General Medical Council hands down first decision on Andrew Wakefield

28 Jan

Kev put it well–“Andrew Wakefield – what were you expecting to happen?“. I doubt many people expected a different outcome than, “dishonest” and “Irresponsible”.

Kathleen Seidel at has blogged this as well U.K. General Medical Council Rules Wakefield & Co. “Dishonest,” “Irresponsible”.

You can read the decision for yourself at

Dr. Wakefield has responded, and the BBC is hosting a video of that. Dr. Wakefield has invited people to look for themselves and come to their own conclusions. I have. I agree with the GMC. The BBC is also hosting video of Dr. Wakefield joking about the birthday party blood draws.

I’ll touch on some parts of the decision as time permits. There is enough of a blog storm going on with people defending Dr. Wakefield, often with, quite frankly, bogus arguments. I see none of them addressing the real charges or, for that matter, the real purpose of the hearings.

For example, here is an important quote from the decision:

The Panel wish to make it clear that this case is not concerned with whether there is or might be any link between the MMR vaccination and autism.

Whenever you read people talking about this being about the research itself (as opposed to the ethics of the research methods), you are reading someone who is misinformed or worse.

5 Responses to “General Medical Council hands down first decision on Andrew Wakefield”

  1. Liz Ditz January 28, 2010 at 22:59 #

    As I often do, I’m collating blog responses to the decision. This post is there:

    Andrew Wakefield: Dishonesty, Misleading Conduct, and Serious Professional Misconduct: Blog Posts Approving of Verdict; Blog Posts Critical of Verdict

  2. Joseph January 28, 2010 at 23:05 #

    It’s just as the Wakefield apologists predicted. Wait, no, that’s not true 🙂

  3. brian January 29, 2010 at 03:00 #

    The findings seem to differentiate Wakefield’s case from those of his colleagues:

    Wakefield: dishonesty and misleading conduct

    Walker-Smith: irresponsible conduct and not acting in the child’s best clinical interests in several instances

    Murch: failing in his duty as a responsible consultant and in some cases, not acting in the best clinical interests of the children

    Of these charges, it seems that dishonesty is considered particularly grievous. The following is from the GMC sanctions guidance (


    105. The GMC’s guidance, Good Medical Practice, states that registered doctors must be honest and trustworthy, and must never abuse their patients’ trust in them or the public’s trust in the profession. “Probity means being honest and trustworthy, and acting with integrity: this is at the heart of medical professionalism.” (Good Medical Practice paragraph 56)

    “You must make sure that your conduct at all times justifies your patients’ trust in you and the public’s trust in the profession.” (Good Medical Practice paragraph 57) . . . .

    108. Dishonesty, even where it does not result in direct harm to patients but is for example related to matters outside the doctor’s clinical responsibility, e.g. providing false statements or fraudulent claims for monies, is particularly serious because it can undermine the trust the public place in the profession. The Privy Council has emphasised that:
    ‘…Health Authorities must be able to place complete reliance on the integrity of practitioners; and the Committee is entitled to regard conduct which undermines that confidence as calculated to reflect on the standards and reputation of the profession as a whole.’

    109. Examples of dishonesty in professional practice could include defrauding an employer, falsifying or improperly amending patient records or submitting or providing false references, inaccurate or misleading information on a CV and failing to take reasonable steps to ensure that statements made in formal documents are accurate. (see Good Medical Practice paragraph 3(f) regarding the duty to keep clear, accurate and legible records, and paragraphs 63 to 67 regarding writing reports and CVs, giving evidence and signing documents . . . .

    110. Research misconduct is a further example. The term is used to describe a range of misconduct from presenting misleading information in publications to dishonesty in clinical drugs trials. Such behaviour undermines the trust that both the public and the profession have in medicine as a science, regardless of whether this leads to direct harm to patients. Because it has the potential to have far reaching consequences, this type of dishonesty is particularly serious. . . .

    111. Dishonesty, especially where persistent and/or covered up, is likely to result in erasure . . . .

  4. sheldon101 January 29, 2010 at 04:38 #

    The 162/95 or 162-95 study.

    I’ve read Bill Long’s fantasies on Wakefield and others that talk about some kind of blanket approval for research at the Royal Free. And that there were two studies or projects.

    It is included at the start of the GMC report. I finally learned what it was about from the fantastical complaint against 5 other doctors for what they said at the Wakefield inquest.
    See:—gmc—first-amended-complaint-1.pdf and search for 162-95.

    162-95 was approval for Prof Walker-Smith to have two extra biopsies taken for research purposes routinely from children who had colonoscopies. The parents sign a form allowing this happen. This was Walker-Smith practice at this old hospital and he wanted approval to do this at the Royal Free. He got it, under the approval of 162/95.

    That’s all it was about. Take 2 extra samples while you’re doing a colonoscopy anyhow. No other procedures were involved.

    Aside from confusing others, this had nothing to do with what Wakefield, Walker-Smith and Murch were doing.


  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - General Medical Council hands down first decision on Andrew Wakefield « Left Brain/Right Brain -- - January 30, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev and autism_hub, Autism Hub. Autism Hub said: New post: General Medical Council hands down first decision on Andrew Wakefield […]

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