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Wednesday, 18 July, 2001, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Epilepsy doctor investigation widens
Leicester Royal Infirmary
The hospital has set up a helpline for parents
An investigation into a doctor who treated children with epilepsy has called for a review of every case handled by him over the last 10 years.

Consultant paediatrician Andrew Holton was suspended on full pay from his post at the Leicester Royal Infirmary in June.

An independent inquiry into several of his cases said it had not found conclusive proof of poor performance but had established the need for a case-by-case review.

The case notes of all 8,500 patients cared for by Dr Holton, 48, will be studied.

In a statement issued through the Medical Protection Society, Dr Holton denied that any child had been harmed.

Patients 'unharmed'

He said: "I greatly regret the anxiety which this review is causing to patients and their parents and carers.

"I do not believe that they need have any cause for alarm.

"I have not been told of any case in which harm is alleged to have been suffered by the patient and I do not believe that there has been any such harm."


The parents and carers of the children treated by Doctor Holton are understandably concerned at the situation and have also become disheartened at the way in which they themselves have been treated by the trust

Statement from relatives and carers
Dr Alan Cole, medical director of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, told a news conference in Leicester that he had approached the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Healthcare for help when concerns were raised about Dr Holton.

"They have reviewed a sample number of case notes.

"They have advised me that there is a need for a case-by-case review of his practice.

"These areas are in the diagnosis of epilepsy and the type and dose of drug treatment that has been prescribed."

Relatives of children under the care of Dr Holton said they were "appalled" at the way the hospital had handled the situation.

Worried families

They said: "The parents and carers of the children treated by Doctor Holton are understandably concerned at the situation and have also become disheartened at the way in which they themselves have been treated by the trust.

"There are many concerns regarding the management of the whole situation including the general lack of information, feedback from the trust."

The families, who have set up the Leicestershire Epilepsy Concern group, advised parents not to panic and change their children's medication without seeking medical advice.

Dr Holton has worked as the only consultant in paediatric neurology at the Leicester Royal Infirmary for the past 10 years.

The hospital said he would remain suspended from duty while the review process was carried out.

The hospital has been contacted by concerned parents after news of the doctor's suspension was released.

Parents with concerns can call the Leicester Royal Infirmary's inquiry line - 0116 2587511.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Giles Latcham
"A major investigation into all his diagnoses is now underway"
See also:

09 Jul 01 | Health
Inquiry into epilepsy doctor
25 Nov 99 | Health
Epilepsy CD-ROM for schools
10 Aug 99 | Health
On-line community for epilepsy
28 Jun 99 | Health
Public 'ignorant' about epilepsy
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