Denis practises in the highly specialist area of professional fitness to practise and compliance, particularly concerning healthcare professionals involved with the General Pharmaceutical Council, the General Optical Council and the Nursing & Midwifery Council. He retired as a partner in the firm in April 2017 and now advises as a consultant.
With clients ranging from the large pharmacy chains and representative bodies to individuals, Denis has vast experience advising on healthcare regulation and regularly represents clients in investigations and proceedings before regulators’ Investigating and Fitness to Practice Committees, including in Interim Order proceedings.
Denis has also advised healthcare professionals at inquests following the deaths of patients and in other regulatory matters concerning production and restraint orders, as well as confiscation and asset recovery proceedings. He also advises clients involved in Police, NHS Counter Fraud and MHRA investigations as well as in prosecutions before the Courts.
As a litigator and with his background in civil and criminal law, Denis has the experience and skills to deal with complex cases which have included
R v PD – the pharmacist client was charged with gross negligence manslaughter following the death of a patient to whom he had dispensed the wrong strength of morphine sulfate. The dispensing error was admitted, but not gross negligence. Expert evidence supported our client’s case that it was not the dispensing error that had caused the patient’s death, but the patient’s terminal cancer. The client was acquitted and as there were no alternative Medicines Act charges, he was not convicted of any offence. In subsequent fitness to practice proceedings, we persuaded the regulator that a warning was appropriate.
R v MP – our pharmacist client failed on final checking to notice that a supply of warfarin was the wrong strength which a dispenser had ordered for that patient. The patient, in a care home, subsequently died and the pharmacist was interviewed under caution for gross negligence manslaughter. After a lengthy inquest, the verdict was accidental death, not an unlawful killing. The pharmacist was consequently prosecuted and admitted an offence under the Medicines Act resulting in a fine. Again in subsequent fitness to practice proceedings, we persuaded the regulator that a warning was appropriate.
GPhC v Anon – our client who was suffering from depression had attempted suicide with a drug taken from his dispensary resulting in him being admitted to hospital for a period. On advice he consented to an Interim Suspension Order being made preventing him from practicing whilst he recovered. On recovery, with supportive psychiatric evidence and practising arrangements, we applied for the Order to be replaced with an Interim Conditional Suspension Order which was granted enabling him to return to conditional practice. At the principal FTPC he was again allowed to continue to practise subject to conditions.
GPhC v SO – following a complaint by a female dispenser of inappropriate behaviour towards her by a male locum pharmacist in supermarket chain’s pharmacy, the pharmacist’s future engagements were cancelled by the supermarket who then made a complaint to the regulator. We presented the pharmacist’s case to the FTPC on the basis that the supermarket’s eventual investigation was inadequate and that the complainant dispenser gave inconsistent accounts of what had occurred, particularly in view of CCTV evidence. Our representations resulted in an application being made for the referral to the FTPC being rescinded which was granted. Whereas the pharmacist’s name could have been erased from the register, ultimately he was issued with an advice.
Denis is a trustee of the Mind in Mid Herts charity. He is also a member of the:
- Law Society
- Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers
- Pharmacy Law and Ethic Association
Denis Keegan's news
June 2016 A recent Crown Court case provides a stark reminder of the serious potential consequences for company directors who are found in breach of health and safety legislation. In…
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has recently published an open letter providing guidance to PR and marketing companies on online reviews and endorsements of consumer products and services. This…
The Sweett Group plc became the first company to be convicted under section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010. Sweett pleaded guilty to failing to prevent an act of bribery…
The service and kind consideration I received from Denis Keegan was exemplary and could simply not be improved. I am so grateful.