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Out of Hours Care: Another Case of Gross Negligence

A worrying news story from Croydon was highlighted by the BBC yesterday. A  doctor in Croydon , Dr Hans Raj Yadav, who had previously been suspended, being allowed to practice in a crucial position as an out of hours doctor.

An inquiry by Croydon Primary Care Trust revealed that Croydoc had failed to check references and were unaware that Dr Yadav, who is being sued by Mr Dowsett, had been suspended by another out-of-hours care provider.

A BBC investigation into the case will apparently reveal that Croydoc, now called Patient Care 24, had been investigating Dr Yadav for six months. Dr Yadav has since been struck off by the General Medical Council.

Many will recall the awful case involving Dr Ubani, a German national, who was on his first shift providing out of hours care in Britain when he gave David Gray, 70, ten times the normal dose of diamorphine. He has admitted killing Mr Gray through negligence and has since been banned from practising in Britain.

The problem of rogue doctors like Ubani and Yadav is not going to go away. Since 2004 local GPs were able to opt out of the out-of-hours system. As a result, Primary Care Trusts now commission private companies to provide care.

Many doctors were concerned at the loss of the  link between the local population and the out of hours medical service.I have dealt with a  number of cases involving poor out of hours care. These often involve communication issues and failure to refer patients for emergency treatment. These are common themes which crop up time and again.

The other issue, particluarly highlighted by  the Ubani case was  that under EU law the General Medical Council is not able to test the competency of doctors from within Europe before they practice in the UK. I do wonder whether anyone has commissioned a study to analyse the quality of out of hours care since 2004?

James Bell is a Partner in the Slater and Gordon Clinical Negligence team. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, fill in our short online claim form or email and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.