Fletchers Solicitors is watching with interest the next steps in the General Medical Council’s (GMC) action against Dr Ankur Chopra, following the Court’s refusal to grant their application to extend his interim suspension Order earlier this month.
Dr Chopra’s practice, Roebuck House in Hastings which serves 3,800 patients, was originally placed in special measures by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) following an inspection in October 2015.
The CQC had criticised the practice’s medicine management systems as being “unsafe” and “putting patients at risk.” It also stated that “risks to patients were not always assessed and managed, for example infection control audits were not up to date,” and that, “some parts of the practice were not clean.”
It was still held to be “inadequate” on a subsequent inspection in July 2016, with inspectors having “serious concerns relating to the safe delivery of services and leadership of the practice.”
The GMC application sought to extend Dr Chopra’s interim suspension to March 2018, however, the Court ruled against the extension on the grounds that, although new allegations had been made, these had not yet been proven and therefore it was disproportionate to impose this additional sanction ahead of a planned tribunal. It reasoned that the risk to the public could be managed by the imposition of further conditions and that there would be a far greater harm caused to the local rural community as a result of being deprived of Dr Chopra’s services.
The Court was keen to stress however, that “it could understand why a Tribunal would be “seriously concerned” about the further allegations arising whilst Dr Chopra was already subject to the conditions imposed by the GMC. Dr Chopra continues to have restrictions on his practicing certificate and that matter has been referred back to the GMC Tribunal for reconsideration.
Our client John Davison has an ongoing claim against Dr Chopra. Mr Davison says, “I am very troubled to read about the court’s ruling and that Dr Chopra is not subject to an extended suspension. In particular the fact that his practice has twice been found to be failing to deliver sufficiently safe care to patients. Both myself and my lawyer will be watching this situation very closely.”
Fletchers lawyer Michael Carson, who is handling the case for Mr Davison says, “While we cannot comment on this case specifically because it is ongoing, we share Mr Davison’s concerns that tougher sanctions are not considered proportionate for any practice that has been found by independent inspectors to have consistently failed to meet expected standards over a prolonged period of time, and where the Court itself has stated that the alleged behavior would have a direct potential impact on the health and safety of patients at the practice, such as Mr Davison.”