Luton Doctor faces sanctions

A Luton doctor is to face sanctions after a professional panel ruled he fell "seriously short'' of expected standards in treating a patient who later died from cervical cancer.

The General Medical Council found Dr Navin Shankar's fitness to practise was impaired after deciding his misconduct put patient safety at risk.

In October last year, the panel ruled Dr Shankar's treatment and record keeping in respect of one patient were inadequate and that the GP failed to adequately monitor a second patient's blood pressure, give her appropriate advice or maintain full medical records.

Philip Gaisford, acting for Dr Shankar, said there was no suggestion the doctor should have suspected cervical cancer in the woman - identified only as Patient A - and added it "may be'' that the failings had `"not contributed to the tragic outcome''.

The panel found Dr Shankar failed to keep adequate records of Patient A and her symptoms. She made a number of complaints concerning intermenstrual bleeding that were not recorded. Her oral contraceptive pill was changed on June 14, 2000 and August 16, 2005, but the reason for the change was not recorded.

Patient A also consulted him "on a number of occasions'' between 1999 and November 2005 at the Wigmore Lane Health Centre with symptoms warranting an internal examination which was not carried out.

The panel heard that the blood pressure of Patient B, who had a BMI which increased from 38 in 1995 to 46 in 2005, was not adequately monitored, despite being on the combined oral contraceptive pill - a high risk option for an obese individual.

The panel heard Dr Shankar undertook a performance assessment in May which highlighted that his professional performance was ``deficient'' and he was "not fit to practise independently at the present time''.

A GMC statement said: "The panel has borne in mind the public interest, which includes patient safety, the confidence the public are entitled to have in doctors and the maintenance of professional standards.''

Addressing Dr Shankar, the GMC said: ``In this case, patient safety has been put at risk as a result of your misconduct. In all the circumstances, the panel has determined that your fitness to practise is impaired by reason of misconduct.''