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Last Updated: Friday, 18 February, 2005, 18:33 GMT
Priory boss wins legal review
Dr Chai Patel
Dr Chai Patel denies professional misconduct
A High Court judge has halted a case lodged against the head of the famous Priory rehab clinics who is charged with serious professional misconduct.

Dr Chai Patel, 50, of Oxshott, Surrey, who denies the charge, could be struck off if found guilty.

He is accused of failing to safeguard the health and welfare of residents at Lynde House, Twickenham, while chief executive of Westminster Healthcare.

A review was ordered into the case brought by the General Medical Council.

'Standards of care'

On Friday Mr Justice Collins ordered that a judicial review into the charges take place before proceedings continue before the Fitness to Practice panel at the GMC.

The review is expected to take several months.

Dr Patel said he was "very relieved" at the outcome and a spokesman for his private office said a lot of people "are very angry at the way a good man has had his reputation rubbished".

Erin Pizzey, an adviser to the 11 complainants, said it was "appalling" that the case had been delayed.

It was alleged at a previous hearing that Dr Patel failed to "provide and maintain" an environment at the house where the residents received "proper standards of care".

Labour Party donor

The GMC heard earlier that an independent report into alleged failings at the home published in 2001 found it was under-staffed and under-resourced.

Another investigation, commissioned by the Kingston and Richmond Health Authority published in 2002, found high levels of falls among residents and unexplained bruising.

Dr Patel, a high-profile donor to the Labour Party, took over as chief executive of the Priory Group in April 2002 after leaving Westminster Health Care.

Mary O'Rourke, counsel for Dr Patel, had stated that the doctor disputed that Westminster Healthcare and therefore he, as chief executive, was responsible for the provision of health care of residents.

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