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International Coveted Awards winner Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon from London overturns disciplinary action by the General Medical Council (GMC)

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“International Coveted Awards winner Vitreo-Retinal Surgeon from London overturns disciplinary action by the General Medical Council (GMC)”

Malhar Soni, a senior Consultant Ophthalmologist with international reputation is successful in overturning a decision by the Fitness to Practice Panel of the GMC to suspend him from practice for a period of six months following allegations of dishonesty alleging that he failed to account for the use of private treatment rooms at the hospital. At the time, Mr Soni was employed as a Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital at Welwyn Garden City.

Due to the historic win against the GMC, Mr Soni’s GMC registration and practicing license remained clean all throughout.

Mr Soni was one of a number of BME medical professionals who have faced a disproportionate rate of misconduct allegations brought by the GMC. The Judgment was clearly critical of the role of the GMC who as many cases appears to target BME medical staff of flimsy evidence, in circumstances where other member of the profession are not subject to referral. Mr Soni’s case was subject to initial clearing after which the NHS Trust had the matter re opened after undocumented meetings with the GMC. Mr Soni’s was one of only 54 such referrals for a review, and the only one of those 54 that led to any finding that affected his clinical practice. Mr Soni’s legal team believes that this unfounded allegations were raised against him due to his whistleblowing actions at the East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust.

The Judge stated that “the important point is that the Panel made a determination which went not only beyond the evidence but even beyond the allegation, and which it should not have made……..I conclude that the Panel made a wrong determination against Mr Soni. It was wrong to reject the submission of no case to answer, and wrong to find that dishonesty was proved……With all respect to the Panel, I am afraid it must have confused grounds for suspicion with evidence sufficient to prove, on the balance of probabilities, a serious allegation against a professional man….”

During the same period, Mr Soni became the first UK Consultant Ophthalmologist to win 4 coveted international awards for his Retina Research work from the American Society of Retina Specialists.

Mr Herbert, Chair of the SBL commented, after judgment that,

“The SBL is concerned that BME medical professionals of African, Caribbean and Asian origin continue to be disproportionality represented before those brought before the BME with sanctions far more severe than their white counterparts. These concerns were highlighted by the Report of Sir Anthony Hooper into the GMC of 19TH March 2015 in his report n whistle blowing. SBL intend to hold a series of seminars to highlight the problem and to advocate for a greater level of equality and justice for BME medical professionals in the UK.”


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