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The BBC's Daniel Sandford
"Whatever happens the GMC will face searching questions"
 real 28k

Thursday, 20 July, 2000, 22:41 GMT 23:41 UK
Gynaecologist guilty of botched ops
Mr Richard Neale
Mr Richard Neale faces charges of professional misconduct
Gynaecologist Richard Neale faces being struck off after he was found guilty of botching operations and failing to obtain proper consent from patients.

The General Medical Council (GMC) must also explain why the doctor was allowed to practise in the UK for 14 years despite being barred in Canada.

The GMC found that over a 10 year period Mr Neale operated without proper consent, failed to treat patients appropriately and lied about his qualifications.


This is the right decision, but it should have come 14 years ago

Graham Maloney, victims' support group

Former patients told the GMC how they were left in agonising pain, unable to have children and with permanent injury after being treated by Mr Neale.

When confronted by women concerned about their complications and problems, he was rude and flew into screaming rages.

One patient, Sheila Wright-Hogeland, who was suffering from a serious medical condition, told how Mr Neale dismised her fears, and said that women should expect to experience gynaecological pain.

Mr Neale was struck off the medical register in Canada in 1985 but was subsequently allowed to work in the UK.

He faced 35 charges of clinical incompetence, professional negligence and extreme rudeness. The GMC, which has considered the case for a month, found the facts proven in all but one case.

Professional misconduct

Sheila Wright-Hogeland
Sheila Wright-Hogeland was mistreated by Mr Neale

After hearing further evidence next week, the GMC will decide if Mr Neale is guilty of professional misconduct and should be struck off from the medical register here.

Under new measures, introduced last week any doctor erased from the medical register will not be allowed to practise for a minimum of five years.

Previously, doctors were allowed to apply to be restored to the register after just 10 months.

The verdict was welcomed by one former patient, who says her sex life was ruined following several operations for a bladder complaint carried out by Mr Neale.

She said: "I'm having mental health treatment now and I believe it's all down to him.

"What he's done to me will be with me for the rest of my life - he has ruined my life.

"I would like to be locked in a room with him, with all the other ladies involved, so we could deal with him ourselves."


He has ruined my life

Former patient

Graham Maloney of the victims' support group said the gynaeocologist should have been dealt with much sooner.

He said: "This is the right decision, but it should have come 14 years ago - this could all have been prevented.

"I feel very bitter about the system. We feel that the GMC protects doctors and guards patients from the truth."

Emigrated to Canada

Mr Neale, 52, from Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, was born and trained in the UK, but emigrated to Canada in 1977.

Mr Neale
Mr Neale refused to comment as he left the GMC

Colleagues raised concerns about his work soon after he took up a post at the Prince George Hospital in British Columbia.

Eventually, he was struck off in 1985 following the death of a patient under his care.

He returned to England and began work at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

The GMC knew he had been struck off in Canada but decided not to take any action.

In 1990 he became clinical director of the maternity unit, but problems again began to arise.

In 1995 he left Northallerton amid "concerns about the extent of his commitment".

But instead of facing any disciplinary procedures, Mr Neale was given 100,000 severance pay and a positive reference by the hospital.

He went to work in Leicester Royal Infirmary as a locum, London's exclusive Portland Hospital and the Isle of Wight.

Finally in 1998, the GMC announced it was considering two complaints against Mr Neale.

Publicity surrounding the case opened the floodgates and more than 60 women came forward with complaints.

Now Mr Neale is expected to face dozens of litigation claims from women both in Britain and Canada.

Mr Neale refused to comment as he left the London hearing.

A spokesman for Northallerton Health Services NHS Trust, which runs the Friarage Hospital where Mr Neale worked until 1995, said: "On the request of the GMC's lawyers, we will make a statement when the hearing is complete."

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See also:

20 Jul 00 | Health
Richard Neale: A career history
20 Jul 00 | Health
Richard Neale: The victims
12 Jun 00 | Health
Richard Neale: The charges
19 Jun 00 | Health
Neale told woman to 'expect pain'
12 Jun 00 | Health
Surgeon 'mistreated women'
13 Jun 00 | Health
Plan to stop dangerous doctors
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