Page last updated at 16:16 GMT, Wednesday, 31 March 2010 17:16 UK

No appeal over misconduct doctor

Dr Jane Barton
Dr Jane Barton said she had to work under "unreasonable pressure"

A doctor found guilty of misconduct should have been struck off but the decision not to will not be appealed, a health watchdog has ruled.

Dr Jane Barton prescribed "potentially hazardous" levels of drugs to patients who later died at Hampshire's Gosport War Memorial Hospital in the 1990s.

A General Medical Council panel found her guilty but did not strike her off.

The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) said the decision was wrong but not unduly lenient.

The watchdog added: "It is the opinion of CHRE that erasure should have been the result of this case.

"Erasure would have ensured that patients were fully protected. Erasure would have maintained confidence in the medical profession and ensured that the public retained trust in the system of regulation.

"The CHRE has every sympathy with the families concerned with the deaths of patients treated and... understands the strong feelings they and many others have."

Opiates ban

It added that the independent panel's ruling "was lenient but not so unreasonable that it could be appealed".

Dr Barton, who has since resigned, was found guilty of a series of failings in her care of 12 patients who were treated at the hospital between 1996 and 1999.

A jury inquest held last year into the deaths of 10 patients found drugs to be a factor in five cases.

Both the families of relatives who died and the GMC criticised the panel's decision not to strike Dr Barton off the medical register in January.

The GP had told the panel she had to work under "unreasonable pressure" with an "excessive and increasing burden" in caring for patients.

She was allowed to continue to practise but had 11 conditions placed upon her work, including a ban on injecting opiates for three years.

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