HIV doctor 'delayed test'

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The Independent Online
The doctor at the centre of the latest Aids scare failed to get an HIV test for seven months after he was warned he might be at risk, it was alleged at a professional misconduct hearing yesterday.

Patrick Ngosa did not attend yesterday's hearing, where he was accused of failing to verify his HIV status and take adequate steps to protect patients for seven months after a former lover told him last May that she had been diagnosed as HIV positive.

It was also claimed that he had denied having had the 20-month sexual relationship with the unnamed woman, despite being questioned about it by colleagues on three occasions.

Nearly 7,000 people have telephoned hotlines for advice and reassurance since hospitals in London, Essex, Gloucestershire and Warwickshire announced a trawl of all records of women who might be at some small risk of infection after being treated by doctor in obstetrics and gynaecology in the last six years.

Nichola Davies, QC, for Dr Ngosa, of Ilford, Essex, said his public identification had been his "worst nightmare" and was probably the reason for his non- attendance. She accused the press of a "witchhunt" and asked for the case to be heard in camera. The committee decided the doctor should be named and the proceedings made public. It rejected a further application from Ms Davies for the case to be adjourned. Ms Davies said Dr Ngosa admitted the material facts but denied serious professional misconduct.

Jonathan Street, spokesman for the North Thames health region which is co-ordinating the public hotlines and inquiry, said: "It demonstrates that there is a lot of worry but all of these people shouldn't be worried because they are not on the list of patients who we regard as being at a very small degree of risk."