A DOCTOR has been cleared of attempting to withhold patient records from a coroner.
GP Dr Manohar Singh, who runs Birkby Health Centre, Norwood Road, was yesterday acquitted by a tribunal of refusing to hand over medical records on late patient Doreen Froste.
But he still faces sanctions over misconduct.
Mrs Froste, 72, of Birkby, died at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on March 13, 2004, after being accidentally prescribed daily doses of an anti-arthritic drug by Dr Singh.
The great-grandmother suffered from chronic arthritis and had severe hip pain and difficulty gripping objects.
The drug, Methotrexate, should only be taken in weekly doses because of its toxicity.
Dr Singh appears before a General Medical Council tribunal in Manchester accused of professional misconduct.
He was accused of refusing to co-operate with officers of the West Yorkshire Coroner in the days immediately following Mrs Froste’s death.
But yesterday the GMC panel, of two medical members and one lay member, said the allegations could not be proven.
Addressing the decision to Dr Singh, panel chairman Prof David Katz said: “The panel has heard different accounts of events on March 17, 2004, and is not satisfied that communication about releasing the records is consistent with refusal.
“Maybe there was confusion between you and the officers. At its highest the evidence amounts to no more than reluctance.”
However Dr Singh was yesterday found guilty of failing to carry out blood and liver tests on Mrs Froste – despite a request from a rheumatologist at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on July 7.
Prof Katz said: “The panel is satisfied you failed to take blood count and liver function tests as requested in a letter from HRI.
“The letter was clear in its terms that the responsibility for monitoring was transferred to you.”
Dr Singh admits wrongly prescribing Methotrexate on several occasions between July, 2003, and February, 2004.
On Monday the panel will hear representations from the GMC prosecutor and Dr Singh’s counsel on whether the GP is fit to continue practising.
If Dr Singh is found guilty of misconduct he may be ordered to retrain or be suspended or struck off the medical register.
The case continues.