Professor John Walker Smith Exonerated in Autism MMR Case
Read the Full UK Court Decision in John Walker Smith MMR Autism Appeal

General Medical Council Response to Successful Appeal of Professor John Walker-Smith

General Medical Council07 Mar 2012

Responding to the ruling Niall Dickson, the Chief Executive of the General Medical Council said:

We will now study the detailed judgement carefully to see what lessons we can learn from this complex case as we continue to reform our fitness to practise work.

Niall Dickson, the Chief Executive of the GMC

‘Today, Mr Justice Mitting has overturned the decision to find Professor Walker-Smith guilty of serious professional misconduct. We will now study the detailed judgement carefully to see what lessons we can learn from this complex case as we continue to reform our fitness to practise work.

'The immediate effect of this decision is that Professor Walker-Smith is now a fully registered medical practitioner.

‘Today’s ruling does not however re-open the debate about the MMR vaccine and autism. As Mr Justice Mitting observed in his judgment ‘There is now no respectable body of opinion which supports [Dr Wakefield’s] hypothesis, that MMR vaccine and autism/enterocolitis are causally linked.’

‘Nevertheless Mr Justice Mitting has made a number of criticisms about the inadequacy of the reasons given by the panel for the decisions they made on the charges facing Professor Walker-Smith. The panel of medical and non-medical members, having heard all the evidence, were required to set out very clearly why they reached the decisions they did. They failed to do that in relation to key questions, including whether Professor Walker-Smith’s actions were undertaken for the purpose of medical practice or medical research and whether procedures performed on the children were clinically necessary. These were important points that needed to be addressed by the panel in the determination and the failure to do was the major cause of Mr Justice Mitting allowing the appeal today.

‘Over the last two years we have begun to deliver significant reforms to our fitness to practise work, including major changes in the way we adjudicate cases. A key change will be the establishment, in a few months time, of the new Medical Practitioner Tribunal Service which will take over the running and oversight of doctors' fitness to practise hearings.

‘The MPTS will be part of the GMC but it will operate as an autonomous unit separate from our other work. Late last year we announced the appointment of His Honour Judge David Pearl as the Chair of the tribunal. He will be responsible for appointing, training, appraising and mentoring panel members. He will also report directly to Parliament on an annual basis.’

Comments

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Jeannette Bishop

Thank you for the update.

I appreciate Judge Mitting's honest evaluation of the GMC's "reasoning."

Re:

"There is now no respectable body of opinion which supports [Dr Wakefield’s] hypothesis, that MMR vaccine and autism/enterocolitis are causally linked."

I would suggest to the honest to research whether any "respectable body" has even begun to research the matter. One percent or more of our children seriously disabled in their infant and toddler years, nevertheless, best stay the course?

John Stone

Shiny Happy Person

Oh yes, the GMC reforming itself is a big joke, though it would scarcely be less sinister if the government did - the absurdity and impossibility of both has been bewildering many people for a great number of years. It is possibly just a nightmare that people in the UK can't escape from except by leaving, and maybe not even that as AW showed.

If it had strong rules on COI it might make a differences. As it was the GMC originally appointed Prof Denis McDevitt to chair the "Wakefield hearing" who was on a government vaccine damage sub-committee when MMR was introduced in 1988, and when he was forced very reluctantly to withdraw he was replaced by Dr Surendra Kumar who forgot to disclose until the hearing was under way that he was on the Committee on Safety in Medicines from 1996-9 (and had various other COIs that didn't emerge till later). I do believe the defence attorneys were very much to blame for not taking COIs seriously.

Shiny Happy Person

It may have been Maurice Maeterlinck who said "Each progressive spirit is opposed by a thousand mediocre minds appointed to guard the past."

The GMC creates a tribunal - to oversee the GMC. The GMC appoints the tribunal chair. The tribunal is part of the GMC, but separate.

Is it just me?

Granted, it's not really clear who actually "created" or "appointed", based on Dickson's comments, but in any case, the shameful absence of any kind of apology to Walker-Smith in this public statement suggests that Maeterlinck may have actually set the bar to high...

John Stone

Hi GH

"If the GMC has an ounce of integrity it will also reinstate the license of Dr. Wakefield."

You might have said "If the GMC had...it would", but of course it doesn't. It is is a brutal, cynical state enforcer and it can't even properly admit fault.

Johh

GH

If the GMC has an ounce of integrity it will also reinstate the license of Dr. Wakefield.

Mark Struthers

Thank you, John. I apologise for mixing up my metaphors … again!

In my view, falling on one's [humble pie cutting] sword is a particularly "meaningful and honorable" activity. And that is why I think Mr. Dickson will need to be 'pointed' in the right direction. Here's a 'how to do it' manual for all those (dis)honorable gentlemen - and ladies - of the British medical establishment.

http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/HowTo:Fall_on_your_sword

I think Mr. Dickson should take note of those “common mistakes” made with falling swords … like finding out “what having a sword in the genitals feels like” … and looking like an idiot.

John Stone

Hi Mark,

Strictly metaphorically, of course!

John

Mark Struthers

The GMC has behaved appallingly ... again! It is at this point that I think Mr. Dickson should eat a great big chunk of humble pie. Of course, he should then fall on the big, sharp knife used to cut that pie. It is high time that the CEO did the decent thing, the right thing and the only thing truly available to him.

