A UK oncologist, Justin Stebbing, faces possible striking off or suspension from the medical register next month after a tribunal concluded that his fitness to practise was impaired.
Justin Stebbing, a professor of cancer medicine and oncology at Imperial College London who also has a private practice in Harley Street, faced charges that he overtreated cancer patients at the end of their lives.
The Evening Standard reported that Professor Stebbing also castigated himself for “utter stupidity” and said there was “no excuse” for inappropriate emails he sent a vulnerable patient who he nicknamed “LMT” (Little Miss Trouble). However, he said he believed he never harmed a patient and said his aim was “full remediation going forwards” and a desire to “return to safe practice”.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service found on Monday that Professor Stebbing’s fitness to practise was “impaired” as a result of misconduct. A sample of 12 cases included claims that he over-treated patients dying from cancer, including at times when further treatment was futile. There were also claims he failed to obtain full consent for treatment.
In his reflective statement, Professor Stebbing said:
“It is abundantly clear I had too cavalier an attitude in some cases. Most of these patients had received treatment before and did not want a no-treatment option and came to me on that basis.
“There was no malice, and I always acted in accordance with what I thought were the best interests of the patients. I accept I misjudged the best interests of the patients here.
“I have conceded I have fallen on the wrong side of a very finely balanced and very thin line, however well-intentioned I was at the time.”
The MPTS will hold a further hearing to decide what sanctions, if any, to impose on Professor Stebbing.
These could range from a warning or retaining conditions currently placed on his working practices in the NHS, to suspension or being struck off the medical register.