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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs' square root is minus one

Harold Shipman killed between 10 and 15 patients during his four-year stint as a hospital doctor in Yorkshire, the final report of the Shipman Inquiry has concluded.

Inquiry chair Dame Janet Smith said she was only able to identify three deaths that could confidently be blamed on the serial killer.

But she said it was likely other patients about whom she had 'some suspicions' were murdered by Shipman.

The inquiry considered evidence on 137 deaths at Pontefract General Infirmary, West Yorkshire, between 1970 and 1974. The new findings mean Shipman was likely to have murdered around 250 people between 1971 and 1998.

Dame Janet suggested that his hospital killings might have happened as a result of 'a reckless experimentation with drugs, rather than as a result of a positive intent to kill'.

She said the knowledge that Shipman had killed in his hospital days caused her to re-examine his later murders as a GP, but she had been unable to reach any new conclusions.

Dr Jeffery Moysey, a GP who practised out of the same Hyde premises as Shipman, said it was 'no surprise' that his personality had led him to kill throughout his career.

He said: 'My view is that underlying this is his flawed and criminal character. Had he chosen a different career path he probably would have killed in a similar way.'

Dr Moysey hoped the GPs of Hyde could now continue to rebuild their patients' trust.

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