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Wymondham doctor speaks of relief at being able to prescribe drugs again

10:46 16 January 2013

Dr Henry Mannings in his office at the Star throwers in Wymondham.

Dr Henry Mannings in his office at the Star throwers in Wymondham.

©Archant Photographic 2010

A doctor who was banned from issuing medication has spoken of his relief at being allowed to prescribe again.

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Dr Henry Mannings, who founded the Wymondham-based Star Throwers cancer charity, was banned from prescribing medication outside the NHS after a complaint was made about him in November.

An Interim Orders Panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Services imposed the ban while he was being investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC).

The investigation will now continue – but on Monday, as reported in the EDP, a further panel meeting revoked the order.

Dr Mannings said yesterday that the complaint related to two patients who were told no other treatment was available for them.

“They came to me because they were looking for further treatment,” he said.

Dr Mannings, who has worked in oncology for more than 10 years, said he uses an anti-angiogenic treatment, which is often used to treat arthritis, to stop the blood vessels in the tumour from growing.

He said that though it was not a standard treatment for cancer in this country, there was published evidence saying it was effective.

Dr Mannings is alleged to have given chemotherapy without authorisation to two patients, Rachel Lane, 27, and Thelma Dowsett, 78, who both died last October. Their families have made no complaint about Dr Mannings or Star Throwers.

He said that in both cases the patients benefited from the anti-angiogenic treatment.

“It lengthens peoples’ lives but because the dose is so low, they don’t get the side effects. They live longer with a good quality of life,” he added.

An Interim Orders Panel in Manchester in public on Monday revoked the order banning him from prescribing.

A statement issued by the GMC after the hearing said: ”The panel has taken into account the principle of proportionality and balanced the need to protect members of the public and the public interest against the consequences for you of the imposition of conditions on your registration. It considers that an interim order could have a serious impact on you and the patients in your care and the risk posed does not justify these consequences.”

It said Dr Mannings was not a risk to the public.

Speaking about the decision, Dr Mannings said: “I am feeling relieved and happy especially from the patients’ point of view. We can now start treating patients who had to stop.”

Treatment stopped on six patients while investigations were under way and Dr Mannings said their conditions had got worse.

“We are now getting back to normal. It has been a very stressful time for me. The only reason I have survived this is through the fantastic support from people – around 3,000 signed a petition “

Star Throwers was set up by Dr Mannings in 2009, who served as a GP for 33 years, and as a doctor of oncology at the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.

He established the charity in frustration at the lack of support for people living with cancer.

He began offering advice to patients in his own home five years ago and created the dedicated centre when the Windmill Surgery in Wymondham relocated.

The charity has helped more than 400 cancer sufferers and carers since its formation.

Dr Mannings added: “The investigation is ongoing and I feel that long-term there is going to be a great outcome.

“The GMC has to gather all the information and evidence relevant to the complaint. Once they have got it all, there will be a review. The process can take up to 18 months.”

Star Throwers’ general manager, Steven Ho, said: “We are delighted at this common sense outcome as we can now go back to work giving the best service we possibly can to our patients and continue our important work looking after people affected by cancer.”

lucy.wright@archant.co.uk

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