BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: Health
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Background Briefings 
Medical notes 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Thursday, 29 November, 2001, 05:54 GMT
Epilepsy 'errors' highlighted
Leicester Royal Infirmary
Dr Holton denies any of the children were harmed
Parents of children allegedly misdiagnosed with epilepsy are being presented with an official report into the doctor involved.

The findings of a review by child experts into the work of consultant paediatrician Dr Andrew Holton are being revealed at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

Dr Holton, 48, was suspended from the Leicester hospital on full pay in June while the review was carried out by two consultants from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

He denies any wrongdoing and says that while he regrets the anxiety caused to parents, he does not believe any of the children suffered any harm.

Legal action

More than 100 parents are said to be considering legal action against University of Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust while others have demanded a public inquiry.
Dr Andrew Holton
Dr Holton has been suspended on full pay

Dr Holton was the only consultant in paediatric neurology at the hospital for 10 years.

The report has centred on whether Dr Holton wrongly diagnosed youngsters as having epilepsy and gave them drugs they did not need.


It has also focused on cases of patients who genuinely had epilepsy to whom Dr Holton is alleged to have over-subscribed drugs.

The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health was first called in by the hospital in May, after concerns were raised by Dr Holton's colleagues.

An initial review of 10 cases was carried out before the hospital announced in July that there was a need for an inquiry into his practice.

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

Dr Holton

The case notes of all 8,500 patients cared for by Dr Holton have been studied, not just the 1,500 being treated for epilepsy.

Dr Holton 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."

Parents of children treated by Dr Holton formed the Leicestershire Epilepsy Concern Parents and Carers Group to monitor the inquiry.


Jane Hall, from Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire, raised her concerns over her son, who was diagnosed by Dr Holton as having epilepsy at the age of three.

The boy, who she asked not to be named, was put on drugs at the time - but he is now aged nine and healthy and Mrs Hall is doubtful he ever had the illness.

Vicky McNabb, 37, of Leicester, had worries about her daughter Lucy, who was diagnosed as epileptic at nine months.

The diagnosis of the youngster, now aged three, was correct - but she was put on five different drugs which were drastically reduced after her parents sought a second opinion.

The Epilepsy Society's Philip Lee
believes this is a nationwide problem
Solicitor Jane Williams acts for 80 of the families
"Concern relates to over-prescription of drugs"
See also:

07 Sep 01 | Health
Epilepsy doctor to be replaced
09 Jul 01 | Health
Inquiry into epilepsy doctor
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Health stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Health stories