Norfolk cancer charity founder cleared of wrongdoing by regulator

PUBLISHED: 15:12 28 May 2014 | UPDATED: 15:12 28 May 2014

Dr Henry Mannings in his office at the Star Throwers.

Dr Henry Mannings in his office at the Star Throwers.

©Archant Photographic 2010

The founder of a Norfolk cancer charity has spoken of his relief and anger after he was cleared following an 18 month investigation by the doctors’ regulator.

A complaint was made against cancer specialist Henry Mannings in November 2012 after a hospital consultant said he had given chemotherapy to two patients without authorisation.

However, the 63-year-old, who set up the Wymondham-based Star Throwers in 2009, was told in a letter at the end of last week that the General Medical Council (GMC) had cleared him of any wrongdoing.

Dr Mannings said he feared that the charity would close after the allegations were made against him and he had been banned from prescribing medication for a three month period.

The complaint was made by a consultant at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital about the treatment of Rachel Lane, 27, and Thelma Dowsett, 78, who both died in October 2012. Their families had made no complaint about Dr Mannings or Star Throwers and expressed their gratitude to the doctor and the charity.

Dr Mannings said he had received messages of support from across the world from colleagues in the medical profession. He added that he would be writing a letter of complaint to the head of the GMC.

“It has been exceptionally stressful and it has been financially stressful because I have not been able to do locum work because no one would take me on. It had a negative effect on the staff for the first two or three weeks but after that it has been extremely positive and people have really supported me and the charity and our donations since then have doubled. For three months I was not allowed to treat anyone and quite a few people suffered,” he said.

An Interim Orders Panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Services had imposed a ban from prescribing medication when the complaint was first made. However, that was overturned on appeal in January last year. Dr Mannings added that he was told of the GMC’s decision two days before the end of an 18 month investigation deadline.

“There was never any complaint from a patient and many of the complaints made against me were not true. I am very angry with how the complaint has been handled and the stress I had to go through. This will not be the end of it. Both the hospital and us should be working together, not against each other,” he said.

Dr Mannings established Star Throwers at the former Windmill Surgery in Melton Road, Wymondham, in frustration at the lack of support for people living with cancer. He served as a GP for more than 35 years, and as a doctor of oncology at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

A spokesman from the GMC said: “We have a duty to investigate when we receive complaints and when concerns are raised with us about a doctor’s practice. Where there are concerns about patient safety, we also have a duty to act while that investigation is ongoing. Investigations must be thorough but we endeavour to carry them out as quickly as possible.”

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