Sacked gynaecologist tells GMC he was the victim of a 'witch hunt'

A gynaecologist sacked following allegations that he sterilised women without their consent yesterday claimed he was the victim of a witch hunt by colleagues.

Michael Pembrey, 56, is accused of carrying out unnecessary, unwanted or incompetent treatment over 10 years while a hospital doctor.

The claims involved nine women he treated between November 1989 and September 1999 while a consultant at the Conquest Hospital in Hastings, East Sussex, the General Medical Council's professional conduct committee heard.He has also been accused of sterilising two women, one with severe learning difficulties and another with Down's syndrome, without the proper consent or authority.

But the committee sitting in London was told Mr Pembrey was the victim of a management vendetta to oust him from his job.

Robert Francis QC, acting for Mr Pembrey, told the GMC that his employers, the Hastings and Rother NHS trust, wanted to dismiss him over previous arguments. Mr Francis said the trust "went public" and issued statements to the media concerning the doctor's conduct. He told a GMC committee the charges against the father-of-four should be thrown out.

Mr Pembrey, from Battle, East Sussex, denies serious professional misconduct. He has been suspended on full pay since September 1999.

After hearing submissions from the doctor's counsel, the committee rejected the application to stop the proceedings. Andrew Ferguson, the chairman, said: "The committee has been unable to conclude that Mr Pembrey would be unable to receive a fair hearing."

The hearing is expected to last three weeks, and patients will give evidence for the first time today.

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