§ Lord Alderdice
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What representations they have received from the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in relation to the disciplinary system used by the National Health Service in respect of doctors; and [HL3294]
(a) how many doctors have been suspended from their posts in the National Health Service each year since 1994; (b) for how long each suspension lasted; and (c) the outcome of each suspension; and [HL3295]
On what basis the National Health Service is exempt from requirements to comply with European law in respect of the rights of qualified and approved doctors to practise medicine except after their suspension by either the General Medical Council or a court of law. [HL3296]
§ Baroness Hayman
National Health Service employers, like other employers, have to comply with European law. There are no exemptions for the NHS in European law in respect of the rights of doctors to practice medicine. Hospital doctors who are suspended from duty, in most cases, continue to receive full pay during the investigative process because suspension is a neutral act. There have been no representations received from the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in relation to the disciplinary system used by the NHS in respect of doctors.
Information on the number of NHS doctors suspended is held centrally only for those cases lasting more than six months and was not collected prior to 31 March 1995. For the period 31 March 1995 to 30 April 1998, there have been a total of 33 reported cases of suspension, of which 11 cases are still unresolved. The average length of suspension for these cases is 13 months. Information on the outcome of each suspension, other than the date when suspension was lifted, is not available centrally.