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GP “failed to tell partners about deceased’s will”

23 October 2007

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A GP failed to tell his partners he had become a £15,000 beneficiary of an elderly woman’s will shortly before she died, a hearing has heard.

Dr Alan Howlett, of the Fremington Medical Centre, Barnstaple, North Devon, also lied about his financial interest when filling in the application form for her cremation, the General Medical Council (GMC) was told.

And this was despite being asked by colleagues before her death to tell them if he stood to benefit, the Fitness to Practise panel heard.

Lydia Barnfather, for the GMC, said it was not until after the woman died at the age of 91 in July 2006 that Dr Howlett told a colleague he was a beneficiary.

She added: “The reason he had completed the form in the misleading way he did, he told police, was to fulfil Patient A’s last wishes, which were to avoid a post mortem.

“Dr Howlett felt that if he had indicated on the form that he had a pecuniary interest, this would have triggered a post mortem. He said that he had never tried to conceal the fact from his GP colleagues that he was a beneficiary.

“Well there may be some truth in that following Patient A’s death, but counsel allege that this was not the position prior to her death.”

Dr Howlett denies that his actions in relation to his partners were misleading or intended to mislead.

Copyright © PA Business 2007


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