GP's career destroyed by complaint

Regulation: Catch-22 leaves GP unable to work after spurious complaint wrecked career.

A GP at the peak of her career has lost everything after refusing to register a patient who swore at her staff.

A resulting complaint was so badly handled that the Kent GP stopped working when her health broke down from stress.

The Health Service Ombudsman was so concerned at how Medway and West Kent PCTs mishandled the complaint that she took the unprecedented step of awarding the doctor, known as Dr D, £25,000 compensation and forced the PCTs to apologise.

But the effective abolition of the GP Returner scheme has left Dr D - who wishes to remain anonymous - unable to return to practice.

'I said: "You called my nurse a bitch, and we're not going to have you on the list." That sentence was the end of my career,' Dr D told GP.

'I was a good GP, a senior partner and a founder of my practice. I was an appraiser, taught medical students and had sat on numerous PCT review panels. I never had a complaint in my life. If I were the main breadwinner, my family would be bankrupt.'

The Ombudsman found Medway and West Kent PCTs' 'maladministration' responsible for cutting short Dr D's career.

Under the strain, Dr D developed bipolar disorder and was suspended by the GMC on health grounds.

Although her condition is stabilised and her registration restored with conditions, Dr D cannot get on to Kent, Surrey and Sussex (KSS) deanery's induction and refresher scheme.

Dr D needs to work for six months under supervision. Dr Hilary Diack, associate GP dean at KSS deanery, said the deanery has told Dr D to ask the GMC and Medway PCT for funding 00to be retrained.

'I asked if I can be retrained by friends or by my husband who is a trainer, but I can't,' Dr D said.

'I am 52. I'd be on a waiting list and a woman of 32 who has taken time out to have a baby will always be ahead of me,' Dr D said. 'The chances of my ever getting back into practice are negligible.

'I'm very, very sad that I'll probably never be able to do NHS work again,' she added.

NHS Medway declined to comment on Dr D but said requests for training would be considered 'case by case'.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said complaints should be handled fairly and promptly and GPs found innocent given access to retraining.

prisca.middlemiss@haymarket.com

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