Celebrated Blackpool GP struck off for ‘deplorable’ conduct

Dr Jerome Kerrane
Dr Jerome Kerrane
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A Blackpool doctor who was once celebrated as a leading medical researcher has been struck off for serious misconduct.

Dr Jerome Kerrane, formerly of the Layton Medical Centre, enrolled ineligible patients into clinical trials, falsified medical reports, and lied about practice nurses at the medical centre between 2007 and 2015.

A tribunal, which took place in Manchester last week, found that Dr Kerrane enrolled 14 ineligible patients into clinical trials he conducted on behalf of pharmaceutical company Novartis between 2007 and 2015.

The GP, who joined the medical centre in 2005, was a chief investigator at Fylde Coast Clinical Research Ltd.

In 2015 he was invited to a special event at BMA House in London, the home of the British Medical Association, after “personally driving” the research agenda within the NHS.

But the Medical Practioners Tribunal Service heard how Dr Kerrane ‘abused his position of trust’ to enrol ineligible patients in clinical trials, sometimes for his own benefit.

One man, known as Patient A, was entered by Dr Kerrane into a clinical trial for people with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease that required participants to be current or ex-smokers who had smoked either 20 cigarettes a day for 10 years, or 10 cigarettes a day for 20 years.

In February 2014, Dr Kerrane wrote in NHS medical records that the patient was an ex-smoker.

However, Patient A had no history of smoking.

A further 13 patients were similarly enrolled by Dr Kerrane in clinical trials they should not have qualified for because of their medical history.

In September 2014, he told Novartis that practice nurses at Layton Medical Centre had informed him that they had issued ventolin inhalers from the practice’s stock to Patients B and C, when this was not the case.

In October 2014, he changed existing NHS medical reports to back up his false claims.

Later that month, he falsely wrote in NHS records that nurses had also provided a ventolin inhaler to Patient D.

In June 2015, in an email sent to Novartis, he requested that the chief investigation fee for a clinical trial be paid into his personal bank account instead of the Fylde Coast’s bank account.

Taking on board mitigating factors, the tribunal heard how Dr Kerrane had no evidence of previous misconduct and no harm had come to his patients.

A report read: “Dr Kerrane is described as a clinically competent practitioner and is popular with patients and colleagues.”

However, it added: “Dr Kerrane’s dishonest actions were serious departures from the principles of Good Medical Practice and the professional standards that members of the profession must uphold.

The Tribunal considered that members of the public would be rightly appalled by the knowledge that a medical practitioner had abused his position of trust by enrolling ineligible patients in a clinical trial, making false entries in patient records, and dishonestly requesting payment be made to him, rather than to Fylde Coast.

“Dr Kerrane’s conduct would be regarded as deplorable by fellow practitioners as well as by members of the public.

“Further, no evidence of sufficient insight into his dishonest behaviour has been provided by Dr Kerrane.”

The partners at Layton Medical Centre said: “Dr Jerome Kerrane left Layton Medical Centre in 2015 and his malpractice was discovered soon after. Our clinical team immediately informed the appropriate authorities with our concerns and have assisted with the investigations.

“As a practice we pride ourselves on honesty and integrity and we are satisfied with the outcome of the General Medical Council tribunal.”