MP asks Government when it will make changes to the law to after misdiagnosis by doctor leads to woman’s death

MP Steve Barclay meeting with Mike and Joanne Sams (parents of Nicola Sams) and Paul Phillips, Deputy Chief Executive of the GMC. MP Steve Barclay meeting with Mike and Joanne Sams (parents of Nicola Sams) and Paul Phillips, Deputy Chief Executive of the GMC.

Friday, May 9, 2014
1:38 PM

A campaign to get changes to the law to make it easier to discipline doctors was again raised in the House of Commons by MP Steve Barclay.

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The NE Cambs MP has been campaigning on behalf of Michael and Joanne Sams whose daughter Nicola, 26, was misdiagnosed and died in 2007.

For six years she had complained of abdominal pains and irregular bleeding but her symptoms were dismissed by her GP Navin Shankar as “nothing to worry about”.

But she was in fact suffering from cervical cancer which later spread to her spine, neck and arms, leaving her unable to walk. She died in August of that year.

Her parents, then living in Luton but now living in Wisbech, approached Mr Barclay two years ago to help.

The General Medical C0uncil panel found the doctor guilty of serious misconduct, he was declared unfit to practice after failing a series of skills tests, but allowed to continue working under close supervision

Miss Sams’ father then began a letter writing campaign to the GMC which culminated in 2012 with a meeting with Mr Barclay and the deputy chief executive of the GMC Paul Phillips.

But in the House of Commons on Thursday Mr Barclay said the doctor had “escaped any disciplinary action by retiring, despite having been investigated previously”.

The MP asked the Government when it will get the powers to change the Cohen judgement, which restricts accountability, and “allow it to appeal lenient sentences, as doctors can appeal sentences they regard as too harsh”.

Andrew Lansley, Leader of the House of Commons, told him “there are plans and legislative proposals for the further reform of health professional regulation.

“I will discuss with colleagues in the Department of Health what progress has been made and whether we will be able better to answer your precise questions.”

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