A GP who admitted misleading an inquest into the death of an elderly woman in a house fire has been given a suspended jail sentence.
Police arrested Dr Nigel Palmer, 45, a GP at the Park Grove surgery in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, after an inquest into the death of 82-year-old Eileen Gill was halted in Sheffield earlier this year.
Giving evidence at the inquest, Dr Palmer told the coroner that he had examined Mrs Gill at her home and concluded she was “neglecting herself and was a potential danger to herself”.
A district nurse had been asked by Dr Palmer to visit Mrs Gill to perform blood tests but the elderly woman did not answer the door and the missed appointment was never followed up, the inquest was told.
The coroner was told that a member of social services claimed to have tried subsequently to contact the GP and left a message, but Dr Palmer told the inquest there was no record of a message being left.
However, a member of staff at the surgery revealed that the practice had two message books when Palmer had produced only one, and the inquest was halted.
Dr Palmer pleaded guilty at Sheffield Crown Court to perverting the course of justice. He was given a nine-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 250 hours of community service.
Copyright © Press Association 2008
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