Medical Council inquiry a breach of ‘basic rights as a citizen’

Dr Marcus de Brun says he faced ‘malicious’ complaint after patient left psychiatric care

Chairwoman Mary Duff said the committee was not satisfied there was a contravention of the Act and it was therefore not making any findings against the doctor. Photograph: PA

Chairwoman Mary Duff said the committee was not satisfied there was a contravention of the Act and it was therefore not making any findings against the doctor. Photograph: PA

 

A GP under review at a Medical Council inquiry has claimed the hearing is in contravention of his “basic rights as a citizen”.

Dr Marcus de Brun, a general practitioner with a sole practice which serves 3,000 patients in Co Dublin, was the subject of a fitness to practice inquiry on Monday.

Dr de Brun faced allegations relating to his refusal to participate in a professional assessment programme, after he was referred to one by the council in 2015. On foot of this, he was accused of contravening a provision of the Medical Practitioners Act 2007.

Dr de Brun admitted he did not participate in the assessment programme but he was cleared by the fitness to practice inquiry of the allegation that he contravened a provision of the Act.

Dr de Brun, representing himself, told the inquiry that in 2014 he had been the subject of an initial “insulting and malicious” complaint. He said the complaint was made by one of his patients shortly after she had left a psychiatric facility. He said the council investigated this complaint for a year but it was then closed.

‘Upsetting’

Dr de Brun said that although the complaint was closed, the council referred him to a professional competence scheme in 2015. He said this included an assessment of his own mental health, which he found “upsetting”.

He said the council also requested that he submit all his patient medical records to the council, and submit to an investigation of his premises. He said he was also asked to surrender his private mobile phone number, which he found to be “invasive and intimidating”.

He argued it was not in the interest of his patients or himself to submit all their medical records to the council.

Dr de Brun said the entire process has been going on for four years, and that he felt his guilt had been something of a foregone conclusion.

“I think the structure of this hearing is in contravention of my basic rights to impartiality in any hearing,” he said. “I consider this tribunal in contravention of my basic rights as a citizen.”

Matter concluded

Rory Mulcahy SC, for the chief executive of the Medical Council, said: “It’s not accepted there’s any unfairness here.”

Later, the inquiry committee – which rules on the case – said they were satisfied that the factual allegations against Dr de Brun, relating to his refusal to participate in the scheme, were proven, as he admitted to them.

But chairwoman Mary Duff said the committee was not satisfied there was a contravention of the Act and it was therefore not making any findings against the doctor.

The matter has now concluded.