Dr John Roylance, the trust chief executive struck off for serious professional misconduct in the Bristol paediatric heart surgery case, has failed in an unprecedented attempt to obtain access to shorthand notes of confidential deliberations by the General Medical Council.

Dr Roylance, the only one of the three doctors in the case to appeal, made his bid before the judicial committee of the Privy Council, which hears appeals from GMC decisions.

One ground of the appeal is an allegation of real or apparent bias on the part of the professional conduct committee, particularly the chair, Sir Donald Irvine, president of the GMC.

Lawyers for the doctors argued unsuccessfully during the GMC hearing that Sir Donald or the committee should stand down because Sir Donald's line of questioning showed he had pre-judged the issues, and the fact that his grandson was undergoing treatment for a heart condition meant he could not be objective.

But in response to Dr Roylance's Privy Council appeal, Lords Steyn and Hobhouse and Sir Christopher Slade held that the deliberations were covered by public interest immunity.