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Independents' Day

GPs leading healthier lifestyles than before

The case of a GP who remains suspended a year after being cleared of indecent assault was debated in the House of Commons last week.

Blyth Valley MP Ronnie Campbell raised the case of Dr Jayanti Ghosh, a singlehanded GP in Blythe, Northumberland, after being shocked at the length of his suspension.

Following allegations in 2003, Newcastle Crown Court found Dr Ghosh not guilty of indecent assault in April last year, but he was suspended again after losing an employment tribunal relating to one of the complaints against him.

'We are talking about a deliberate act by the PCT to destroy Dr Ghosh's practice,' said Mr Campbell, who represents Labour.

Dr Ghosh was found guilty of gross professional misconduct by the GMC in 2002 for inappropriate prescribing to drug misusers.

But Mr Campbell stressed Dr Ghosh is not prevented from practising. 'The PCT appears to be using Shipman regulations to get at any doctor it wants,' he said. 'Since he

was charged this has gone

on for almost two years.'

He had little hope the PCT would reinstate Dr Ghosh at a meeting next week. The Department of Health refused to open an inquiry.

The case is the latest in a line of lengthy GP suspensions that have prompted concern over PCTs' powers.

London GP Dr Zafar Malik is to take his suspension by Waltham Forest PCT to the High Court later this month.

He was suspended this year following allegations including that his handwriting was illegible, that he failed to meet health and safety requirements, and that fruit juice was left in a medical fridge. Dr Malik wants the suspension declared unlawful and is seeking compensation for mental torture and loss of earnings.

Dr Stephanie Bown, medi-colegal adviser at the Medical Protection Society, which is representing him, said: 'Since PCTs were given the power to suspend doctors they have executed it not infrequently and sometimes where it does not appear justified.'

Waltham Forest PCT said it had acted properly.

By Joe Lepper

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