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Independents' Day

My nightmare over false complaint

Three years ago three doctors formulated complaints against me involving supplying methadone to a child who died and fraud, among others. Despite being factually inaccurate, the complaint was accepted by the Fitness to Practise Directorate and I was eventually ­ about five months later ­ informed what the allegations were.

My nine-page reply lay dormant at the GMC for exactly one year from August 2000, when I was asked to 'give more details'.

Considering the LMC, GMC and my defence organisation had every scrap of patients' notes and relevant letters, I had nothing further to offer, and caved in under the strain.

I was ill with severe depression for six months, in which time my marriage disintegrated and my partners struggled to cope with the workload, which was already high due to our being a partner short. Before I was properly recovered, one of the remaining partners left, fed up with the workload.

Exactly two years after these spurious complaints were made, I was completely exonerated.

Since January this year I have been pulling my life together, and have been trying to get some retribution ­ even an apology.

One of the doctors had already left the area, another has just been moved on to a senior post, and the third was ignored by the GMC anyway.

I have approached the LMC, which brushed me aside. The Department of Health could do nothing, the GMC replied that cases in future will be dealt with quicker than the two years mine took.

My MP was concerned, but toothless, and Health Minister

John Hutton did not even bother

to reply.

So, to whom do we complain? I would love to sue the GMC, and the doctors who put in these allegations against me, but have not the energy, running a four-man surgery of 8,000 patients with my one remaining partner, and still suffering nightmares of being wrongly accused and having my accusers believed for two years despite all the evidence.

I was lucky: the press did not get to know what was going on.

But the nation has lost another good doctor ­ my daughter was

so upset at the trauma I went through, she has stopped her medical studies.

After all, if you can't trust fellow doctors, and your super-strong mother becomes suicidal under the pressure, and the GMC, LMC and other colleagues do not support, life in medicine is not so tempting after all.

Dr SF Timmins



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