MP launches bid to make it easier to sack doctors after GP fails eight times to spot cancer signs in Nicola

MP STEVE Barclay is hoping to get the law changed to make it easier to dismiss doctors after taking up the case of Nicola Sams whose ill health was misdiagnosed and led to her death.

Her dying wish of “dad, stop this man, don’t let him do it again” has moved Mr Barclay, MP for NE Cambs, to support the family’s campaign to bring about change.

Nicola, 26, died after six years of abdominal pains and irregular bleeding. Her symptoms were “dismissed” by her GP Dr Navin Shankar as “nothing to worry about”.

Miss Sams, whose family now live in Wisbech, was suffering from cervical cancer which would eventually spread to her spine, neck and arms, leaving her unable to walk. She died in August 2007.

A General Medical Council panel found Shankar guilty of serious misconduct for failing to perform appropriate examinations on Miss Sams.

He was declared unfit to practise without restrictions after he failed a series of basic knowledge and skills tests.

But Shankar was allowed to continue working as long as he was “closely supervised” and spent 18 months in NHS training practices.

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Miss Sam’s father Michael Sams, 57, a quality engineer, said: “We were absolutely disgusted with the GMC.”

Mr Sams has been writing to the GMC for six years and describes his progress as “very, very slow indeed”.

He said: “They were not really forthcoming, it became a bit of a loggerhead situation.”

But he is delighted that Mr Barclay has now taken up his case and arranged a meeting between the Sams family and Paul Phillips, deputy chief executive of the GMC.

Mr Barclay said: “Although nothing could make up for the loss of Nicola, the meeting identified a number of key areas where GMC powers are lacking.

“Particularly the threshold which an incompetent doctor must pass before being struck off is far too high and the GMC lack any powers of appeal against decisions not to strike off doctors.”

Mr Barclay has applied for an Adjournment Debate in Parliament to discuss the regulation of doctors.

Mr Sams said: “Since we’ve been liaising with Steve the progress has been dramatic. “Without him we would have struggled to get any further.

“It’s gone beyond what my daughter and I ever believed. We can’t fault Steve, he’s been brilliant. I wish I’d met him a few years ago.”

Mr Barclay said he wants to ensure “no other family have to endure what the Sams have”.

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