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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70216
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I am a consultant surgeon in NHS (England). A patient's father

Customer Question

I am a consultant surgeon in NHS (England). A patient's father has written to my Trust and to the GMC accusing me (among other things) of asking for a bribe (£10000 in cash to make a referral to a different specialist). This is obviously false (although difficult to "prove" given no recording of verbal conversations) and presumably is libel. These accusations will be dealt with through the Trust complaints process and through the GMC. Meanwhile, if these accusations were to surface publicly, I think my Trust might have to suspend me and my reputation would be very severely damaged. Should I consider suing for libel?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
In my opinion, you should. It is about time these accusers had to face the consequences of their actions.
However, you may need to consider the costly nature of the action and the fact that he is probably a man of straw so can't pay. I realise that there may be more in this for you than recovering money compensation but the fact that this could be expensive is an issue to consider.
Even if these allegations dont come to the attention of the public though, enough people know about it to cause it to amount to libel.
You could also consider a report to the police of malicious communication. This is a false allegation.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your advice. I will also take advice from my insurers (Medical Protection Society) who are already involved. My feeling is that, as you say, legal action may be more trouble and cost than it's worth at this stage - especially as my main concern is to avoid adverse publicity (for the Trust as well as myself). However, perhaps a letter threatening legal action would be sufficient at this stage? I'd be happy to let the Trust and GMC investigate in due course etc, but in the meantime I think the accusers should be aware that their actions and accusations are not without potential consequence for themselves.
Expert:  Jo C. replied 1 year ago.
Oh yes, it will. But protecting your reputation from these false accusers may be more important.
I completely agree with your last sentence. At the moment there are very few real risks to making a false allegation. There is an outside chance of being prosecuted for perverting if you actually make a false allegation of crime but the occasions when that actually happens are miniscule and there are lots of ways of stopping short of that whilst still achieving the ruination of a person's reputuation.
The real reason the rape conviction rate is low is that there are far more false claims than for conventional crime. It is nothing to do with sexist attitudes. It is what happens when you prosecute innocent people.
About time accusers were made to think about whether they could prove their nasty allegations before they make them.