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Dr Heather Steen to be removed from medical register

A senior doctor is to be removed from the medical register after she was found to have attempted to cover-up the circumstances of a young girl's death.

Paediatrics consultant Dr Heather Steen was found to be unfit to practise after an investigation into the death of nine-year-old Claire Roberts in 1996.

A medical tribunal examining the doctor's case ruled that the majority of allegations against her were true.

Claire's mother said it was "just the start of getting full justice".

"I am angry at Dr Steen for putting us through 26 years of mental torment," said Jennifer Roberts.

At the time of Claire's death, her parents were told she had a viral infection that had spread from her stomach to her brain.

But in 2018 a public inquiry determined that she had died from an overdose of fluids and medication caused by negligent care at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

The inquiry also concluded there had been "cover up" and the girl's death had not been referred to the coroner immediately to "avoid scrutiny".

The case was then put to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), which rules on doctors' fitness to practise.

When the case reached the tribunal stage Dr Steen twice applied to be voluntarily removed from the medical register and was twice refused. Had that been successful the tribunal would have been halted as she would no longer have been a doctor.

However the tribunal continued and examined allegations that between October 1996 and May 2006 Dr Steen "knowingly and dishonestly carried out several actions to conceal the true circumstances" of Claire.

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Source: BBC News, 11 November 2022


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