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GP opposed to vaccines “gave false evidence in court case”

8 August 2007

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A GP gave misleading advice during a court case involving vaccines including MMR, the General Medical Council (GMC) has heard.

Dr Jayne Donegan, from a practice in Herne Hill, south London, “convinced herself” of the dangers of vaccines, and gave false evidence during a hearing, the Fitness to Practise Panel in Manchester was told.

The GP testified during a Winchester High Court case in 2002 in which the mothers of two children, both girls, aged four and 10, opposed their fathers’ attempts to force the youngsters to be vaccinated.

Dr Donegan submitted two reports as an expert witness and gave evidence to the judge, Mr Justice Sumner, backing the mothers’ stance in opposing the MMR jab and other immunisations.

But it is alleged she gave “wholly misleading” information to the court in highlighting the dangers to children, quoting selectively from medical reports and omitting information which did not support her views.

After several hearings and an appeal, the mothers lost the case, with the judge labelling Dr Donegan’s report “junk science”.

She is accused of acting unprofessionally and bringing the profession into disrepute by failing to present an objective, independent and unbiased view as she is supposed to as an expert witness.

The hearing is expected to last two weeks. GMC

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