An account of the suspension, contingent removal and termination of Devon GP Dr Roger Stephenson's contract, the subsequent High Court judgement against Devon Primary Care Trust and ongoing developments in this case.
(The Honourable Mr Justice Burton 10th July 2009, in the Royal Courts of Justice, London.)
A personal message from Dr Stephenson.
In 2009 one High Court Judge said “there must be something behind it all”. So I asked Devon PCT and Devon LMC to meet me to discuss what might have gone wrong. Both bodies repeatedly declined. In an effort to find out for myself what was “behind it all”, and in an attempt to avoid further recourse to the Courts, I asked for my personal data from both bodies. They were slow and obstructive, and criticised for such by the Information Commissioner (see schedule of delays).
I was left with no other option than returning to the High Court, where in April last year another Judge said: “…the way your clients [Devon PCT] handled all this back in 2007 and 2008 was a disgrace, a shambles, a denial of natural justice.” He also ordered NHS England (Devon PCT’s successor organisation) to disclose many of the documents I had been seeking for the last five years. They were given a three month deadline which they met with just 90 minutes to spare. The Judge’s Order and some extracts from the transcript can be seen on this website.
It then took four further letters to Bevan Brittan, NHS England’s solicitors, before they eventually admitted that all the computer records of Devon PCT were transferred to the Department of Health in April 2013, and that they had not examined them.
The story continues…
This website is operated by a group of Dr Stephenson’s colleagues who believe he has been unfairly treated by Devon PCT. The initial allegations concerning patient care were made by his probationary partner Dr Andrew Bower to Dr Peter Jolliffe, CEO of Devon LMC. These allegations were sat on by the PCT for 5 months. We find it extraordinary that Dr Jolliffe, despite arguably being involved as a witness, then became a member of the panel that decided that a performance investigation should take place. There had been no complaints from patients that Dr Stephenson was made aware of and no adverse outcomes connected with Dr Stephenson's care. In fact the PCT had data
) that showed that his practice had better than average health outcomes. There was no attempt at an informal enquiry. The first panel Dr Kevin Snee convened to investigate Dr Stephenson had, minutes earlier, heard from Dr Bower in his “performance enquiry”. Given the nature of the allegations and the delay we can see no legitimate reason for Dr Stephenson to have been suspended while any enquiry was undertaken. In the end he was barred from his practice for over nine months while Dr Bower continued working there. The allegations were never proven. The PCT withdrew from the formal FHSAA appeal hearing just three days before it was due to be heard. We believe this was because they realised their witnesses’ evidence against Dr Stephenson would not withstand cross examination. Dr Stephenson went on to have the PCT’s actions overturned in the High Court. The only reason we can see for Dr Stephenson being excluded from his practice was to protect the person who made the allegations, who subsequently was selected to run the practice. The PCT refused
Dr Stephenson’s and Devon LMC’s requests for an enquiry into their handling of his case, despite the Strategic Health Authority recommending that the PCT conduct an audit to review the process back in November 2009, and Ann James, who replaced Kevin Snee, never completed the “internal reflection” she said would take place.
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Devon Primary Trust judgement Last Updated January 2015 Web Page by IT Solutions URL: http://www.devonpctjudgement.co.uk