;


            (ii)            S. 43D(5) Health and Social Care Act 2001.



6.         The Panel’s Decision:


It is the unanimous decision of the Panel that Dr. Gill’s appeal against the conditional inclusion should be allowed.



7.            Reasons for Decision:


(i)        The Panel has concluded, in the circumstances of this case, that the reliance placed upon the reference from Dr. Wallis dated 20th May 2002 cannot be justified so as to warrant a conditional inclusion.


            On the 28th March 2002 Dr. Wallis provided an excellent reference for Dr. Gill in respect of an offer of employment as a Medical Advisor. When asked to comment on Dr. Gill’s attitude to work and [her] ability to get on with others, Dr. Wallis stated that she was “conscientious, friendly” and displayed a “professional attitude”. She also confirmed that she would re-employ Dr. Gill.


            Her subsequent reference (relied upon by the PCT) and written some seven weeks later, is completely inconsistent with her earlier one and yet the Panel has received no explanation for such contrasting views. The Panel regards the lack of any such explanation as a major weakness in the PCT’s case.


(ii)       The PCT also relies upon a telephone conversation with Dr. Wallis, which apparently confirmed the contents of the written reference. The Panel was prepared to admit the evidence relating to the telephone call. However, the weight that could be attached to it was clearly limited. This was because the Panel was not provided with an agreed transcript of the conversation.


(iii)     The Panel was not provided with the reference from Dr. Aust. It would have been extremely helpful for the Panel to have had the opportunity of comparing the two references. Further, the Panel was surprised that no attempt had been made by the PCT to contact Dr. Aust following receipt of Dr. Wallis’ reference. His views would have been particularly helpful, since:

            (a)       he operated from the same surgery as Dr. Wallis; and


(b) he had provided a reasonably positive reference for Dr. Gill some four weeks prior to Dr. Wallis’ rather critical reference.



8.         Other Observations:


(i)        As a matter of good practice, the Panel would have expected the PCT to have contacted (in this case) Dr. French, (the organiser of the Retainer Scheme in Leicestershire) and ascertained his views before imposing any conditions against Dr. Gill. This may have been particularly relevant since Dr. Gill had apparently made a complaint about the Surgery to Dr. French as early as 13th March 2002.


(ii)       In reaching their decision, the Panel wish to make it absolutely clear that they have not attempted to, or made, any findings in respect of the complaints made by Dr. Gill, such as patient confidentiality or comments of a racial nature.



9.         Any party to these proceedings has the right to appeal this decision under and by virtue of S.11 of the Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1992.






Dated: 26th September 2002