Devon

Heart doctor Joe Motwani rejects misconduct claims

Dr Joe Motwani
Image caption Dr Motwani's work has received international recognition

An eminent heart specialist accused of misconduct has said his priority has always been the care of his patients.

Dr Joe Motwani's conduct hearing before the General Medical Council (GMC) is due to begin next week.

The allegations against him include acting in a manner "not clinically appropriate" for some patients, risking their cardiac conditions.

But the cardiologist, who has worked at Plymouth's Derriford Hospital since 1999, has rejected the allegations.

As an alternative to heart surgery, Dr Motwani pioneered the less invasive angioplasty to open blocked heart arteries, gaining access through the wrist.

The procedure, called percutaneous coronary intervention, using stents [scaffolds] to restore narrowed arteries to their normal width has received international acclaim.

Dr Motwani was excluded from Derriford Hospital in June 2008 and an investigation was carried out after concerns were raised about his work.

A review said four patients died, although they had complex conditions and it was not clear if they would have survived alternative treatments.

The GMC hearing, which is expected to last for about five months, will consider a number of other allegations against the cardiologist, including that he conducted research trials in an "inadequate", "careless" and "unethical" manner and reacted with " hostility" and "anger" to colleagues.

Patients are divided in their opinion of Dr Motwani, with some praising him and others seeking legal action.

'Recompense sought'

"We do have clients who obviously want to know what went on," Robert Antrobus, from Foot Anstey solicitors said.

"They are reflecting on the matter and appreciate they may been quite severely damaged as a result of the sub-standard care that's been alleged.

"If that is the case, they will seek recompense."

Les Hobbs, who underwent angioplasty following a "scary" heart attack, said Dr Motwani's work was amazing.

"He kept me completely in the picture, which gave me loads and loads of confidence," he said.

"The man, in my opinion, is fantastic."

In a statement Dr Motwani told BBC News: "I strongly refute the attacks which have been made on my cardiology practice, and I am most grateful for all the support which I have had from patients.

"Whilst it would be inappropriate for me to comment in any detail in advance of the General Medical Council's fitness to practise hearing I would like to say that my priority has always been to provide the best possible care for my patients, and it has always been my intention to conduct my medical research with rigour and integrity."

In April Plymouth Hospitals Trust said the majority of patients had received safe and appropriate treatment.

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