A HUDDERSFIELD doctor prescribed long-term courses of antibiotics to children without examining them to see if the treatment was necessary, a medical panel heard.
Former Fartown GP Dr Dev Dutt is accused of malpractice between 1985 and 2005 by 11 patients.
His case is being heard by the General Medical Council’s fitness to practice panel in Manchester.
Yesterday, the 66-year-old GP gave evidence on the treatment he gave to some of the patients of his practice.
He told the panel that he started working as a single practitioner at the surgery, in Spaines Road, in 1974, and that he was a hard-working GP.
He said he took few holidays between the years 1995 and 2000, and that he had taken any in the last five years that he had worked at the practice, a time he described as “highly traumatic”.
He told the panel that he was off on sick leave from May to October 2003, and had to be hospitalised for a long time.
The panel heard that between 1999 and 2004, Dr Dutt prescribed three children continuous courses of antibiotics, which the GMC says was unsuitable.
These patients included an infant that was just six weeks old when the treatment started, and a child that was given 15 courses of the drug over five years.
While Dr Dutt, who has a year’s paediatric experience, accepted that there is concern in the medical profession that giving antibiotics to children can make them resistant to the drug, but said he was confident that it was the right method of treatment and that he had not prescribed the drug excessively.
He said that he decided to keep prescribing one child patient antibiotics without investigating their condition further because “It was my clinical judgement”.
Dr Dutt is also accused of failing to record his examinations of the patients, and on several occasions, signing off on repeat prescriptions or allowing a locum to do so without seeing the patients to examine them first.
Dr Dutt denied signing off on prescriptions repeatedly, but commented that on one occasion, in February 2004, when he is said to have done so without seeing a child patient: “At that time so much was happening, I was bombarded with (court) notices, I sometimes had 7.30am to 8.30pm surgeries and (I) had to find a locum to cover while I was in court.”
He agreed that children should not be given a repeat prescription for antibiotics. He said: “If it was a repeat prescription I would accept that it was inappropriate. It is my responsibility; there has been a break down here- I should be responsible for all the prescribing that has gone on.”
Graham Smelt, a consultant surgeon at Huddersfield and Halifax hospitals, and old friend of Dr Dutt’s told the panel that it was not unusual for doctors to prescribe antibiotics for upper tract infections, which the GP’s child patients suffered from, and that he regarded antibiotics to be safe medication.
But he said he was surprised that Dr Dutt was able to diagnose a six-week old with the condition, adding: “The signs would be difficult to pick up on.”
Dr Dutt is also accused of failing to keep clear and accurate notes on his patients, and not providing details on treatment and the patients’ progress. He said, referring to one patient: “I accept that the notes were brief, but I do not accept they are inadequate.” He added that if another doctor were to view the notes, he would be able to understand what the patient was being treated for.
The hearing continues.