Norfolk doctor changed patient records, inquiry hears

A Norfolk doctor invented information on patients' medical records because of a need for 'completeness and order,' a medical panel has heard.

The General Medical Council's Fitness to Practise panel found Patrick Frew improperly made retrospective entries in the records of patients to change their smoking status and show depression screening had taken place while working at Harleston Medical Practice.

The panel, which sat on March 1, also found Dr Frew, who now practises at Greyfriars Health Centre in Great Yarmouth, altered other asthma and dementia data and failed to provide good clinical care to two patients on February 2 and March 13, 2009.

The alterations to patient records took place between December 2006 and March 2009 when details of the fictitious depression screening tests were added to the records of 18 patients, while the smoking status of two patients was changed.

Dr Frew, who has been a GP for 25 years, joined the Harleston practice in 1996 and became a partner in 2005 before merging with another practice in 2008.

However, there were difficulties integrating the two practices and Dr Frew found other doctors were not entering the relevant data on patients' medical records at the time of meeting them.

The panel heard he took it upon himself to update the records without checking the data, but decided Dr Frew was fit to continue as a GP as he had taken steps to eliminate the problems and opted against giving him a warning.

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Dr Frew told the panel he believed he was doing the right thing and, at the time, did not believe his actions would be considered dishonest.