GP to shooter: Give me money or I’ll lie on your medical report

5 July 2016 – A doctor reportedly tried to blackmail a shotgun certificate applicant into wrongly making payment for a medical report, according to the Countryside Alliance.

In an update on problems with the GP report system imposed on firearm and shotgun certificate holders, published by the association today, one paragraph reads:

In one instance the GP sent an invoice directly to the applicant even though the GP had given the OK for the police to issue the shotgun licence. The GP practice stated along with the invoice that if it was not paid then a second report would be sent to the police, risking the revocation of the licence.

This is alarming and the inference is clear: if the shooter wasn’t fit to possess shotguns in the first place, the original report would have said so. A second report would clearly have included partial or complete falsehoods about the shooter’s medical condition, or a statement of personal opinion from the doctor, so as to induce police to refuse to issue the certificate.

As UK Shooting News’ author predicted when the spectre of increased GP involvement in the firearms licensing process was first raised by police early last year, doctors are simply trying to use shooters as cash cows – and it seems they are turning vengeful when shooters rightly ask them to obey the rules agreed by their trade union, the British Medical Association.

When GPs do things like this, the essential trust between doctor and patient is eroded away. Range talk overheard by UKSN’s author suggests that some shooters are now considering only talking to medical professionals in the event of an obviously life-threatening condition developing.

The CA said: “The Countryside Alliance has stated that the continuous monitoring of fitness for licence holders can work and will be of benefit to public safety if fully functional. However, to be fully functional the GPs need to work in accordance with the guidance set by the Home Office in accordance with the BMA, the police and licence holders. Fortunately for the shooting community, there is a review of the process at the end of this year, so all issues can be brought to light and fixed.”

The association urges members who have problems with the licensing system to email them on shooting@countryside-alliance.org so they can be discussed at the review meeting.

“It is vital that we are left with a working system with all stakeholders pulling their weight for the greater good,” concluded the CA.

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6 thoughts on “GP to shooter: Give me money or I’ll lie on your medical report

  1. Nick B

    To my mind the system doesn’t achieve what it should – it dis-incentivises shooters to report anything that they’re worried might lead to revocation. So we’ll end up with shooters with undiagnosed and untreated conditions (I’m thinking depression, stress and the like).

    When this process was brought in – there should have been emphasis made that it’s about public safety and not hoovering guns up from those needing a little TLC. A provision could have been made that as long as a shooter was open and honest with his / her GP, and continued to receive support from said GP as not being a danger to themselves or others (in any regard – not just as it pertains to firearms) then said firearms would not be at risk of seizure.

    Shifting the cost onto us for medical reports when this is a matter of public safety is furthering the lack of incentive to play the game.

    I can sympathise with the affected applicant in the story as my GP tried to shaft me on my application ( it wasn’t actually my GP who wrote the letter, I guess he asked for guidance from above and his practice senior partner wrote it – who is basically an arrogant, bad tempered ar5e).

    Fortunately in my case – I had previously read up on the BASC website some good notes about the process and when sending the request for a report into the GP I instructed them to copy me in on anything they sent to the police. Doing so I was forewarned about what was going in and managed to mitigate what he’d written (by pointing out none of it was factual and was in fact personal opinion – which the BMA / Home Office et al had made clear was not permissible).

    It’s a catch 22 as we don’t trust the police to make decisions based on medical conditions they aren’t qualified to determine, and we don’t trust the medical profession to be impartial in the report they produce.

    Perhaps the way forward is a prescribed form that the GP must fill in that gives them zero room for opinion and only asks for facts – perhaps Yes/ No answers only. Not even a single free text box, such that they can’t inject “any additional info”. In concert with this – if the form comes back to the police with relevant boxes marked in the positive (not a danger to self | others) / negative (as in – never suffered from) as applicable – then it’s an automatic approve / deny – and remove the human opinion out of the equation.

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  2. Robert Sandison

    GP’s are not psychiatrists and why confine these reports to gun owners ? Why not car owners ? They cause far more deaths and carnage .

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  3. Amy Adams

    When registered at a GP practice several years ago, my ‘Christian’ GP, Dr Michael Bracebridge (a beardy weirdy happy clapper lefty do gooder who spent his holidays cycling round Africa doing ‘missionary’ work) wrote to West Mercia Police and said it was his surgeries normal policy to recommend refusal for any FAC. I was shown his letter by the Fire arms officer
    He didnt think it was right for me to legally possess a FAC as it was against Christs teachings. I didnt know guns were around when the bible comic book was written.

    Scum like him shouldnt be making moral judgments based on his own sick belief in an imaginary sky fairy who purports to liveth forever if you drink his blood and eat his flesh.

    I made a successful appeal against his bigoted beliefs and have continuously held a FAC for 39 years.

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    1. JR

      Fight fire with fire ? Luke 22.36
      “Then said he unto them, But now, he that has a purse, let him take it, and likewise his bag: and he that has no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”
      I knew that Scripture Classes might have a value one day.

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      1. Amy Adams

        ….and those who beat their swords to plough shears, shall be killed by those who do not, for the meek shall NOT inherit the Earth

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