GP cleared to work after inquiry into ‘poor’ decisions

A GP from Yorkshire has been cleared to work again despite findings by a watchdog of “unacceptable” performance in seven key areas including patient assessments.

Barnsley family doctor Murugesu Muthulingaswamy was suspended in 2012 amid concerns from colleagues over his performance.

He had worked in Thurnscoe and Goldthorpe since 2005 but was referred to the General Medical Council in the wake of an investigation by health chiefs in Barnsley into his practice.

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A fitness to practise hearing of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) found that his performance was “unacceptable” in seven areas including assessments of patients’ conditions, providing and arranging investigations and treatment, record-keeping and dealings with patients.

He failed a knowledge test and another series of tests simulating situations in a surgery.

Following assessments by experts, the MPTS accepted findings he was ineffective in exploring patients’ conditions thoroughly and that his understanding and use of investigations was a “risk to patients”. Blood tests were ordered on a number of occasions without justification and the use of results to make treatment decisions was “poor”, it said.

It added: “The advice you provided to patients was often unclear and sometimes wrong. You made some incorrect prescribing decisions.”

It said his working relationships with others had been good prior to 2012 but a breakdown in the relationship with his surgery partner took place, and they were not on speaking terms.

The General Medical Council, which brought the case against him, pressed for the GP to be struck off but the panel accepted arguments from his legal team that although his fitness to practise as a family doctor was currenly impaired, he was willing to address his deficiencies.

The panel said it recognised there had been no previous problems prior to 2012 in his performance over a 40-year career.

It imposed 24 conditions effective for two years on his working as a family doctor including detailed day-to-day checks on his performance by another GP.