The removal of Wakefield's name from the medical register is a warning to us all to tow the party lineYesterday the General Medical Council (GMC) erased the names of Dr Andrew Wakefield and Professor John Walker-Smith from the UK medical register. It is asserted that they acted dishonestly and irresponsibly and that they carried out invasive tests on vulnerable children that caused these children distress and were not in their best interests.
It seems to me that this case is less about patient care and more about stamping out dissent to ensure that all doctors follow the party line, particularly where vaccines are concerned.
It is extraordinary that not one of the parents of the children that these caring doctors are supposed to have mistreated have made a complaint. Indeed several of them were standing with me yesterday outside the GMC voicing their support for Dr Wakefield and his colleagues in no uncertain terms.
It is particularly remarkable that the GMC has struck off Professor John Walker-Smith, now retired, who was one of the most respected and reputable paediatric gastroenterologists in the world and has been described as the 'founding father' of paediatric gastroenterology.
The GMC has sent out a clear and unequivocal message here: dissent will not be tolerated. Any doctor who does not follow the establishment line will be severely punished. When I entered medicine I understood that the interests of my patients were of paramount importance; over recent years it seems that the interests of central diktat have become more important.
Added 25 May 2010