A CONSULTANT surgeon who gave a breast-cancer victim the all-clear was not qualified to read her X-rays, a disciplinary panel was told.
John Philip, from Huddersfield, was working in a private clinic in Sheffield when he examined the mother-of-two and told her her breasts were normal.
He later deliberately destroyed the breast X-ray to hide his findings, the General Medical Council, sitting in Manchester, was told.
The doctor twice told the woman she was healthy after routine checks in 1994 and 1996.
During the second check-up, the doctor felt a "shelf" in her breast but told her there was nothing to worry about.
Only months later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The woman, who worked in a nursery, later died, aged 39, after the cancer spread.
Mr Philip was clinical director of the Pennine Breast Screening Service, part of Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust between 1988 and 2003, the GMC was told.
He also worked for the private Breast Screening Advisory Centre in clinics in Sheffield and Huddersfield.
The former chief executive of the trust, David Jackson, told the hearing Mr Philip was the manager of the breast screening service but was not qualified to read mammograms.
He said Mr Philip's job was mostly an administrative role. Asked by Sarah Campbell, for the GMC, whether Mr Philip's job was to read the mammograms he said: "I don't think he had any role (in that).
"Clearly they had to be read by somebody who was appropriately trained and qualified and my understanding was that Mr Philip did not have that appropriate training."
He said Mr Philip had later been offered training in reading X-rays but did not take up the offer.
Mrs Campbell said the doctor's qualifications did not meet the criteria set down by the appropriate professional body.
"In essence the allegations fall in to two parts," she said.
"The fact that he reported on the mammogram himself, and that he destroyed the report of the mammogram from 1994."
She went on: "He did not have them reviewed by a specialist radiologist and he did not meet the Royal College of Radiologists' Criteria for screen reading within the NHS."
She said after the first examination, in December 1994, the woman, identified only as Mrs A, was told her breasts were normal.
After the second examination, in January 1996, he felt a "shelf" in her right breast but told Mrs A there was no need for concern.
In May of that year, she returned for another check after feeling a pain in her breast.
Doctors later found three tumours in her right breast and one under her arm and, after chemotherapy to reduce them in size, her breast was surgically removed.
Despite the operation, the cancer spread to her back and ribs and, after being partially paralysed, she died in May 1998.
The doctor, who is in his 60s, denies deliberately destroying the X-ray and that his conduct was irresponsible, unprofessional and not in the best interests of the patient.
He could be struck off if the panel find against him.
The hearing was continuing today.