GlaxoMerckCronidom

One could be deceived by reading the judgment into thinking that the GMC got it wrong for technical reasons, but this is only how it is expressed: they could not have got into this tangle without being corrupt from head to toe. They got it wrong because they found things which could not possibly true, and they found them because they wanted to. It is the horror of falsehood being found to be true by bureacratic means, "official reality" rubber-stamped by time-servers, bullies and creeps.

Perhaps they gambled that they would find a judge who would let them get away with it - there are many corrupt judges too - but then what was done was so blatant that even that was pushing it. And by a miracle it came before a judge who was excellent and honourable in every respect.

But Dickson will never see it. Even now he doesn't really see that the GMC has done anything wrong. He doesn't apologise to Prof Walker-Smith and he justifies it all by the defence of the vaccine programme. That, of course, tells you everything about the programme.

Birgit Calhoun

Where is the apology to Professor Walker-Smith? Who says "There is now no respectable body of opinion which supports [Dr Wakefield’s] hypothesis, that MMR vaccine and autism/enterocolitis are causally linked." And who is respectable here?

The last word has not been spoken on the MMR-autism debate.

Flying Fickle Finger of Fate

Anna

He can apparently be contacted through this page:

http://www.gmc-uk.org/about/chief_executive.asp

Anna

Does anyone have an email address for Niall Dickson. I'd like to send him a few words about what I think about his answer (and it is not good). And I think an avalanche of what we (parents) believe about the MMR-autism link being closed would be a really good action to take...

candace

this is a great day!!!!!finally!!!love you andy..and glad for professor walker!!!!there will be a celebration @ my house!!!!!!!!!

Jenny

To Bob Moffitt: It seems the suterrella issue presents the possibility of vaccine contamination. Is there any attempt to track the lot numbers of the vaccines given to the children who've been found w/suterrella in the gastrointestinal systems, to see if there is overlap in vaccine manufacturer or lot numbers or location of manufacturing facilities?

victor pavlovic

‘Today’s ruling does not however re-open the debate about the MMR vaccine and autism. As Mr Justice Mitting observed in his judgment ‘There is now no respectable body of opinion which supports [Dr Wakefield’s] hypothesis, that MMR vaccine and autism/enterocolitis are causally linked.’ You can't re-open the debate about the autism/MMr link because this case obviously didn't close it, since all doctors involved agreed more research needed to be done, and others were hindered into continuing their investigation on the negative effects of the MMr due to possible/probable retaliation due to the original decision.The main thing this ruling points out today is that Dr.Walker Smith, and Dr.Wakefield were indeed on the right track, and they had to be derailed by the corrupt GMC, run by the Big Pharmaceutical companies.This ruling does not just indicate that both of the doctors involved are innocent, but most importantly shows Big Pharmas true intentions that they can't be trusted, are covering something up, and must be monitored at all times, the tactics in dealing with anyone that might be a threat to their bottom line, and the extent they would take this in order to maximize their profits.

John Stone

It is understandable that Sir John Mitting did not want to be targetted for re-opening the MMR controversy in public, but while he may have said this before the press I don't see anything of that kind in the judgment.

Vaccine.Explorer

‘Today’s ruling does not however re-open the debate about the MMR vaccine and autism. As Mr Justice Mitting observed in his judgment ‘There is now no respectable body of opinion which supports [Dr Wakefield’s] hypothesis, that MMR vaccine and autism/enterocolitis are causally linked.’

He's admitting it was all about debunking the vaccine-autism link.

jen

GMC: How about just not being biased and evil?

Bob Moffitt

"There is now no respectable body of opinion which supports [Dr Wakefield’s] hypothesis, that MMR vaccine and autism/enterocolitis are causally linked."

I beg to differ .. there is now a "wide body of respectable opinion" that supports Wakefield's hypothesis that "autism and entercolitis" are causally linked. Most recent being the following:

http://tinyurl.com/7mq8xh4

Children with autism, gastrointestinal symptoms have high levels of Sutterella in their gut"

"New research conducted in the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, reports that children with autism and gastrointestinal disturbances have high levels of a bacterium called Sutterella in their intestines.
The investigators found that over half of the children diagnosed with autism and gastrointestinal disturbances had Sutterella in intestinal biopsy tissue, while Sutterella was absent in biopsies from typically developing children with gastrointestinal disturbances. Not only was Sutterella present in the intestines of children with autism, but relative to most genera of bacteria, Sutterella was present at remarkably high levels. Sutterella species have been isolated from human infections previous to this study, but it remains unclear whether this bacterium is a human pathogen.

"These findings shine a light on a bacterium about which we know very little, in a disorder for which we have few answers," says Brent Williams, PhD, the lead author on the study. "There is much work to be done toward understanding the role Sutterella plays in autism, the microbiota, infections, and inflammation.

In light of this recent study .. urgent research should be conducted to "rule out" the MMR vaccine as a potential "cause" for the "microbiota, infections and inflammation" that spawns Sutterella in children with autism.

Mark Struthers

Typically weasel words from Niall Dickson. What confidence can anyone have in the GMC, now or ever?

Julie Obradovic

‘Today’s ruling does not however re-open the debate about the MMR vaccine and autism. As Mr Justice Mitting observed in his judgment ‘There is now no respectable body of opinion which supports [Dr Wakefield’s] hypothesis, that MMR vaccine and autism/enterocolitis are causally linked.’

Let the spin begin!

Maurine Meleck

Let's get this to Anderson Cooper, PRONTO.
Maurine

Natasa

I do agree that we don't need to reopen the MMR-autism debate as it was --- we do need to open up a whole new vaccine-as-immune stressors and vector-for-viral-contaminants debate.

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