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Doctor found guilty of professional misconduct after taking part in climate protest

AN NHS doctor was found guilty of misconduct in a landmark case yesterday over her participation in a climate protest, despite her motivation being to protect public health.

Dr Sarah Benn protested at Kingsbury oil terminal holding a sign saying “Stop new oil” in 2022. 

She was imprisoned for 32 days after she was found to have breached an injunction obtained by Valero, a US-based oil company, against all acts of protest.

As a result, the General Medical Council referred Dr Benn to a fitness to practise tribunal.

She is the first doctor to face a tribunal for involvement in non-violent direct action related to the climate emergency. 

Responding to the charge, Dr Benn said her attempt to “force the urgent actions advised by climate scientists to protect public health and the very survival of life on earth should not constitute misconduct.” 

Charity Plan B warned that the tribunal’s finding sets a disturbing precedent for the increasing numbers of medical professionals taking direct action in response to climate breakdown.

Dr Benn and other health professionals who have taken action are now at risk of losing their licences.

 

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