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Programme highlights Friday, 5 January, 2001, 16:13 GMT
The cost of Shipman's so-called care
Dr Shipman: How many deaths was he responsible for?
The story of Harold Shipman continues to defy belief and understanding.

A report commissioned by the Department of Health suggested that the former doctor from Hyde in Greater Manchester may have murdered as many as 300 people in the course of a 24-four year medical career.

Shipman was found guilty of 15 murders, and could have been tried for 23 more: the Crown Prosecution Service decided that was too much for the jury to cope with.

Dozens more names have been on further lists of probable or possible cases.

But today's revelations, by Richard Baker, Professor of Quality in Healthcare at Leicester University, go much further still: Professor Baker has reached the higher figure by comparing Shipman's records with those of other GPs in Hyde, and in the West Yorkshire town of Todmorden where he worked before.

Shipman, aged 5
Anne Alexander, the solicitor for the Shipman Families Support Group, has criticised the the Department of Health - who sponsored the report in the first place - for failing to give the families proper advance warning about today's revelations.

In the light of her concerns, we asked the Home Office about the possibility of pressing for further inquests.

They told us it was not up to the Home Office to decide, but if a coroner felt that any death in his area required an inquest - in a case where the body was no longer available - an application could be made to the Home Secretary, who has the power to direct the coroner to hold an inquest.

On the criticisms of the Department of Health, Chief Medical Officer, Professor Liam Donaldson said he too was amazed that nobody had spotted the wrong-doing.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Professor Richard Baker
There was an excess of deaths among Shipman's patients
Shipman Family Group solicitor Anne Alexander
Many familes want the coroner to open more inquests
Chief Medical Officer Liam Donaldson
It's amazing no-one spotted the wrong-doing
Links to more Programme highlights stories are at the foot of the page.


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