Petition to No 10 in support of doctor
PUBLISHED: 16:04 23 July 2001 | UPDATED: 10:21 03 March 2010
SUPPORTERS of a suspended Felixstowe doctor have staged a march to No 10 Downing Street as part of their campaign to get him reinstated.
SUPPORTERS of a suspended Felixstowe doctor were today marching on No 10 Downing Street as they took their campaign to get him reinstated to the Prime Minister.
Around 20 protesters left the seaside town this morning to travel to London, where they were due to deliver a 2,500-signature petition and 300 letters to Tony Blair's office.
At the time when Dr Charles Burnham-Slipper was struck off the doctors' register in May, there was a huge groundswell of support for him from patients – and organisers of the trip to Downing Street had hoped many more would join in a London march.
"We had hoped to take two or three coaches down, and lots of people have rung to say they would have liked to have come with us," said campaign organiser Penny Parker.
"But a lot of people are at work and a lot on holiday, and many others could not get the time off work because colleagues are on leave.
"We would have got better support if we had done this on a Saturday, but then the GMC office is closed on a Saturday, so that was out."
The campaign intends to keep on fighting for the GP's return to work, but is disappointed at the lack of time it is taking for the appeal to be fixed and heard.
"We will do whatever we can to keep the pressure up, but we are in the hands of the Privy Council, which will hear the appeal, and they have given no indication yet as to when the appeal will be heard," she added.
Those who were on the march today were also taking copies of the boxes of documents calling for Dr Burnham-Slipper's reinstatement to the General Medical Council's (GMC) headquarters in Portland Street.
The GP was struck off after being found guilty of professional misconduct.
He failed to refer five patients, including four women who suspected they had cancer, to specialists and was criticised for removing a large number of patients' medical records from his practice, the Walton surgery.
He is currently suspended pending the outcome of an appeal, though this is still not likely to be heard for some months.
Dr Burnham-Slipper is due to go before the High Court tomorrow for a review of the GMC's decision.
If the move succeeds, he could see the ban on him practising lifted as far as private work is concerned.
The campaign believe the punishment meted out to Dr Burnham-Slipper by the GMC was too harsh and say their only aim is to see him reinstated.
It accepts that Dr William McKee, his partner at the practice in Walton High Street, Felixstowe, did right to report his concerns about the GP.
It also accepts that he needed to be punished but feels he should have been given a different sentence and allowed to continue practising with help and support to overcome the problems being caused by his workload.
Both Dr Burnham-Slipper, of Golf Road, and Dr McKee, of Westmorland Road, have declined to comment at present.