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Oncologist who treated Sir Michael Parkinson gave inappropriate treatment, tribunal finds

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Oncologist who treated Sir Michael Parkinson, called ‘God’ and ‘Dr Hope’ by his grateful patients, gave inappropriate treatment to people who died of cancer, tribunal finds

  • Professor Justin Stebbing has treated Lynda Bellingham and Michael Parkinson
  • But a tribunal found the oncologist guilty of not providing good clinical care
  • In total, 33 of the 36 counts he faced have now been declared formally proven
  • ‘Dr Hope’, 50, admitted to a litany of failures involving 12 patients at a tribunal










A top oncologist nicknamed “God” by grateful patients was on the cusp of a career yesterday after a tribunal found he had inappropriately treated a series of terminally ill cancer patients.

Professor Justin Stebbing, who has treated stars including ‘Oxo Mum’ actress Lynda Bellingham and Sir Michael Parkinson, was nicknamed ‘Dr Hope’ for treating patients who had been told they were beyond help.

But during a marathon disciplinary hearing set up after a whistleblower raised concerns about his private practice, the 50-year-old admitted he had a litany of failures involving 12 patients.

Yesterday a panel of the tribunal found the Oxford-trained doctor guilty of three remaining charges of failing to provide proper clinical care, and a further three have not been fully proven.

Oxford-trained professor Justin Stebbing (pictured), who treated stars like Lynda Bellingham and Sir Michael Parkinson, was found guilty of failing to provide good clinical care

It means that a total of 33 of the 36 counts he faced have now been formally proven.

The outcome will seriously damage his reputation and send shockwaves through the UK oncology community and the wider medical community.

Stebbing is a professor of cancer medicine and oncology at Imperial College and had a lucrative private practice on Harley Street.

But after concerns were raised about his work at London’s top clinic, Leaders in Oncology Care, an anonymous whistleblower sent a file to the General Medical Council in 2017.

A Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing that began in January last year was told he was facing charges including providing inappropriate medication to keep terminally ill patients alive and giving ‘unrealistic expectations’ in circumstances from ‘almost meaningless’.

The court heard him tell a dying patient’s daughter that her father was a “very sick rabbit” but that he would “make him a lot better.” When he died a month later, his daughter asked him about the comment.

The outcome will seriously damage his reputation and send shockwaves through the UK oncology community.  Pictured: Sir Michael Parkinson, whom he treated for prostate cancer

The outcome will seriously damage his reputation and send shockwaves through the UK oncology community. Pictured: Sir Michael Parkinson, whom he treated for prostate cancer

Stebbing is said to have shrugged and told her that 40 percent of his patients died.

When another staff member questioned the patient’s treatment, he is said to have told her, “He’s f***ed anyway, so whether we give it or not, he’s going to die.”

Other charges that were acknowledged or proven related to his failure to obtain informed consent by not discussing the risks and benefits of treatment with patients and failing to maintain proper records.

Providing evidence, Stebbing said his private patients were “usually highly motivated to maximize their survival and quality of life,” although he admitted he was not very good at giving a “very accurate” prognosis.

He was not accused that his actions were financially motivated.

The panel is expected to provide the reasons for its findings today.

It will now decide whether Stebbing’s fitness to practice has been compromised and what penalties, if any, he will face. This may include turning it off.

Stebbing will continue to do “a small amount of clinical work” under the supervision of Imperial College, a spokesman said.

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