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Doctor may be struck off over death of patients

29 January 2010

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A doctor faces being struck off after an inquest found drug overdoses to be a factor in the deaths of five out of 10 patients.

Dr Jane Barton prescribed “potentially hazardous” levels of drugs to elderly patients and a General Medical Council Fitness to Practise Panel is to announce whether she is guilty of serious professional misconduct and, if so, decide on sanctions.

The panel made a string of findings against Dr Barton over her treatment of 12 patients at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital in Hampshire between January 1996 and November 1999. Dr Barton, who qualified in 1972, was a clinical assistant on the Dryad and Daedalus wards when the 12 patients died.

She admitted allegations about dose levels of painkillers and opiates, which could have sedative effects.

The panel found that, in cases with prescriptions she wrote in anticipation of patients needing strong pain relief, the dose range was too wide and lowest doses too high. This “created a situation whereby drugs could be administered which were excessive to the patients’ needs”, the panel said.

Her actions were “inappropriate, potentially hazardous and not in the best interests of the patient”, said the findings.

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