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Disgraced GP: bid for more evidence

EVIDENCE is now being gathered in preparation for an independent inquiry looking at how the NHS handled complaints about disgraced Cheriton GP Clifford Ayling.

Former patients of the doctor, who was jailed for four years in December 2000 for 13 counts of sexual assault against 10 women between 1991 and 1998, are still being urged to come forward, as is anyone connected to the case.

Anna Pauffley QC is chairing the investigation and will explore how protests about Ayling's unorthodox and degrading practices, which stretch back 10 years, appear to have been ignored.

Most notably, the panel will look at how Ayling was allowed to continue practising at his surgery for two years after his arrest.

He has since been struck off the medical register and declared bankrupt following a successful compensation case by 16 of his victims.

Patients of the former GP went to the high court to ask for the inquiry to be held in public. This was refused and evidence will be taken in private, but they will be able to attend the proceedings at a venue in Folkestone with the benefit of legal representation throughout. Their solicitor is Sarah Harman. A date has not yet been set.

Mrs Pauffley said: "We want to hear from former patients and others who are not already known to us who have information that will help the inquiry. Confidentiality will be assured, but our findings and recommendations will be published."

The inquiry office can be contacted on 0207 972 2400 or by freephone 0800 389 7495. Write to Pauline Fox from the inquiry team at Sixth Floor, Hannibal House, Elephant and Castle, London, SE1 6TE or freepost to The Inquiry Office, Freepost, LON17796, London SW1P 3YU. E-mail Pauline.fox@3inquiries.org or John.miller@3inquiries.org

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