Whilst the Professional Conduct Committee found that the facts of this case did not ultimately amount to UPC, this case is warning to principals when dealing with complaints against their fellow colleagues. The case involved the head of the practice who had received a complaint of a sexual nature against one of his colleagues and thereafter provided a character reference for his colleague during an interim suspension hearing.
The Committee found that notwithstanding the fact the registrant had notified the patient of the general complaints procedure, there was a duty on the registrant to directly refer complaints of a serious nature to the GCC (notwithstanding the rules at the time did not provide for this) and provide the patient with details of the GCC. Nonetheless the PCC determined that the Registrant had acted honestly, had not intended to mislead anyone but had handled the complaint with poor judgment. Accordingly the Committee found that the registrant’s actions fell short of unacceptable professional conduct.