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1 February 2000

MSF WELCOMES INQUIRY INTO THE CASE OF HAROLD SHIPMAN

MSF, the health professionals' union, welcomed the independent public inquiry announced by Health Secretary Alan Milburn today (Tuesday, 1 February) into the case of mass murderer, Dr Harold Shipman.

MSF's lead officer for primary care, Barrie Brown said: "We are particularly concerned about the fact that Harold Shipman was a sole practitioner, who was not answerable to colleagues on a daily basis. Working alone may have facilitated the murders that Harold Shipman was able to carry out."

"We have many professional members in the health service, working alongside GPs and other doctors, who are answerable for their actions each and every day. We believe that doctors should be similarly accountable. Firm steps need to be taken to restore public confidence."

"We welcome Alan Milburn's pledge that systems, such as doctors disclosing their criminal convictions, will be strengthened so there is never a repeat of this terrible crime."

"MSF welcomed last year's Government document Supporting Doctors, Protecting Patients, but the principles established then need to be further developed."

MSF has 2,000 doctors amongst its 65,000 members working in the NHS.

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NOTE FOR NEWS DESKS

For further information, please contact

Barrie Brown 0498 53 10 22
Roger Kline 0468 69 39 34
Shaun Noble Press Officer 0171 939 7043 Mobile 0468 69 39 40

MSF represents 65,000 health service professionals including the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists, laboratory scientific staff, the College of Health Care Chaplains, the Community Psychiatric Nurses Association, the Medical Practitioners Union, clinical psychologists, speech therapists, the Hospital Physicists Association and the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association.

MSF has 400,000 skilled and professional members in a wide range of industries. It is the UK's fifth largest union.

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