News 16 May 2019

MPTS yet to agree new date for Dr. Freeman hearing

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has yet to agree a new hearing date with Dr. Richard Freeman, after a previous misconduct hearing was adjourned. The MPTS began its hearing into allegations of malpractice by the former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor on 6 February, however Dr. Freeman failed to appear and his legal representatives called for an adjournment, which was granted on 5 March.

‘We continue to liaise with both the GMC [General Medical Council] and Dr. Freeman’s legal representatives about their preparations for the case, and remain in close contact with parties as part of the ongoing case management process’, wrote an MPTS spokesperson in an email. ‘We do not confirm hearing dates until a notice of hearing has been issued to the doctor. This usually takes place no later than 28 days before the start of the hearing.’

The MPTS is due to examine allegations that Dr. Freeman inappropriately provided medical treatment to non-athlete members of staff at British Cycling and Team Sky. It will also examine Dr. Freeman’s failure to maintain an adequate record management system of treatment administered, which meant that records on a laptop stolen from him on 27/28 August 2014 could not be retrieved.

GMC Guidance requires doctors to make records ‘at the time the events happen, or as soon as possible afterwards’. It also requires doctors to store patient records securely. ‘If you are responsible for the management of patient records or other patient information, you should make sure that they are held securely and that any staff you manage are trained and understand their responsibilities’, reads GMC guidance on confidentiality. ‘You should make use of professional expertise when selecting and developing systems to record, access and send electronic data’.

Ahead of the February MPTS hearing, BBC Sport obtained an email exchange between Dr. Freeman and a medical supply company. The 18 October 2011 email was sent five months after Dr. Freeman ordered 30 sachets of Testogel on 16 May 2011 from Fit4Sport Limited to delivery to the Manchester Velodrome. It is alleged that on 18 May 2011, Dr. Freeman made false statements denying ordering Testogel, advising Team Sky’s Dr. Steve Peters that the order had been made in error. 

The full details of the allegations against Dr. Freeman are set out in this article. Many of them stem from a single, anonymous, witness who provided information to the Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) Committee of the UK Parliament, for its Combatting Doping in Sport Report, which concluded that it ‘believed’ that British Cycling and Team Sky had abused the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) system to improve the performance of key athletes.

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