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Innocent GP in police quiz over deaths data

A GP has been mistakenly hauled in for police questioning after a PCO passed on data from a secret post-Shipman study of mortality rates.

The study by the Eastern health and social services board in Northern Ireland also led police to interview undertakers about the GP's clinical expertise and social habits.

The incident has borne out GP worries that comparing mortality figures will lead to unwarranted investigations because the data only lists the numbers of deaths, not how or why the patients died.

Northern LMC chair Dr Colin Hegan said the investigation was scandalous. 'We can't be strong enough in our condemnation,' he said. 'The GPC will seek to clarify what happened.'

He said the GPC wanted to know why the police investigated when one of their lines of inquiry concerned whether the GP had misprescribed an enema to a patient who did not even die.

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