DAUK statement on the MPTS case of Dr Sarah Benn

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) case of Dr Sarah Benn is pivotal in UK public health discourse.

This is a story of a clinician being punished for raising serious concerns about dangerous inaction on the greatest threat to global health we have ever, or will ever experience.

The right to peaceful protest is a basic human right. It cannot and must not be taken away, especially not when the reason for protest has an overwhelming evidence base and threatens the lives of everyone and everything we love.

Health workers protesting outside a MPTS misconduct hearing for Dr Sarah Benn

To decide what is criminal and what is legal is a decision for courts and governments.

However, as clinicians we must stand shoulder to shoulder when the evidence is as clear as with the climate crisis.

The GMC’s Good Medical Practice states that doctors ‘take prompt action’ if they think patient safety ‘is or may be seriously compromised’ which is exactly what these climate protestors claim they are doing.

The GMC says it acts to protect the public against erring doctors and must sanction doctors to maintain public trust in the profession.

Swathes of the public, if not the majority, are deeply concerned about the future of our planet and the inaction of our leaders to avert catastrophe – they are not concerned about a doctor trying to save our planet.

DAUK will proudly stand alongside Dr Benn as this tribunal progresses.

Our methods may differ but the message is clear: Governments, including the UK Government, and organisations, including the GMC, are failing to act quickly and effectively enough to protect global patient safety.

Their response, despite countless warnings from scientists across the globe, is not enough, and we are now in a position of annual life-threatening extreme weather events.

Dr Sarah Benn, we believe, is on the right side of history, and we ask the GMC and the MPTS, can you say the same?

Given the evidence on climate change and its health impacts, we strongly believe that peaceful protest should not be viewed as condemnable professional misconduct – but as commendable public health advocacy.

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