A doctor who did not notice that Baby P was being abused during an examination eight days before the child died has been suspended for a year by a disciplinary panel.
The General Medical Council (GMC) said Dr Jerome Ikwueke breached his professional duty by not carrying out a full examination, after the 63-year-old GP noted Peter Connelly seemed “withdrawn” and not his usual happy self, and pulled away when he saw him on 26 July 2007.
During an earlier hearing the panel ruled Dr Ikwueke should have shared information with a health visitor or social worker, or made an immediate referral for further checks.
A GMC committee had already ruled his fitness to practise was impaired by misconduct in Peter’s care. The 17-month-old child died in Tottenham, north London, eight days later.
Dr Ikweuke could have been struck off the medical register, but the disciplinary panel decided to suspend him for the maximum period of 12 months instead. It said that “despite the serious breaches”, the GP’s misconduct was “not fundamentally incompatible” with continued registration as a doctor.
In announcing its decision, the panel expressed concerns about Dr Ikweuke’s “limited insight” before and during the hearing, but announced he did not present a danger to future patients as he had “undoubted remorse” and had taken “extensive” steps to address identified issues.
Panel chairman Judith Worthington said: “The panel notes that the GMC concedes that you do not present a danger to patients in the future. Whilst the panel is concerned at your limited insight before and during this hearing, it has concluded, on the basis of your extensive remedial work and your acknowledgement now of your misconduct, that you do not pose a risk of repeating this behaviour.”
Copyright © Press Association 2010
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“Dr Ikwueke was simply scape-goated in this case. This child was referred on by him on numerous occassions but those that tried to protect him in secondary care were each time over-ruled by social workers. I am not sure that if he referred him again eight days before he died that social services would have taken any note, given that they even went as far as over-ruling police and consultants’ decisions” – Tina Chigbo, London