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 firstname.lastname@example.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.