Patient's death leads to tougher European safety call

Dr Stuart Gray said he believes his family's battle has been worth it

Related Stories

Patients in the UK needing out of hours care are to get more protection from incompetent doctors following a deal being brokered across Europe.

Rules allowing doctors to work anywhere in Europe are to be toughened with better testing of language and competency.

The General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK has so far secured the backing of regulators in 26 European Union countries for tighter controls on doctors working across borders.

It follows nearly three years of campaigning by Dr Stuart Gray and his brother Rory whose father David was killed by an incompetent GP who had flown in from Germany to do a shift.

That doctor, Daniel Ubani, is still treating patients in Germany, despite being struck off by the GMC and branded "incompetent" for killing their kidney patient father David with a lethal overdose of Diamorphine.

Until now, foreign doctors banned in one country have been free to practise in other countries.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said tighter controls on foreign doctors were attributable in "no small part" to the efforts of the Gray brothers.

He said: "I am really quite pleased that we have made some significant progress.

Dr Daniel Ubani Dr Daniel Ubani remains free to practise medicine in Germany

"There is recognition now by the UK Government that they need to change UK law and that they need to make significant progress in Europe.

"We have got 26 European regulators saying something needs to be done about language and information."

He added: "There is still a feeling among many in Europe that this is about free movement of labour.

"Free movement of labour is a good thing and I am not going to start arguing about that, but what I do say is that patient safety must trump movement of labour and patient safety."

Dr Stuart Gray, a GP in the West Midlands, is also campaigning with his brother for a Europe-wide ban on any doctor struck off in one country.

'Local doctors'

In a BBC1 documentary "Killer on Call" to be broadcast on BBC1 East at 1930 GMT, Dr Gray inspected the new out-of-hours service in Cambridgeshire - the county in which his father was killed.

He said: "They seem to have made tremendous efforts to get the system patient-centred and it seemed to be a centre of excellent practise.

"It is extremely important for patient care that local doctors are carrying out the out-of-hours service."

The company which employed Dr Ubani, Take Care Now (TCN), has been taken over by another provider, Harmoni.

Harmoni's Chief Executive Andrew Gardner told the programme: "I am very confident of all of the things we have put in place that the people in the East of England will get a good service, a high quality service, a safe service."

David Gray David Gray was injected with 10 times the safe dose of diamorphine

Mr Gardner has defended Harmoni's decision to retain many of the senior managers who worked at the former company TCN.

He said: "The two people who are responsible for this service, the clinical manager and the general manager, are new employees.

"The other employees are people we think under the right culture, the right regime and ethos, can deliver a highly valuable service."

A national helpline run by the Patients Association still receives regular complaints about out of hours care.

Its chief executive, Katherine Murphy, told the BBC she was concerned about discrepancies in the cost of out-of-hours care facing many Primary Care Trusts in the UK.

She said: "It's absolutely amazing that some PCTs can be paying as much as 16 times more than another PCT.

"I would hope that the David Gray case is a wake-up call for all Primary Care Trusts."

"Killer On Call" can be seen on BBC1 East on 10 December at 1930 GMT.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More England stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • SyedTanks instead of toys

    Lyse Doucet on the plight of children in Syria and Gaza


  • Silhouette of manSuper-shy

    Why do Germany's super-rich so often keep their heads down?


  • Children playing in Seoul fountainDay in pictures

    The best news photos from around the world in the past 24 hours


  • Gin drinkerMother's ruin

    The time was gin was full of sulphuric acid and turpentine


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • EscaladeBling's the thing

    The ostentatious Cadillac Escalade cruises into 2015 with fuel-gulping gusto

Programmes

  • The smartphones of shoppers being tracked in a storeClick Watch

    How free wi-fi can enable businesses to track our movements and learn more about us

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.