The second respondent (ST) in this case was a registered dentist. In September 2015, following a fitness to practice committee hearing, the GDC committee held that ST's fitness to practice was impaired by reason of misconduct. The committee imposed a 12 month conditions of practice order as sanction. In exercise of it’s power to refer decisions of fitness to practice committees to the Inner House, the Professional Standards Agency (PSA) raised an appeal. The principal ground of appeal was that the sanction imposed was unduly lenient.
In dismissing that ground of appeal the Inner House considered that "In its analysis of the various factors pointing towards impairment of fitness to practise it is clear that the committee considered remediation to be an important consideration." The committee, according to the Inner House, had adopted a "cautious approach" in finding that while the misconduct was remediable and insight was developing, the steps which ST had taken to address his misconduct were still in the early stages and as at the date of the hearing there had not been sufficient remediation to remove the risk of repetition. In the context of sanction the committee returned to the issue of remediation and had considered that suspension from practice would not enable the registrant to address the issues identified by the committee. The committee decided that a 12 month condition of practice order would allow ST time to address the areas identified as being deficient and provide the required information to the GDC. The conditions of practice order was to be reviewed before the end of the period of the order.
The Inner House rejected the PSA's assertion that the judgement resulted in a manifestly inappropriate outcome. The Inner House considered that it was appropriate to show respect to the expertise of the committee as a professional decision-making body. In their opinion all relevant material was before the committee and due consideration was given to the relevant factors. They found favour with the observation of the Court in Council for the Regulation of Health Care Professionals v General Medical Council and Ruscillo  1 WLR 717 that:
“Where all material evidence has been placed before the disciplinary tribunal and it has given due consideration to the relevant factors, the Council and the court should place weight on the expertise brought to bear in evaluating how best the needs of the public and the profession should be protected.”
The Inner House were advised that the lay chair was highly experienced and that both the dentist member and the dental nurse member were very experienced members of standing in their professions and reached the view that the sanction imposed by the committee could not be said to be unduly lenient.
From the point of view of registrants, there is little doubt that ST's misconduct - inappropriate behaviour towards colleagues of a sexually motivated nature - was very serious. He had described it himself before the GDC as "abhorrent". However, what this case highlights is that if serious misconduct is capable of remediation and the sanction is geared towards enabling the registrant to demonstrate remediation, suspension or removal from the register can quite properly be avoided.