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RCOG statement on CPS actions

News 31 March 2014

From time to time sensitive issues arise that are of significant public interest and importance concerning our work. The RCOG takes a leading role in such debates, providing a forum where Fellows and Members can exchange views. The College itself may make contributions to such debates, providing statements and publishing reports on issues of public importance relevant to obstetrics and gynaecology. We believe it is a valuable part of the role of a modern College that we do not shy away from such public debates.

Very rarely, it may be alleged that a Fellow or Member may have committed a crime in the course of their work. The Royal College is not a defence body, such as the MDU, the MDS or the MDDUS, nor is it a trade union like the BMA. The College exists to promote the science and practice of obstetrics and gynaecology, which means that our role is to assist practitioners to do their best for women’s health and health care. It would be unlawful for us to make public comments that may prejudice specific cases that are pending before the courts. However, we may suggest expert advisers when we are asked to do so and we may comment in a generic sense on the subject matter of such cases when we think it is appropriate.

We understand that the first case under the Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 has been brought by the Crown Prosecution Service. We are aware of the public debate that has broken out and a number of Fellows and Members have been in touch with the College asking us to express our views. For obvious reasons we are not going to make any comment about this case.