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Quality pay gap set to hit £300m next year

Dr Fiona Vernon underwent a seven-hour court ordeal this week as she faced claims that her negligence contributed to a patient's death from meningitis.

Dr Vernon, a GP in Thornhill, Dumfriesshire, is being sued for £300,000 by the children of Catherine Learmont, who died in 1999.

The claimants accuse Dr Vernon of failing to diagnose Mrs Learmont during an out-of-hours consultation, despite symptoms of headache, sickness, a stiff neck and rash.

But Dr Vernon told the hearing at the Court of Session in Edinburgh she had carried out a full investigation and excluded meningitis. 'Mrs Learmont did not strike me as someone who was very unwell. I was further reassured when I saw her rash,' she said.

She said the patient had not presented with photophobia, severe headache or difficulty flexing her neck. Mrs Learmont died the next day.

The hearing continues.

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