Published: 16/09/2004, Volume II4, No. 5923 Page 5

The catalogue of indecent assaults carried out by GP Clifford Ayling could not go undetected in today's NHS, the trust at the centre of the scandal has reassured.

Speaking after the independent inquiry into how the NHS handled allegations against the doctor, convicted on 12 counts of indecent assault against acute trust patients, East Kent Hospitals trust chief executive David Astley said systems were in place to ensure repeated cases of abuse could no longer unchecked.

Chief among them are common clinical governance between primary and secondary care, patient advice and liaison services and whistleblowing policies, he said.

Mr Astley said: 'While we can never rule out further criminal acts happening... I am confident we now have the systems and practices in place that will not allow a catalogue of offences to build up over many years in primary and secondary care unchecked.'

The government has also published the findings of the inquiry into how the NHS handled allegations into Richard Neale, employed as a consultant in Yorkshire, despite being struck off in Canada, which called for better checks on past employment.

The Department of Health said it would provide a detailed response later this year.