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Independents' Day

GP in 'bitch' case takes her trust to ombudsman

A GP forced to attend an independent review panel after telling a patient not to call her practice nurse a 'bitch' has

taken her case to the Health Service Ombuds- man.

Dr Gerri McKeever condemned Medway PCT for making her appear before the panel last week and has vowed to pursue a civil suit against the trust if the ombudsman finds in her favour.

She described the hearing as 'the most humiliating event' of her career and has taken a six-month sabbatical to retrain in another medical field.

The case has prompted a flood of letters to Pulse from GPs who have seen their lives devastated by similar cases and others angry at the increasing numbers of vexatious complaints.

Dr McKeever, a GP in Rochester, Kent, said the case caused her '13 months of hell'.

She added: 'The hearing was dreadful. I have now taken a break from general practice to train in another branch of medicine. I felt it was ridiculous that this was an investigative process, as not a single question was asked that I had not already answered in my correspondence.'

The result of the review is expected in three months.

'I told them this was a complete waste of public money, and one of my patients could have had a hip replacement for the amount they spent on this fiasco,' Dr McKeever added.

A spokeswoman for Medway PCT said: 'We are saddened this doctor is con- sidering leaving the NHS as a result of this complaint.'

She added the trust had a responsibility to investigate complaints and public confidence in the NHS's ability to deal with complaints internally was still being rebuilt.

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