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Alderney Doctor Investigation Media Release 5

Alderney doctor investigation - 10th July 2015 - statement from Chief of Police Patrick Rice

 

MEDIA STATEMENT

Statement from Guernsey Police Chief Patrick Rice:

'To start I think it would be useful for me to reaffirm the background to this investigation, which began three months ago, and the process undertaken leading up to today's briefing.

'Guernsey Police received a referral at the end of March in which serious concerns were raised regarding the deaths of patients under the care of an Alderney doctor.

'An investigation was launched and action taken to secure any potential evidence. A significant amount of medical records were seized but no arrests were made.

'It was clear to us that we needed to engage an experienced medical practitioner who was independent and had the prerequisite expertise in relevant fields of medicine. An eminent UK consultant in palliative medicine and end of life care was commissioned and asked to review the files involved in this case.

'We have been in regular contact with the independent expert throughout and received his final report in mid-June. As I confirmed during our last update to islanders, this advice was being considered and further lines of enquiry being pursued as a result.

'So...that is a short broad-brush overview of what has been a complex and detailed investigation.

'It also brings us to today's briefing.

'Taking the independent expert's report into account, alongside the results of other lines of enquiry pursued by officers during this investigation, I am now in a position to confirm that we have found no evidence of criminality on the part of the doctor in question.

'As such the police investigation has ceased with immediate effect.

'However, while there is no longer a criminal investigation ongoing, my understanding is that the doctor in question remains suspended by the General Medical Council and their regulatory investigation continues.

'Should the GMC find, during the course of their regulatory investigation, anything which causes them concern in a criminal context, they are of course able to refer the matter back to us. But to re-iterate, following our investigation into concerns raised over the deaths of four patients, we have found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

'I would like to take this opportunity to explain in further detail some of the circumstances surrounding this investigation - an investigation of which I am well aware has caused significant distress to the doctor in question, the families of those who died and the wider Alderney community.

'Upon receiving such a referral, police are left with no alternative but to fully investigate - our responsibilities regarding the preservation of life and protection of the public are clear. However, I have been consistent in that our investigation would be as expeditious as possible while ensuring it is carried out with diligence.

'While three months will undoubtedly have felt a long time for those involved, I can assure them that it qualifies as expeditious when considering the complexities involved from an investigatory perspective.

'Throughout, we have taken a methodical approach, something I said was important so that everyone concerned in this - including members of the public - could have confidence in our findings.

'We will always go where the evidence takes us, and on this occasion it has led us to this conclusion.'

 

ENDS

Issued by Joel de Woolfson, Communications Manager for Law Enforcement, telephone number 719451