A high-profile oncologist, who has treated celebrities such as Sir Michael Parkinson, is being investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC) following concerns about his care methods. 

Prof Justin Stebbing, who is well-known for his controversial approach providing aggressive treatment for terminally ill patients, has had practicing privileges removed from certain clinics on London’s Harley Street. The UK’s largest private care provider, HCA, has told its patients that, as of September, they will no longer be able to receive treatment from Prof Stebbing. 

The HCA’s decision is believed to be as a result of findings that noted how Prof Stebbing had breached clinical governance guidelines that had been imposed on him following an earlier investigation.

"The practices of those working in private healthcare have been under the spotlight lately, particularly following the conviction of disgraced breast cancer surgeon Ian Paterson. Thompsons Solicitors is campaigning to make sure that the lawful and ethical treatment of patients always comes before profits."

Linda Millband
national lead lawyer of Thompsons Solicitors’ clinical negligence team

According to the Telegraph, letters it has seen from a whistle-blower to the GMC and Care Quality Commission (CQC), express concern about how the 'cancer surgeon' has asked patients to fund their own treatment with expensive drugs beyond his licence remit, including the immunotherapy drug commonly known as Keytruda. Other accusations include supervising chemotherapy treatments “outside his area of expertise” and a “gung-ho” approach to care. 

Prof Stebbing is still permitted to provide care, however it’s not known if he will be fired until the end of the investigation. 

Despite the allegations, which are ethical rather than criminal, many of Prof Stebbing’s clients have defended the surgeon’s practices and said the investigation has caused them “huge distress”. This includes New Zealand businessman Douglas Myers, who died in April, but had previously said he would take legal action against the HCA if they expelled the surgeon. Prof Stebbing denies any wrongdoing. 

Linda Millband, national lead lawyer of the clinical negligence team, said: “Prof Stebbing has built a reputation as a ‘last chance’ for many suffering with terminal cancer. However, it appears there are questions around the ethics of giving patients false hope.  

“The practices of those working in private healthcare have been under the spotlight lately, particularly following the conviction of disgraced breast cancer surgeon Ian Paterson. Thompsons Solicitors is campaigning to make sure that the lawful and ethical treatment of patients always comes before profits

“We will continue to monitor this investigation and our medical negligence specialists are here to advise anyone who has concerns about Professor Stebbing’s treatment.”