Published: 12/09/2002, Volume II2, No. 5822 Page 8

Junior health minister Lord Hunt has announced that Anna Pauffley QC will chair an independent inquiry into how the NHS handled allegations about the conduct of former GP Clifford Ayling.Dr Ayling, a GP from Folkestone, Kent, was convicted in December 2000 of carrying out indecent assaults on women patients.He was sent to prison for four years and last year struck off the medical register.

Ms Pauffley will be supported by Peter Berman, honourary secretary of the National Association of Lay People in Primary Care and Mary Whitty, former chief executive of Brent and Harrow health authority.Between 1997 and 1998, Ms Pauffley represented more than 100 witnesses before the North Wales Tribunal of Inquiry into the abuse of children in care.

Pauline Fox, 0207-340 0970.