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22 SEP 2008

Dr David Southall allowed to return to child protection work

The General Medical Council (GMC) has lifted a ban on paediatrician Dr David Southall from carrying out child protection work.

Following the GMC finding Dr Southall guilty of serious professional misconduct he was banned in July 2004 from such work.

Andrew Reid, chairman of the panel, told Dr Southall: You have acknowledged that you have learnt a lot from these proceedings and that it will impact on all the work you do.

"You have expressed regret for the impact that the Professional Conduct Committee findings have had on the profession, and remorse that your actions have contributed to the fear that now exists amongst paediatricians involved in child protection work.

"The panel considers that you have demonstrated considerable insight into your previous failings."

In April, Dr Southall successfully overturned a suspension from working as a doctor and in July he was cleared of serious professional misconduct by the GMC but remained banned from child protection work.

At the GMC Fitness to Practise Panel hearing last month, the paediatrician said he accepted the language he used in the Sally Clark case was "injudicious". However, he maintained that he still thought he was correct to raise the alarm over Mr Clark after watching the interview given to Channel 4's Dispatches programme.

As a result of Dr Southall's accusations, Mrs Clark was wrongly convicted of murdering her children and jailed in 1999. Mrs Clark was cleared by the Court of Appeal and released from prison in January 2003. She died in 2007.

Speaking after the hearing, Dr Southall said: "I would like to say how pleased I am by the General Medical Council's decision today. I would like to thank my paediatric colleagues, especially those who came to give evidence on my behalf."

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