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GP Michael Wain at Estuary View Medical Centre in Whitstable suspended for prescribing drugs to friend

A GP with almost 50 years’ experience has been suspended for unlawfully prescribing sleeping pills to a friend.

Dr Michael Wain used an old prescription pad he had in his wallet to issue the tablets to a woman “going through a very difficult patch in her life”.

He was investigated after it emerged the pad was from the Estuary View Medical Centre in Whitstable, where Dr Wain worked until retiring in 2015.

Dr Michael Wain
Dr Michael Wain

But the 71-year-old chose not to appear before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), deeming the offence to be a “seemingly petty matter”.

The panel was told Dr Wain - who now works occasionally as a locum GP in Canterbury - prescribed zopiclone and omeprazole pills to his friend during a trip to London.

One is used to treat insomnia and the other stomach acid.

Dr Wain admitted he used an old pad from Estuary View which he had in his wallet, with his actions only coming to light when the woman tried to collect the pills in Norfolk.

“As my retirement is very close now, I feel a certain philosophical detachment regarding the planned deliberations...” Dr Wain

Dr Richard Brice, from Estuary View, filed a complaint and Dr Wain was put under investigation by the General Medical Council (GMC).

Dr Wain, who described his actions as “foolish” and a “matter of regret”, began his medical career in 1972 and became a partner at Estuary View - then the Whitstable Medical Practice - in 1980.

He had a previously unblemished career.

Apologising for not attending the hearing, he said: “I feel this would be a stressful experience that would probably prove of little gain to me. The main reason for non attendance of course is that, at 71 years of age, I am at the end of a long career in medicine - which has been unblemished until the recent incident in question.

Estuary View Medical Centre, Wraik Hill, Whitstable. Picture: Chris Davey
Estuary View Medical Centre, Wraik Hill, Whitstable. Picture: Chris Davey

“As my retirement is very close now, I feel a certain philosophical detachment regarding the planned deliberations.”

The panel also heard Dr Wain had failed to declare he was under investigation at an employment appraisal in 2018.

He stated he had “nothing to declare” in relation to “suspensions, restrictions on practice or being subject to an investigation of any kind”. He also declared that he had not been subject to any complaints in the last year.

Dr Wain maintained it had been his intention “all along” to detail the investigation at a later date.

"At no stage has he admitted dishonesty..." Richard Tutt

The GMC branded Dr Wain’s explanations for the omissions as “troubling” and “surprising”.

The panel - presided over by Richard Tutt - found him to have acted dishonestly.

On determining the outcome,The MPTS’ decision document states: “In respect of the level of insight Dr Wain has shown into his misconduct, its seriousness, and its consequences, the tribunal was of the view that Dr Wain has shown only very limited insight. At no stage has he admitted dishonesty and he has, on several different occasions, sought to minimise the seriousness of his actions.”

The six-month medical register suspension order comes into force 28 days after Dr Wain is issued with the notice.

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