J Obstet Gynaecol. 2003 May;23(3):221-7.

The suspensions scandal.
Tomlin PJ.

The Suspended Doctors Group, Society of Clinical Psychiatrists, UK.

The process by which senior hospital doctors are disciplined within the National Health Service is analysed. The mechanisms used are discussed and a number of faults are identified. Many of these faults give an unfair advantage to management and are contrary to the rules of 'Natural Justice'. These faults lead to an excessive number of doctors being wrongfully suspended for an unnecessarily long period. The process is oppressive to doctors as well as being contrary to the Human Rights Act. A number of risk factors are identified; race, sex, speciality and obstetricians appear to be particularly vulnerable. The process causes significant morbidity as well as having a 2% mortality. The process is also remarkably inefficient with management, despite all the in built advantages, unable to prove that the suspended doctor is at fault in the majority of cases. It is also very wasteful of the NHS's financial resources.