Doctor accused of misconduct

AN Essex GP has been handed an official warning by the General Medical Council after facing charges of misconduct.

Elliot Furniss

AN Essex GP has been handed an official warning by the General Medical Council after facing charges of misconduct.

Dr Eric Lemke, who works in Walton, appeared before the GMC's Fitness to Practice Panel in London this week to answer allegations about his conduct during a consultation with a woman - known only as Patient A - who later died from bowel cancer.

Dr Lemke admitted allegations that during a consultation in August 2005, he did not adequately assess Patient A's medical history, undertake any investigations, carry out a physical examination or make a patient referral when he should have done.

It was also alleged that Dr Lemke's conduct was inappropriate, not of a standard of a registered medical practitioner and not in the best interests of the patient.

The panel told him he had made “serious errors in a single consultation” with a patient.

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While the panel accepted submissions from expert witnesses that such errors were unlikely to recur, it believed it necessary to mark the seriousness of the errors with a warning.

Dr Lemke was warned to take an appropriate history from all patients, consider all possible “differential diagnoses” and ensure he had a clear understanding of what patients told him about their symptoms.

He was also told to regularly assess and update his communication and diagnostic skills.

After considering the circumstances, the panel then concluded that Dr Lemke's “fitness to practice” had not been impaired by reason of his misconduct.

In its determination, the panel stated: “The panel notes that you were not aware of the eventual diagnosis of bowel cancer or of patient A's death until sometime afterwards.

“The panel recognises that you have been deeply affected by the death of Patient A.

“You have followed the advice of your local primary care trust GP tutor and have spent time with a consultant oncologist improving your knowledge and skills in identifying potential signs of cancer.”

A statement issued by the practice, in Vicarage Lane, Walton, said: “It has been the judgement of the GMC that Dr Lemke's ability to practice has not in any way been impaired.

“The practice is delighted by the news - we have been fully supportive and remain fully supportive of Dr Lemke as a valued member of the practice.”

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