Published: 06/12/2001, Volume III, No. 5784 Page 9

An inquiry into management systems at University Hospitals of Leicester trust is being launched following a damning report into the actions of its consultant paediatrician, Dr Andrew Holton.

The trust has already apologised after admitting that Dr Holton - who was suspended on full pay in June - could have misdiagnosed epilepsy or over-prescribed drugs for 170 children.

A report published last week by the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health said Dr Holton was inadequately trained and his work may have gone unchecked for up to a decade.

It found that Dr Holton, who denies any wrong-doing, was working in professional isolation.

The precise terms of the proposed inquiry into systems failure at the trust have yet to be made public, but it is understood it will focus on why Dr Holton's activities were not picked up earlier and is expected to report back in six months when the findings will be published.

Dr Holton's future hangs in the balance. The RCPCH report will be sent to the General Medical Council, which will fasttrack his case.

And although the report suggested that he could be retrained, that recommendation has not been accepted by the trust itself.

A spokesman said that a third independent inquiry will be launched to investigate complaints by staff and relatives about Dr Holton's behaviour during investitations.