Northern Ireland

Hyponatraemia Inquiry: Doctor removed from medical register

Hyponatraemia inquiry report
Image caption The inquiry's report made 96 recommendations

A doctor who was named in the inquiry into the deaths of five children in hospitals in Northern Ireland has had his request to be removed from the medical register granted in a fitness to practice hearing.

Dr Robert Quinn was involved in the care of 17-month-old Lucy Crawford who died at the Royal Belfast hospital for sick children in 2000.

Lucy had been initially treated in the Erne Hospital in Enniskillen.

The decision means that all professional charges against the doctor have been dropped and the hearing is concluded.

The move means that Dr Quinn cannot practice in the UK and all health regulators will be informed of the decision.

In January, the Hyponatraemia Inquiry into the deaths of the five children in hospitals found that four were avoidable.

Hyponatraemia occurs when there is a shortage of sodium in the bloodstream.

The GMC has a five-year rule whereby an investigation must take place within five years of the event having allegedly happened.

Waiving the five-year rule is significant - some other doctors named in the hyponatraemia report will not be investigated as they have either retired or the GMC's set time has lapsed.

The General Medical Council (GMC) the regulator for doctors, said it was disappointed by the most recent decision.

"We are disappointed that the Medical Practitioners Tribunal has allowed Dr Quinn's application for voluntary erasure, as we felt it was in the public interest for these allegations to be heard by the Tribunal in an open and transparent way", it said.

"The Tribunal's independent decision does mean the doctor will be removed from the register and they will not be able to practise medicine in the UK. "

'Isolated incident'

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service is the body responsible for conducting hearings. It makes independent decisions about a doctor's fitness to practice.

A lawyer for Dr Quinn told the hearing that the doctor had retired in 2006.

In a written submission Mr Hockton, Counsel, said that "the allegations were of a limited scope - also that the alleged misconduct was an isolated incident involving no issues of probity."

A spokesperson for the GMC said that it continues to investigate concerns about a number of doctor's raised by the Inquiry.

More on this story