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GPs face practice sale as ex-partner sues

A GP who left a practice after being convicted for supplying heroin is taking his former partners to court over money he claims he is owed from an extension to the surgery.

Dr Michael Jones, who left after being fined £2,000 in 1997 for supplying and stealing heroin, could now win up to £50,000 if he successfully claims one-third of the extension's value.

The remaining GPs have said they will be forced to sell the practice if they lose the case and are pressing for the matter to be resolved by arbitration.

Dr Keith Wells, a GP at the three-partner surgery, said he found the prospect of court action galling as he saved Dr Jones from a heroin overdose in 1997.

He told Pulse he thought Dr Jones had suffered a stroke when he found him unconscious, but Dr Jones's girlfriend told him it was a heroin overdose. Dr Wells then administered Nalaxone (Narcan) and called an ambulance. 'He was as near dead as I have ever seen anybody. If I had not been there he wouldn't have survived,' Dr Wells said.

Dr Jones believes he is entitled to one-third of the value of the extension because it was paid for by savings made when he was at the practice. In a statement issued through his solicitor, he said he hoped

to resolve the dispute via


The extension to the Marple Cottage Surgery in Manchester was built in 1995 using savings accrued from fundholding.

Dr Wells said the reserves were not designed to allow the GPs to make short-term gains but to reinvest in the practice.

'The money does not exist, because the money was an

improvement grant, not income, not money earned,' he said. 'It was money allocated to the practice to improve


He added that Dr Jones was never a part-owner of the surgery and there was never an agreement regarding the change in ownership.

'I wish Dr Jones would leave us alone. That would be the honourable thing to do. The Department of Health would not be pleased if they thought fundholding savings were being taken by a doctor who's got a conviction for heroin abuse.'

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