Baby P doctor to learn fate after fitness-to-practise hearing

A GP who failed to spot Baby P was suffering abuse eight days before the toddler’s death will learn today whether he is to be struck off.

Dr Jerome Ikwueke, 63, noted that the little boy had changed from his usual happy self, seemed “withdrawn” and pulled away when he saw him for the last time on July 26 2007.

The doctor breached his professional duty towards the child in not carrying out a full examination, making an urgent referral for further checks or sharing information with a health visitor or social workers, a General Medical Council panel ruled at an earlier hearing.

Baby P – now named as Peter Connelly – died in Tottenham, north London, eight days after the consultation. He was just 17 months old.

The GMC committee already found that Dr Ikwueke’s fitness to practise is impaired by his misconduct in Peter’s care.

It will announce at a hearing in central London today what sanction, if any, it is imposing on him.

Options open to the panel include striking the doctor off, suspending his registration temporarily and placing conditions on his registration.

As the family GP, Dr Ikwueke saw Peter at his north London surgery at least 14 times in the months before his death.

The GMC panel ruled there were “serious” failings to prioritise the toddler’s welfare in the doctor’s care.

Dr Ikwueke should have considered the possibility of child abuse when he noticed Peter had bruises on his chest and head at an appointment on October 13 2006, the panel found.

Instead he accepted a claim by the child’s mother that he had fallen downstairs at “face value”.

The GP also failed to mention these injuries when he referred Peter to hospital with further bruising two months later.

GMC panel chairman Judith Worthington told Dr Ikwueke at an earlier hearing: “Your failure towards Peter Connelly was not an isolated incident.

“It was a series of failures over a period of 10 months and included a number of serious breaches of your professional duty, culminating in your failings on July 26 2007 when Peter Connelly’s mother brought him to see you.

“On that day, his changed demeanour and appearance coupled with all that you knew about his past should have alerted you to the very high likelihood of serious child abuse so that urgent action by you was mandated.”

Dr Ikwueke, who qualified as a doctor in Nigeria and worked as a GP for nearly 20 years, denied misconduct.

He was supported at the disciplinary hearing by West Drayton-based GP Dr Anthony Grewal, who spoke of his “huge personal respect” for Dr Ikwueke and said he would have “no hesitation” in registering with him as a patient.

Peter suffered 50 injuries despite receiving 60 visits from social workers, doctors and police over the final eight months of his life.

His mother Tracey Connelly, her boyfriend Steven Barker, and his brother Jason Owen were jailed at the Old Bailey in May last year for causing or allowing his death.

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