Case studies

Panel warns registrant following failure to refer patient for further investigation

Mr F had been treating a patient when he failed to notice a potentially life-threatening condition. He appeared before the fitness to practise panel of his regulatory body which found that he ought to have made urgent arrangements to refer the patient for further investigation and had not done so; that he had not fully informed the patient of his findings and had not made it clear that he needed further investigation as a matter of urgency.

The panel was satisfied that the failings, although related to one consultation, when considered together reached the threshold of misconduct. There was a failure to carry out a full assessment, a separate failure to refer, failure to communicate findings fully and failure to make adequate arrangements to ensure that the patient's management was safeguarded after he left the consultation. It decided that these failures were sufficiently serious to amount to misconduct.

However, over the two year period since the incident, Mr F had demonstrated insight and learnt valuable lessons. The panel found that the failings were highly unlikely to be repeated and that Mr F did not represent a risk to the public. His fitness to practise was therefore not impaired.

The panel determined that a warning was appropriate because the concerns raised were sufficiently serious to require a formal response. The warning would ensure that the registrant continued the progress he had made in using appropriate examination techniques, improving his understanding and communicating fully with patients.

Nicole Curtis represented the regulator.

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