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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Misconduct case Ulverston GP says ‘I’m not rude’

A FAMILY doctor who faces being struck off over claims he was “aggressive” and “obnoxious” to patients and colleagues, denied being a ‘rude person’.

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Dr Henry Hart

Former Ulverston GP Dr Henry Hart, 45, faces a string of misconduct allegations over his “rude” and “threatening” behaviour to staff and patients which cost his practice over 800 patients in just four years, a medical tribunal has heard.

However, giving evidence yesterday at a disciplinary tribunal at Manchester’s General Medical Council, Dr Hart, said he was faced with continual management problems which built up over a period of three years.

During one email exchange between Dr Gerald Murray, whose Bayside practice shared the same premises at Ulverston Health Centre, Dr Murray’s manager, Diane Ridgeway, and Dr Hart a meeting was arranged to discuss flu clinics.

Ms Ridgeway emailed Dr Murray to say she had not heard from Dr Hart, but to “assume” the meeting was arranged for unless he “heard otherwise.”

Dr Hart then responded to Dr Murray saying “To assume makes and Ass of U and Me.”

Mr William Edis QC asked Dr Hart: “It is said that is an obnoxious response to emails trying to set up a meeting.

“What do you say about that?”

Dr Hart replied: “I accept the tenor of the conversation on the email taking it out of its context could be seen as insulting. I can see that now.

“But It wasn’t just a simple matter of me being a rude person - it was in the context of having a long series of problems for me.

“This is at the height of a series of problems over a period of three years, where it appeared to me that a number of assumptions were being made which my practice was expected to support.

“There was an assumption made here about my availability when I wasn’t able to respond.

“The day the email was sent I was busy and I didn’t have time to attend meetings on a Monday which is an extremely busy day for me.

“It was something I wanted to bring to the meeting - that assumptions were being made all the way along the line. I couldn’t achieve anything because an assumption is made to the contrary.

“This was at the height of three years of attrition. If normal communications were better, perhaps we would have fixed the thing up in a less hostile manner. But working there wasn’t a joke for me – it had become a complete nightmare.”

The panel has previously heard evidence from Doctor Murray who claimed that his relationship with Dr Hart broke down after his offers of support had been rejected.

Dr Hart said Dr Murray had an “extremely warped idea of what I would call reasonable support.”

Dr Hart yesterday told the panel that he had never felt “comfortable” at Bayside family practice but he had been “hopeful” he could make it work.

He said he didn’t accept the evidence of other staff at the practice that he had been the “primary problem”.

He said by October 2007 he felt that it had become a “complete waste of time”.

He went on: “I was being dominated by another person in the building.”

Mr Edis asked; “Do you consider that you were under stress at that time?”

Dr Hart said: “I was under stress from the minute I walked into the place.

“Most GPs do two clinics a day. I was doing three – and I was doing visits. It was the management problems that didn’t go away. On a day to day basis I was getting inundated with management problems that I didn’t have time to deal with.”

Dr Hart, of Kirkby, denies 33 counts of unprofessional behaviour. It is also alleged he allowed his wife Carole, who worked as a practice manager at the surgery, to act aggressively towards colleagues and staff.

The case continues.

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