Doctor charged with misconduct

    The General Medical Council has charged a former government
    adviser with serious professional misconduct over allegations of
    poor care standards at a nursing home condemned in an independent
    report.

    Dr Chai Patel will go before the GMC on 31 January on charges
    relating to conditions at Lynde House in Twickenham between 1999
    and 2002 when he was chief executive of owners Westminster Health
    Care.

    The home was damned in a September 2002 report, commissioned by
    Kingston and Richmond Health Authority following a string of
    complaints made by relatives of residents.

    It found Lynde House had insufficient and inadequately trained
    staff, used equipment that breached health and safety legislation
    and failed to tackle complaints properly, while residents and their
    relatives faced “an apparent climate of fear and intimidation”.

    Patel, who is now chief executive of mental health provider
    Priory Healthcare, stepped down from the government’s older
    people’s taskforce and Help the Aged’s board of trustees shortly
    after the publication of the damning report, but has always
    disputed its conclusions.

    The GMC has not revealed the specific charges against Patel,
    which will be confirmed at the hearing, but a spokesperson for the
    doctor confirmed they related to Lynde House.

    He said: “Lynde House was, and continues to be, a valuable
    resource for the local community…There is absolutely no basis to
    these charges and Dr Patel is looking forward to clearing his name
    and reputation.”
    Patel’s spokesperson added that the case would be costly for both
    the doctor and the GMC, and set a dangerous precedent for the
    council effectively regulating any health care provider which had a
    doctor on its senior management team.

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