Queens Birthday Honours 2019: MBE for doctor who led post-Shipman reforms

Dr Raj Patel Image copyright Raj Patel
Image caption Dr Raj Patel has been appointed an MBE for services to health care

A doctor who led changes to the reporting of deaths and drug control after the case of murderer Harold Shipman has been appointed MBE.

Dr Raj Patel, 58, works in Hyde, Greater Manchester, close to the practice of the convicted GP, who killed at least 215 people.

He said he was "shocked, astonished but delighted" with the MBE.

He is deputy national medical director for primary care at NHS England and has been a practicing GP for 25 years.

Dr Patel worked with colleagues to change their practice in completing cremation forms so that a second doctor can contact relatives if there are any concerns.

He persuaded doctors across Manchester to adopt the same rules and in 2008, questioning relatives became normal practice in a revised cremation form nationally.

If this had been in place, Shipman's actions may have been uncovered soon.

Dr Patel said the work he was involved with in changing cremation forms was "very significant".

"It was really important because we knew there were gaps in the system to allow Shipman to get away with what he did and what we were waiting for was some national guidance that wasn't coming, so we decided locally as doctors that we would make some changes and these changes were adopted," he said.

Dr Patel also led the creation of a controlled drugs incident reporting tool for Greater Manchester, recognising Shipman's use of diamorphine in his murders.

The tool has been adopted across 90% of England.

Dr Patel, who works at the Brooke Surgery in Hyde, said he was surprised by the accolade in the Queens Birthday Honours.

"I've been a GP for a long time and it's not often that doctors or nurses or health professionals get these awards," he added.

Who was Harold Shipman?

Harold Shipman was a GP working in Hyde at the time of his arrest in 1998.

His crimes first came to light after an attempt to forge the will of one of his victims.

He jailed for life in 2000 for murdering 15 patients.

An inquiry found he had murdered least 215 of his patients, confirming him as Britain's most prolific serial killer.

He killed himself in prison in 2004.

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