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Friday, 30 August, 2002, 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK
Organ trade GP struck off
Dr Bhagat Makkar attended the GMC hearing
Dr Bhagat Makkar worked as a GP in London
A former GP who was found guilty of trading in human organs has been struck off the medical register.

The General Medical Council ruled on Friday morning that Dr Bhagat Singh Makkar had "encouraged or participated in" the trade of human organs.

Its disciplinary panel has subsequently decided that the 62-year-old retired doctor was guilty of professional misconduct and should not be allowed to practise again.


I have never traded in human organs

Dr Bhagat Singh Makkar
Dr Makkar was accused of telling an undercover journalist he could obtain a kidney for the man's father in exchange for a fee.

The doctor denied the allegations throughout the three-day hearing and again after the verdict. Leaving the GMC, he told journalists: "I have never traded in human organs."

He has 28 days to appeal the decision to have him struck off the medical register.

It has been illegal to sell organs in the UK since 1989. However, Dr Makkar will not face any criminal investigation because he didn't follow through with his offer.

The conversation between Dr Makkar and a journalist working for The Sunday Times were secretly recorded.

Transcripts from those tapes show the GP did not actually agree to the transaction but he did say it would be "no problem" to carry out.


It is tragic that at the end of a long and honourable career in medical practice from which you retired in 2001 you became involved with the matters of this charge found proved against you

Peter Richards, GMC
"Yeah, I can get it done," he told the journalist. "No problem. I can fix that for you. Do you want it done here, do you want it done in Germany, or do you want it done in India?"

The GP also told the journalist that payment for the operation should be made to him directly, with the price including his own "administrative costs".

Although Dr Makkar retired in 2001, the GMC decision prevents him from returning to medicine and in particular from working in the private sector.

The professional conduct committee which made that decision said the former GP had encouraged a ghastly trade in organ sales.

'Tragic end'

Professor Peter Richards, committee chairman, said it was a tragic end to Dr Makkar's medical career.

He told the GP: "It is tragic that at the end of a long and honourable career in medical practice from which you retired in 2001 you became involved with the matters of this charge found proved against you."

The doctor's lawyers had called for the GP not to be struck off the medical register saying he did not pose a risk to patients.

A spokeswoman for Lewisham Primary Care Trust where Dr Makkar had practised said it would be taking steps to "learn any lessons" which may arise from the case.

Earlier this week, the GMC confirmed that a second doctor is set to face a disciplinary hearing over claims that he has been involved in trading organs.

Dr Jarnail Singh, who practises in Coventry, is expected to come before the GMC in October.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Karen Allen reports
"Dr Makkar is the first doctor in 13 years to be struck off for trading in human organs"

Click here to go to BBC Coventry and Warwickshire
See also:

30 Aug 02 | Health
29 Aug 02 | Health
29 Aug 02 | Health
07 Jun 02 | Health
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