Doctor linked to 'British Fritzl' case suspended by GMC

Work of GP who missed signs of daughters' repeated sexual abuse was 'below minimum standard'

The family doctor who failed to spot injuries and signs of abuse on the daughters raped and abused by the "British Josef Fritzl" for 20 years was suspended from practising as a GP four years ago and has not worked as a doctor since.

Dr Thakur Singh, a GP in Sheffield, was suspended following a complaint by the South Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority about his poor performance. Assessors from the General Medical Council (GMC) found that Dr Singh's ability to assess and communicate with patients, treat emergencies, arrange investigations and keep records was below the minimum standard expected of a doctor.

Dr Singh told reporters last week that he treated the family for many years and had thought the father was a "nice man". He said: "I am so shocked about what has happened. I don't know why I failed to stop anything – I would need to see my notes again."

He claimed he was suspended because of poor record keeping. But minutes from the GMC hearings obtained by the IoS show his failings were more fundamental and far-reaching.

GMC assessors concluded that Dr Singh, who graduated in 1964 from Agra University in India, was seriously deficient in his performance, "which could lead to patients being exposed on a regular basis to significant risks in the provision of health care".

It is not clear how many patients, colleagues or managers raised concerns about his work or when complaints began.

Dr Singh treated both daughters throughout their childhood, after the physical and sexual abuse began. He continued to treat them through 19 pregnancies, including 10 miscarriages and two child deaths, but never raised concerns about their safety or the welfare of their children.

Before the doctor's suspension, the girls' father continued to bring his daughters and their children to see Dr Singh after they had moved away from Sheffield. As a result, the doctor was the one professional to have contact with the whole family over a long period of time.

In all, social workers, police and doctors missed 150 separate opportunities to intervene over two decades. Family members said they reported their suspicions to the authorities many times over two decades but no action was taken. An investigation has been launched to find out why.

Social work experts said this weekend that disclosure of incest is extremely rare and is largely dependent on the victim forming a trusting relationship with a professional.

The father supposedly moved the girls every few months to avoid detection by social workers, teachers and police.

One senior social worker said: "In these types of cases, there is no clear starting point. But a family that moves all the time, multiple teenage pregnancies, children born with learning disabilities – these are all things that should raise suspicions. But they need to be followed and investigated over time."

She added: "Disclosure from a victim is very rare. When it does happen, it usually comes after an episode of physical abuse or when a child has run away: after some sort of crisis.

"But this is dependent on a strong and trusting relationship between the victim and the professional, as well as the professional having the skills to ask the right questions in the right way. By repeatedly moving the family, the girls might never have developed such a relationship with a teacher or social worker or anyone at all."

News
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Life and Style
food + drinkFrom Mediterranean Tomato Tart to Raw Caramel Peanut Pie
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Extras
Boys to men: there’s nothing wrong with traditional ‘manly’ things, until masculinity is used to exclude people
indybest13 best grooming essentials
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Life and Style
healthMovember isn't about a moustache trend, it saves lives
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities