Beds, Herts & Bucks

Cancer error Luton GP can still practise

A doctor from Luton who failed to spot a woman's cervical cancer symptoms before she died of the disease, has been allowed to continue to practise.

Dr Navin Shankar was criticised by the General Medical Council (GMC) for his treatment of 26-year-old Nicola Sams.

The GMC ruled Dr Shankar's actions fell "seriously short" of expected standards but allowed him to continue working as a GP under supervision.

He worked at Wigmore Lane Health Centre until 2005 when he was suspended.

He retired from the practice in 2006, a spokeswoman for the centre said.

The GMC was told Miss Sams had complained of abdominal pain and irregular bleeding over a period of five years.

'Performance deficient'

It heard that, though Miss Sams' symptoms warranted an internal examination, this was never carried out and she died after the disease spread.

At an earlier hearing, the GMC found Dr Shankar guilty of misconduct and found his fitness to practise was impaired.

An assessment conducted in May found the doctor - who was suspended in 2005 over his treatment of a nine-day-old baby - was "not fit to practise independently" and showed his professional performance was "deficient".

But the GMC panel said: "In all the circumstances, the panel is satisfied that patient safety and the public interest can be protected by imposing a period of conditional registration."

It said the stipulations placed on his employment - which are similar to those imposed on trainees and require him to be closely supervised - constituted a "proportionate response".

He has been forbidden from working as a locum or undertaking any out-of-hours work or on-call duties.

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