GP Daniel Ubani struck off over fatal overdose

Image caption,
Dr Ubani injected a patient with an overdose of a painkiller

An out-of-hours doctor from Germany who killed a patient with an overdose of a painkiller has been struck off by the General Medical Council (GMC).

Dr Daniel Ubani, 67, injected David Gray, of Manea, Cambridgeshire, with 10 times the recommended dosage in 2008.

A GMC panel has ruled that Dr Ubani should be banned from practising in the UK.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said he was working to ensure foreign staff have the right language skills.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said: "On the general issue of doctors coming to work here from the European Union, the GMC remains extremely concerned that the current arrangements do not provide patients with the protection they need.

"Patient safety must come first and we need to plug the gaping hole in our current procedures."

Dr Ubani was given a suspended sentence in Germany for death by negligence but is still able to practise there. The GMC's powers do not extend to other countries.

Mr Gray, 70, who was suffering from kidney stones, died at his home, a few hours after he was given the massive overdose of diamorphine on 16 February 2008.

Dr Ubani, a specialist in cosmetic medicine based in Witten, Germany, admitted he had confused the morphine with another drug.

The panel concluded it had "grave concerns" about Dr Ubani's clinical competence in his treatment of three patients on that date and warned there was a risk of him repeating his errors.

Panel chairman Dr Brian Alderman said: "In all the circumstances, the panel is satisfied that erasure is the only means of protecting patients and maintaining public confidence in the profession."

Mr Lansley said: "I support the panel's verdict which ensures that Dr Ubani can never practise medicine in this country again.

"This was a tragic case resulting from a failing out-of-hours system and I offer the Gray family again my sincere condolences.

"I am working closely with the GMC to ensure that foreign healthcare professionals are not allowed to work in the NHS unless they have proven their competence and language skills."

Speaking after the GMC's decision, Mr Gray's son, Stuart, who is a Worcestershire GP, told BBC Radio Five live that he believed the panel could not have come to any other conclusion.

"There was a catalogue of medical errors... he is a disgrace to the medical profession."

His brother, Rory, said: "We have to close the loopholes to prevent other Ubanis from being allowed to come to the UK to practise and we have to find out why the German authorities still allow this man to practise in Germany, where I live. It's terrifying."

Stuart Gray said the family did not hold out much hope of Dr Ubani being struck off the German register as the GMC's chief executive has already written 22 letters to his equivalent in Germany and had no response.

Dr Ubani did not attend the hearing in Manchester and cannot now be tried in a criminal court in Britain because of double jeopardy laws.

A European arrest warrant was issued by Cambridgeshire Police but could not be carried out because legal proceedings had begun in Germany.

Image caption,
David Gray was given painkillers for renal colic

The family of Mr Gray has accepted £40,000 compensation.

An inquest in to the death in February heard Dr Ubani had previously not been selected by Leeds Primary Care Trust because he had failed a language test.

But the GMC panel heard evidence that Dr Ubani was competent in spoken English and his employers had no problems understanding him.

He had flown into the UK the day before his 12-hour Cambridgeshire shift for GP service provider Take Care Now and only had a few hours' sleep, the GMC panel was told.

A doctor who gave him an induction expressed concerns that Dr Ubani had no NHS experience, did not know the area, and that he did not have enough time to properly train him.

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