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Double jeopardy? Complaint led to quadruple jeopardy for me!

GPs have faced multiple jeopardy for a long time (News, March 8). It happened to me from 1999 to 2003 and hit quadruple jeopardy. A complaint was made and dealt with under local resolution.

An out-of-time complaint was then allowed to proceed by my health authority which found it unfounded. A further complaint was made, again out of time, and allowed to proceed. At the last minute it was transferred to a neighbouring health authority.

It concluded that all steps I had taken were appropriate and in line with what a GP would normally be expected to do in that situation.

The patient then referred the complaint to the ombudsman, again after the time laid down, which resulted in many letters, phone calls and eventually a GP and a solicitor from the office of the ombudsman coming to interview me. Eventually it was agreed that there was no case to answer – that my actions were appropriate and timely – but they would not guarantee that a further investigation by the GMC would be prevented by their investigation.

Four years of stress and considerable cost to the taxpayer – all because a patient had a vociferous lawyer for a relative and my health authority had an overzealous officer.

Dr Stephen Fox

Leigh, Lancashire

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