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Suspended doctor 'was popular GP', insists colleague

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 15, 2012

By Gill Roberts

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A PORT Talbot doctor who amended notes from a patient's medical record has been described as "an extremely well thought of and popular GP" by a colleague.

Dr Venkata Subramanyam Subbu was last week found to have acted dishonestly by a tribunal.

A panel at the hearing determined that Dr Subbu's fitness to practise was impaired and suspended him for six months.

Practice nurse Adele Jones said staff and patients would welcome Dr Subbu back with open arms.

"Despite the findings of the panel, Dr Subbu remains an extremely well thought of, and popular GP," she said.

"In my opinion — which I submitted to the tribunal — Dr Subbu is a kind and caring doctor who has always put the welfare of patients before personal considerations.

"I should also say that I am deeply ashamed that this fundamentally good and upright man apparently felt unable to seek support and objective advice from his colleagues. Had this been available to him, I believe none of this would have happened.

"In conclusion I should say that most people who work here, including me, and all the patients who have spoken to me, are looking forward to his return in six months' time."

The Medical Practitioners' Tribunal Service heard evidence from Owain Thomas, on behalf of Dr Subbu, who told the panel he had a "long, distinguished career" of 35 years in medicine.

Mr Thomas said Dr Subbu had been "frightened" when he was sent a letter informing him of a potential clinical negligence claim against him and "acted in a manner which was completely out of character".

Ms Jones, who wished to point out that she did not have any involvement with the case and did not report Dr Subbu to the General Medical Council, said she agreed with this.

"I believe Mr Owain Thomas's submission for Dr Subbu that he panicked and acted completely out of character to be absolutely correct," she said.

At the hearing, panel chairman professor Denis McDevitt said on receipt of this letter that Dr Subbu checked the notes that the practice nurse had entered into Patient A's medical records and "considered that they were inadequate".

Professor McDevitt said: "On six separate occasions, between 13 October and 13 November 2009, you amended the original entries."

In his determination, Professor McDevitt, said: "The panel is satisfied that your actions amount to misconduct and that the misconduct is serious."

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  • hayabusa  |  November 20 2012, 10:55AM

    Practice Nurse Adele Jones emotionally charged but ludicrous comments beggar belief. Not withstanding her genuine opinion that Dr Subbu is a well thought of and popular GP (which he may well be - I don't know him) she is missing the point that he has been found guilty of dishonesty by way of falsifying a patients records. Furthermore she seems to be suggesting that if Dr Subbu's had been able to rely on his colleagues for support and objective advice "none of this would've happened!" I could've given Dr Subbu all the "objective advice" he needed - DON'T ACT DISHONESTLY UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES LET ALONE BY WAY OF FALSIFYING PATIENTS RECORDS!! I assume Dr Subbu's lack of confidence in obtaining the support of his colleagues was because unlike him they are people with honesty and integrity. Following Adele Jone's comments I do wonder if (if Dr Subbu had consulted her for support and objective advice) she would've been prepared to implicate herself in what would've been a dishonest cover up to protect her popular and respected Boss. One last thought - suspended for 6 months? In any other walk of life dishonest and deceitful behaviour on this scale would result in a person being sacked in an instant.

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  • PTgirl  |  November 15 2012, 8:55PM

    Dr Subbi has been my GP for over 30 years. He has always shown me respect has been caring and more importantly has been an excellent GP. Yes changing a patients record was an error, human error however it did not have a direct impact on a patient, this wasn't a life or death situation just human error. I hope he returns and I will welcome him back. The practice is a small practice with just two GP's we can not afford to lose such a highly skilled GP just because the GMC have decided to make an example of him.

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  • Jiffy  |  November 15 2012, 8:15PM

    How soon we forget. Harold Shipman was a very popular doctor. He also altered patients records.

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  • Emmaw80  |  November 15 2012, 7:44PM

    Doctor Subbu has been my GP since I was a baby. He is a kind, caring and wonderful man. This is clearly a very brief error in judgment on his behalf caused by the stress of ambulance chasers that are only interested in financial gain. I hope that he takes this 6 month break to recover from this ordeal and comes back with his head held high. I for one would welcome his return... I'd like my doctor back.

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  • Dan01  |  November 15 2012, 1:19PM

    Yes, but this was a very serious thing for a person in such a position to do. We can't have doctors amending our medical history as suits them, especially if to avoid scrutiny.

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  • intelligent1  |  November 15 2012, 12:02PM

    such a pity that a persons career has been damaged by an individual wanting to get financial reward out of what appears to have been human error. We can all make mistakes but it appears that individuals are not happy with a true apology unless it is supported by a large cash sum.

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