Doctor accuses NHS of vendetta

A POPULAR GP who was recently fined �10,000 by NHS Suffolk has accused health bosses of waging a vendetta against his practice.

Kate McGrath

A POPULAR GP who was recently fined �10,000 by NHS Suffolk has accused health bosses of waging a vendetta against his practice.

Dr Paul Thomas, from the Gipping Valley Practice, has hit out at the “disingenuous” health service claiming GPs are used as scapegoats and accusing them of ignoring patient needs.

He also attacked NHS plans to build a �470,000 car park at their headquarters in Bramford.

He said despite promises of a permanent building, he has been operating from a portable building for the last 17 years.

The GP was recently given a combined fine of �10,000 for dispensing drugs inappropriately from his surgery in Barham and breaching his contract after a computer server containing sensitive patient data was found dumped beside a skip.

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At the time, NHS Suffolk moved to reassure a “large number of patients” their details had not fallen into the wrong hands.

Dr Thomas said that before he disposed of the server he was led to believe technicians from the health service had wiped the server of all patient details and was given a certificate to say it had been successfully decommissioned.

He believes this incident, among others, “illustrates the ongoing vendetta against my practice”.

He said: “I am not the only one who thinks there is a vendetta against the practise.

“I was very na�ve when I started the surgery in 1992 and I expected to be given support from the then health authority.

“The main support I expected was to get a permanent GP building. I am still in a portable building, although I note the PCT can afford �470,000 for their managers' new car park. It is not me that is losing out, but my patients. I have heard so many promises about getting that building which have come to nothing. I am almost used to it.”

He added: “I believe NHS Suffolk is totally disingenuous.

“The NHS is financially and morally bankrupt. It can't afford to offer free healthcare for the country. GPS are essentially scapegoats because we are recommending these expensive treatments. Our lives are made more and more difficult by the NHS.

“I will continue to provide a local, personal, quality, family medical service that is greatly appreciated by my patients, if not the PCT.”

Suffolk NHS confirmed they are currently looking at options to upgrade the GP premises, which has just under 2,000 patients on its books.

Clare Banyard, head of primary care at NHS Suffolk, said: “Patient safety is a top priority and we would like to reassure patients that we were able to secure the server in question, that the data has remained totally confidential, and that this matter has been dealt with fully by the Information Commissioner's Office - as previously reported.

“We are also looking at options to upgrade the GP premises in Barham and are currently in discussions about this.”

Tony Morgan, from the Friends of Gipping Valley Surgery, moved to defend Dr Thomas.

He said: “Dr Thomas is an excellent GP and I know there are a lot of people who owe their life to him.

“I feel so sorry for the people that are so desperate for a new surgery. We just seem to be getting nowhere.”

NHS Suffolk has recently spent nearly �500,000 on farmland for extra staff parking. The decision, which was not discussed at a board meeting and not made public until August 17, has been heavily criticised.