Dr Andrew Little inquest: Mystery surrounds drug overdose which led to Yorkshire GP’s death

A Scarborough GP died after taking a drug overdose at his home in North Yorkshire, an inquest was told.

Dr Andrew Little, 45, was taken to Scarborough General Hospital after he was found unconscious in July 2019. Doctors discovered that he had suffered a hypoglycemic brain injury after an insulin overdose.

The father-of-three did not regain consciousness and he died at Mayfield View Care Home in Ilkley on April 5 in 2020, after he developed bronco pneumonia.

An inquest heard a consultant at the hospital reported the overdose to North Yorkshire Police and an investigation was launched.

Andrew Little, 45, was taken to Scarborough General Hospital after he was found unconscious in July 2019

Detective Sergeant John Owens said officers found Dr Little had not been diagnosed with diabetes and it is not clear why he had decided to take the insulin, but there was “nothing to indicate suicide”.

The investigation also found the GP, who worked at Hackness Road Surgery in Scarborough, had written nine fake prescriptions to obtain 283 tablets of the sleeping drug zopiclone between April and July in 2019, but he had not written himself a prescription for insulin.

Anne Louise Little, who is a nurse, told the inquest her husband had previously received treatment for a prescription drug addiction, while he was working in Burnley, but he had received hospital treatment to help him overcome that addiction.

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Ms Little said she did not know her husband had been writing fake prescriptions for himself before his death or that he had diabetes.

“As far as I know, Andrew didn't have diabetes, but Andrew was a closed book sometimes,” she said.

She also said he was an unhealthy person, as he had a poor diet, he drank five nights a week “to unwind from his work” and he had struggled to exercise since undergoing several operations on his knee.

At the inquest, Ms Little said she had “no concerns” about her husband, before she found him unconscious in the lounge in July 2019, and they had recently returned from a holiday in Italy.

Patricia Little said her son was a hard-working doctor who had “a wonderful personality and a wicked sense of humour”.

“We were told by the hospital they believe Andrew may have self administered insulin, which led to him falling ill. I do not believe this is the case,” she said.

“I do not think Andrew would do something like that to himself, his girls were the light of his life.”

Coroner Jonathan Leach ruled the death was drug-related, but said it was not suicide as there was no evidence to suggest Dr Little intended to take his own life.

He said: “There was no evidence that Dr Little had created bogus prescriptions for insulin.

“Where he obtained insulin is unknown, as is why he took it because he was not diabetic and it is generally only prescribed for diabetes.”

A tribute from Hackness Road Surgery read: "It is with heavy hearts that Hackness Road Surgery shares with you the news that Dr Little became poorly during the night and passed away on the morning of Sunday 05 April 2020.

"This sad news comes after a long period of illness in hospital. Dr Little was a much loved GP to many of our patients and respected colleague to staff at Hackness Road Surgery; we have all missed him hugely over the past few months and his kindness and compassion will not be forgotten. His passing leaves a chasm that will be impossible to fill.

"In our sadness we take a moment to be thankful that he is now at peace."