[This is the headline over a report in today's edition of The Sunday Telegraph. It reads in part:]
Dr Peter Kay, who until now has only been identified by the Scottish Government as an unnamed "primary care physician" of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi's, provided a crucial medical report which led to the conclusion that the prisoner was likely to have three months, or less, to live. (...)
This newspaper can also disclose that American senators investigating Megrahi's release will this week launch an unprecedented request for British "whistle-blowers" to disclose details about the decision to free the Lockerbie bomber. The appeal is a remarkable sign of US-British rifts as it indicates that US investigators do not believe they are obtaining the full story from politicians in London and Edinburgh. (...)
Dr Kay, the prison doctor, when approached at his home in Scotland, initially denied that he was formerly the doctor at HM Prison Greenock, where Megrahi was serving his life sentence. However, he later said: "You'll be aware of the hypocratic [sic] oath [on patient confidentiality]? I just can't say anything."
The GP was a key contributor to medical evidence supplied to Dr Andrew Fraser, the director of health and care of the Scottish Prison Service, who in turn drew up the report upon which Mr MacAskill's decision was reached.
Dr Kay trained at Glasgow University and became a qualified doctor in 1998. During his time at Greenock Prison, which ended earlier this year, he is understood to have combined his role as the part-time prison doctor with work as a local GP.
According to the General Medical Council, which contains information on all qualified doctors, he has been registered as a GP since 2006 and he is not on any specialist register. (...)
A spokesman for the Scottish Government refused to confirm that Dr Kay was the prison doctor involved in the assessment. However, he said: "It was Dr Andrew Fraser, Director of Health and Care of the Scottish Prison Service, who concluded in his report to the Cabinet Secretary for Justice that his clinical assessment was that a three month prognosis was a reasonable estimate.
"Dr Fraser is a professional of unimpeachable integrity. It was his professional responsibility to provide the clinical assessment of al-Megrahi's condition, and his report, which has been published by the Scottish Government, was the only medical report submitted to the Justice Secretary – along with the reports of the Parole Board and Prison Governor, which also supported a compassionate release decision.
"Dr Fraser drew on expert advice from a number of cancer specialists in coming to his clinical assessment that a three month prognosis was a reasonable estimate for al-Megrahi – it was not based on the opinion of any one doctor.
"These specialists included two consultant oncologists, two consultant urologists and a number of other specialists, including a palliative care team, and Mr al-Megrahi's primary care physician."
[A report on the website of the Agence France Presse news agency headed "Experts not consulted over Lockerbie bomber's release" contains statements from certain of the consultants to the effect that Dr Andrew Fraser's three-month assessment was made without consultation with them. They state clearly, however, that they would not have given a prognosis of the length of Mr Megrahi's survival. As I have said on numerous occasions on this blog, that is precisely why estimating the length of a patient's survival is invariably a matter for his GP, reaching the best conclusion that he can on the basis of the consultants' reports. That is exactly what Drs Fraser and Kay appear to have done in this case.
Today's edition of The Observer runs an interview with the egregious Professor Karol Sikora, headed "Al-Megrahi's doctor: 'I just provided an opinion. Someone else let him go free'". An Associated Press news agency report also has extensive quotations from him. Professor Sikora's increasingly frantic attempts to distance himself are become tiresome. The Scottish Government has already stated clearly that his opinion, and that of the other specialists engaged by Libya, played no part in Kenny MacAskill's decision.
Incidentally, I give full marks to Dr Kay for sending doorstepping Telegraph journalists away with fleas in their ear. His reference to the Hippocratic oath is entirely to the point. I wonder whether the other doctors who are talking to journalists have heard of it or (unlike Telegraph reporters and sub-editors) can spell it.
A regular commentator on this blog has made a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about The Sunday Telegraph's disclosure of the identity of Dr Kay.]