A row has broken out after the General Medical Council recruited a woman convicted of conspiracy to abduct a child on to an expert group charged with producing child protection guidance for doctors.Which sounds crazy, right? Another of those mad, ‘progressive’ ideas?
Well, not when you see just who this person is: doughty campaigner against the medical establishment’s stranglehold on the right to act without fear of personal consequences, Penny Mellor, of ‘MAMA’ fame:
Penny Mellor, from Wolverhampton, served eight months of an 18-month jail sentence after being found guilty of a "wicked conspiracy to abduct" a little girl in 1999. She still maintains she was trying to prevent the child from falling into the hands of social services. Mrs Mellor has been involved in more than 50 complaints against professionals working in child protection, accusing numerous doctors and nurses of misconduct.Note that the ‘Indy’ carefully avoids giving Ms Mellor’s group any publicity whatsoever. No link, not a reference to the fact that she’s doing this on behalf of disadvantaged groups (mothers fighting the medical establishment).
In fact, their description of her makes her sound like a crank.
Quite different to how they habitually describe campaigners against things the ‘Indy’ is not in favour of, in fact…
The GMC was last night under growing criticism from respected paediatricians, just months after winning widespread praise for setting up the group.‘Respected’ by whom? Dare we suggest, by other paediatricians?
Child protection experts say they are dumbfounded at the decision to appoint Mrs Mellor, who they believe has contributed to an environment of fear among paediatricians, leading many to turn their backs on child protection work.That ‘fear’ being based purely on the not unreasonable request that they work within strict guidelines and are expected to face consequences when they get it badly wrong because they haven’t followed procedures, or have no evidence for taking the action they wish to take.
How awful that must be!
The GMC refused to explain its decision to The IoS but its chief executive, Niall Dickson, told the BMJ that Mrs Mellor was included in order to give the group credibility and that it was important to hear all perspectives.It’ll take a hell of a lot more than her appointment to give this group credibility, unless it moves to redress some of the issues that have hit the headlines recently.
Mrs Mellor could not be reached for comment, but in her BMJ letter she said she welcomed the opportunity to sit around the table with the RCPCH president and "get paediatricians to listen to the other side of the story".I'm sure she’ll talk. I doubt they’ll listen.
But the GMC are to be congratulated for making the effort. The squalling and foot-stamping by the privileged few shows they are on the right track…