Intended for healthcare professionals


Doctor who worked as private GP is suspended for 12 months for excessive prescribing

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 04 November 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6357
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. The BMJ

A doctor who trained in cardiology but worked for many years as a private practice GP has been suspended from the UK medical register for 12 months for exceeding his competence in prescribing risky drugs to a “complex” and addicted patient.

David Dighton, who qualified in 1966 and worked in academic medicine before becoming a sole practitioner in a private practice in Essex in 1982, admitted prescribing excessive quantities of the powerful pain drugs co-proxamol and dihydrocodeine and the sleeping pill zolpidem to a woman named only as Patient A. In some cases, he renewed prescriptions at a rate that would exceed the prescribed dosage.

A medical practitioners’ tribunal found that Dighton, who had no formal GP training, failed to adequately assess her mental state or suicide risk, or refer her to mental health services, although he also prescribed antidepressants while …

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