GP 'failed to examine asthmatic patient'

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

A GP was accused yesterday of failing to examine a patient who later died from a lung infection, only two months after he was suspended for similar offences.

The General Medical Council's professional conduct committee was told that Dr Robert Jones had been suspended by the committee in March 1992, having been found guilty of serious professional misconduct, but was allowed to continue practising pending an unsuccessful appeal in the High Court.

Dr Jones, 51, of Cogggeshall, Essex, was reported to the GMC by the widow of Ronald Roberts, 58, for allegedly failing to examine him or refer him to hospital for a possible life-saving x-ray.

Mrs Roberts, of Westfield Drive, Coggeshall, wept as she told the committee her asthmatic husband, who had otherwise been fit and well, started to concern her when he 'suddenly lost his appetite and retired to bed for a week'.

She took him to Dr Jones's surgery and explained her worries about his breathlessness.

'He just wrote out a prescription, saying it was the rape seed that was causing the trouble.'

The interview with the doctor took a maximum of five minutes and at no stage did Dr Jones examine her husband, the committee was told.

Mrs Roberts took her husband to the Lake District in the hope that this would get him away from the rape seed, but it did not work so she took him back to Coggeshall.

He had X-rays, which diagnosed a lung disorder but died after surgery at Colchester hospital on 17 August last year.

The committee has already heard that Dr Jones had his registration suspended after being found guilty of failing to undertake adequate examination of a patient in 1989.

Dr Jones's wife Diane was murdered in 1983 and her body found three months later.