A doctor sacked by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) after refusing to use preferred pronouns in a hypothetical scenario says he’s been “vindicated” by the General Medical Council.
Dr David Mackereth, 60, was asked if he would be willing to use a patients preferred pronouns – he said no, on account of his traditional Christian beliefs.
He was dismissed as a health and disability assessor, spurring him to take the matter to an employment tribunal, where he lost.
The then lost again in the Court of Appeals, despite the verdict of the initial trial being partly overturned – it still deemed his sacking to be justifiable.
Following the verdicts, Dr Mackereth self-referred himself to the General Medical Council, to which he received a response that – he says – “diametrically opposed” the views of the DWP and “vindicated” him.
The letter said: “We have carefully assessed all the information you kindly provided which includes the decisions of the employment tribunal, the employment appeal tribunal and the Court of appeal.
“In doing so we don’t believe this is an issue requiring further GMC action being taken with a view to removing or restricting your registration.
“Although your views might be considered contentious, we haven't seen evidence to suggest that patient safety is at risk from the information provided nor that your fitness to practise is impaired.”
“It is clear that you have a strong view on this subject and we are informed this is deeply rooted in your religion. Doctors are of course entitled to their views and this in itself wouldn’t be an issue requiring any regulatory action to be taken by the GMC. This would only become an issue for us should there be information to indicate that these views impact patient safety and or care.”
It continued: “We also note the tribunals’ comments around whether your views might contravene GMC guidance, however, again there is no evidence to indicate that you have provided inappropriate advice or care to patients based on your views.”
It continued: “In our view it would not be proportionate to consider what might happen in a hypothetical situation such as if you were to be approached by a transgender patient for instance and we could not open an investigation on this basis.”
Dr Mackereth will now be taking this case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Premier has reached out to the Department for Work and Pensions, and the General Medical Council, for comment. We await their response.