Page last updated at 16:48 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

'Whitewash' over cancer blunder

Lisa Norris
Lisa Norris died nine months after the radiation overdose

A ruling which allows a clinician who botched a teenage cancer patient's treatment to keep on working has been branded a "whitewash" by her father.

Ken Norris spoke out after a Health Professions Council hearing upheld charges against Dr Stuart McNee but decided he should not be struck off.

Dr McNee worked at the Beatson Oncology Centre in Glasgow where Lisa Norris was given 19 radiation overdoses.

The 16-year-old died from a brain tumour at her home in Ayrshire in 2006.

The Health Professions Council (HPC) hearing in Edinburgh found that Dr McNee had shown a lack of competence over Ms Norris's treatment.

She was initially diagnosed with the tumour in October 2005, and was given radiation 58% higher than prescribed in January 2006, which left her with burns on her head and neck.

No-one has taken responsibility for overdosing Lisa and as far as I'm concerned they have just whitewashed it
Ken Norris

The panel said Dr McNee had been responsible for planning the botched course of radiotherapy, but said his biggest failing had been not speaking out over staffing pressures in his department.

This had led to his failure to ensure that standing operating procedures were up to date or even followed, or to make sure that systems were in place to ensure his trainee practitioners were supported.

Despite all misconduct charges being proven against him, the HPC panel ruled Dr McNee could continue working.

Its chairman Colin Allies said: "We are confident the Registrant has learned from his mistakes and would act differently in similar circumstances today.

"We took into consideration the lack of staff and a lack of support from senior management.

'No reprimand'

"The Registrant's fitness to practise is not impaired therefore the allegation is not well founded."

The conduct and competence hearing was attended by Ms Norris's parents Ken, 53, and Liz, 52.

They described the outcome as a "travesty" and a "whitewash" and said they would continue with legal action against the health authority, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Mr Norris said: "I'm very disappointed that a man can do what he did and walk away from it. I was expecting him to at least get reprimanded for it.

"I expected him to be here so we could come face to face with him.

"No-one has taken responsibility for overdosing Lisa and as far as I'm concerned they have just whitewashed it.

"It doesn't matter that he had a good, impeccable record. What he did, he shouldn't have done. It's a travesty. We will still continue our fight against NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde."

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