Prescription written by George Osborne's brother 'sparked concern'

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The younger brother of shadow chancellor George Osborne acted "outside his competence" when he prescribed anti-psychotic drugs to a friend, a disciplinary hearing was told today.

Dr Adam Osborne, 33, indulged in "risky" practice when he procured medication for the woman who was displaying symptoms consistent with the side-effects of cocaine, the General Medical Council panel heard.

The doctor, who was working as a psychiatry trainee at the time, sparked grave concern among his supervisors who opted to exclude him from work as soon as his "dishonest" and "inappropriate" behaviour came to light.

Dr Sean Lennon, a clinical director at the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, told the Fitness to Practise Panel in London that Dr Osborne was "not in a position" to prescribe medication to the woman, referred to as Miss B.

"My concern was that a young person was apparently acutely unwell and that this was a mental disorder (and) that she had medicines which had been prescribed by Dr Osborne," he said.

"My concern was that he was managing the care of someone outside his competence and I had anxieties then about what the implications might be for the care of other patients."

The panel has heard that on May 12 2008 Miss B arrived at the accident and emergency department of Manchester Royal Infirmary displaying "psychotic symptoms associated with the side-effects of cocaine".

The woman had been taking quetiapine - a treatment for schizophrenia - which she claimed she had been given by Dr Osborne.

But she later discharged herself, phoned Dr Osborne and made her way to Wythenshawe Hospital where he had taken up a placement.

After using a fictional name in an unsuccessful attempt to procure her medication at the hospital, the pair visited a pharmacy close to his home, in Chorlton, Manchester.

There they obtained the anti-psychotic drug haloperidol and the tranquilliser lorazepam with a private prescription.

Dr Osborne made no note of this prescription on Miss B's medical records and did not inform her GP.

When asked whether there may have been "compelling" reasons for Dr Osborne to have acted as he did, Dr Lennon replied: "A doctor has to have some responsibility for a person's care.

"I don't believe that a junior doctor is in a position to take that responsibility."

And he said Dr Osborne could have consulted a number of more senior members of staff at the hospital before settling on a course of action.

He told the panel a meeting was arranged just hours after Dr Osborne's behaviour came to light which concluded with his exclusion from practise at Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust.

When asked why the meeting was convened so soon after the allegations first arose, he told the panel: "I think that these sorts of circumstances, where there is a major concern about someone's conduct, you have got to react quickly so I was contacted very quickly."

And he said he had been spurred into action by the knowledge that Dr Osborne was due to be on duty that evening.

Earlier the panel heard how Dr Osborne had breached rules stipulating that doctors should only prescribe to friends and family in emergencies on several occasions.

This included prescribing the contraceptive pill to his then-girlfriend and the drug Zyban to a family member who was struggling to give up smoking.

In each case, Dr Osborne failed to make a note in the patient's medical records or inform their GPs.

Dr Lennon said the trainee would have been aware that this was a breach of the GMC's guidance.

Dr Osborne resigned from the trust on May 29 but an investigation into the allegations continued and he was subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct.

He is charged with prescribing drugs for his girlfriend, a family member and a friend, which he admits.

He has also admitted failing to record this information in their medical records or inform their GPs.

But he denies inappropriate, misleading conduct which was not in the best interests of the patients and in one instance dishonest.

He was initially banned from practice following the allegations but was later allowed back to work with conditions. The hearing continues.