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There were four such instances in 2015, three in 2014 and five in 2013, according to the Council.
Under section 60, the Council can make an ex parte application to the Court for an order to suspend a doctor’s registration, whether or not they are subject of a complaint. This is if the Council considers suspension is “necessary to protect the public until steps or further steps are taken” under the Act.
The High Court must consider a doctor’s Constitutional right to earn a living when examining section 60 applications.
Council CEO Mr Bill Prasifka said the High Court “has their job and we have our job”. He noted “competing concerns” in respect of patient safety and the right of a doctor to practise and this system was “very much in place”.
“It is different in the UK, in that there is not the presumption that doctors have a right to practise, so it is easier there for someone to be struck off, but that is just the difference in the system,” he told the Medical Independent (MI).
In the three years from 2013-2015, the Council made 15 applications to the High Court under section 60 and 14 were granted. The sole rejected application was granted when a further application was made in relation to this doctor.
Whether or not a section 60 application is granted, each doctor has to go through the complaints procedure, which can proceed to a fitness to practise inquiry, said the Council.