This poignant note shows up what it can be like for a health professional undergoing investigation by the GMC. I cannot help feeling deeply for this doctor and completely understand his sense of injustice and powerlessness because I have ‘been there’.
However, my sense of injustice and powerlessness came when, as a patient, having failed to get acknowledgement of a particular wrongdoing (so that future patients would not suffer) via gentle hospital channels, then reluctantly via a formal complaint process, I realised some things are too big – some people too powerful.
The only recourse then was to write about it (Nothing Personal, disturbing undercurrents in cancer care) – so again, I can empathise with this doctor’s note.
Incidentally, the complaints process was delayed several times and the stress I endured over this prolonged period (after aggressive cancer treatment) would be difficult to describe. To be sure, my career was not on the line, but I was plagued day and night with what I thought of as ‘playback’ and later realised was post traumatic stress, along with guilt that I had not managed to speak out and change things for future patients. And no, of course I didn’t receive trauma psychotherapy help during the ordeal and my health was never enquired about either!
Justice can be elusive whether one is a patient or a doctor.