Shropshire

Shropshire care leader 'saw no malpractice'

A specialist said she believed a doctor was relieving a terminally-ill man's stress rather than hastening death when he gave a large dose of diamorphine.

Wendy Walton said she did not see a "hint of malpractice" in Shropshire doctor William Bassett's treatment of the 65-year-old, who had lung cancer.

A hearing has been told the Brown Clee Medical Practice GP administered a high dose so the man could "die in peace".

Dr Bassett has denied he administered a 100mg dose to quicken the death.

The disciplinary hearing in Manchester has previously been told nurses reported the incident.

The matter was reported to West Mercia Police and Dr Bassett gave a prepared statement in which he said he had injected the full dose "accidentally".

'Tired and distressed'

The doctor has accepted he administered 100mg of diamorphine, that he took no action to reverse it and that his actions put the patient at risk of respiratory failure.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has said the "tired and distressed" doctor, based at the Ditton Priors medical practice, injected about 10 times the accepted amount of the drug so the patient could "die in peace".

Shortly after Patient A's death in May 2009, Telford GP Dr Walton, an end-of-life care specialist, had an email from Dr Bassett in her then role as palliative care leader at Shropshire County Primary Care Trust.

Dr Bassett described how he had given a large dose of diamorphine after the patient had been "grossly agitated", was screaming in pain and his family were holding him down.

Visited rural practice

Dr Walton said: "I was quite relieved that he gave a diamorphine injection because that is what the patient should be having.

"It seems very clear to me from Dr Bassett's email and my understanding of the case that his intention was to relieve distress.

"Had the diamorphine not been given, this patient may have died in one or two hours in a state of extreme distress.

"As it was, he settled and died a few hours later."

Dr Walton said she had visited Dr Bassett's rural practice in April 2009 as part of a routine visit and described his end-of-life care as "brilliant".

The hearing has been told Patient A's family had no grievance with Dr Bassett.

The GMC has alleged his fitness to practise is impaired because of his misconduct.

The hearing continues.

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