Royal Surrey County Hospital suspends epilepsy doctor

Royal Surrey County Hospital
Image caption The hospital has sent a letter to parents about the review

A hospital doctor has been suspended after concerns were raised about how children with epilepsy were being treated.

Parents of 569 children have been told there will be a review of Dr Nicholas Driver's methods going back nine years.

The Royal Surrey County Hospital said none of the children had died as a result of the treatment.

But medical director Christopher Tibbs did not rule out that some children may have come to harm.

Dr Tibbs said the hospital, in Guildford, received a letter from a paediatric neurologist in February expressing concern about Dr Driver's methods.

Dr Driver was suspended from working with children with epilepsy the next day.

Two weeks later, he was suspended on full pay from all hospital duties, Dr Tibbs said.

Dr Tibbs urged parents not to change their children's medication without seeking expert advice.

He refused to go into specifics but said the concerns were about "the totality of the management of the patient".

He added: "It's important that we don't create panic here.

"Dr Driver should not be judged as being guilty.

"He is a diligent, dedicated and hard-working doctor and we are doing everything we can to support him through a very difficult time."

Hospital chief executive Nick Moberley said: "Until we have been through the review, we will not be in a position to be clear about what may or may not have happened.

"We are very sorry to have to put families in a position that is very stressful and upsetting."

Independent experts will now look back at Dr Driver's cases since 2002. The review could take several months.

'Do not alter medication'

Dr Driver started work at the hospital in 2001. It was his first consultancy role.

A spokeswoman for the Epilepsy Society said it would be inappropriate to comment on the case.

She added: "However, if your child is currently receiving treatment for epilepsy, it is important that you do not alter or stop their anti-epileptic medication."

A dedicated helpline - 01483 408379 - has been set up by the hospital for anyone directly affected by the issue.

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