Scotland

Senior doctor guilty of misconduct

A Scottish GP and former government advisor has been found guilty of misconduct over his treatment of four patients, including two children.

A medical tribunal was told Dr Tom Gilhooly was "carrying the banner" for a controversial treatment.

Dr Gilhooly is a senior partner at Carntyne Medical Centre in Glasgow and set up his own private practice, Glasgow Health Solutions.

He was the subject of a BBC investigation in 2011.

It alleged he was offering a controversial vein-widening treatment to people with Multiple Sclerosis which was based on unproven theories that MS was caused by vein blockages.

Dr Gilhooly told the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) he would never again prescribe low-dose naltrexone, which he had previously championed, as a treatment.

The drug is normally used to treat people with drug or alcohol addictions. Its effectiveness in treating other conditions is fiercely debated.

The medical tribunal heard that Dr Gilhooly prescribed low-dose naltrexone to a four-year-old boy with autism following a request from the boy's mother, without discussing the pros and cons of the drug, or the fact that the drug was not licensed to treat autism.

He prescribed it to a pregnant woman despite the fact the effect on the foetus is unknown, and admitted prescribing it to a man with lung cancer despite the fact it could have interfered with the man's pain relief and chemotherapy.

Dr Gilhooly also prescribed twice the recommended amount of another drug, Risperidone, to a child with Downs Syndrome who had become aggressive. The authorities were alerted when the child became drowsy at school the next day.

Dr Gilhooly admitted becoming "complacent" with his prescribing of low-dose naltrexone and in his record-keeping.

The MPTS said that Dr Gilhooly had been open and honest with patients after concerns were raised about him, and that no-one came to any actual harm. It heard evidence that he was a "good doctor working in a deprived area".

The LDN Trust, which campaigns for research into the benefits of low-dose naltrexone, told the BBC: "Dr Tom Gilhooly resigned as medical adviser in November 2013, the LDN Research Trust has no further comments."

Dr Gilhooly has acted as an advisor to the Scottish and UK governments on drug misuse.

He told the tribunal he was not campaigning for low-dose naltrexone or taking risks to promote the drug.

Following the tribunal, Dr Gilhooly must not prescribe medicines for conditions which they were not originally licensed for and has other restrictions placed on him for a period of six months.