Dr X was reported to NHS England in 2018 by a colleague, and following an investigation was then referred to the GMC. Concerns were raised about his record keeping; altering records and treating close family members, spanning over a period of 9 years and trying to conceal this. Dr X was referred to an MPT hearing for misconduct which resulted in him being suspended for a period of 12 months.
Dr X is a Senior General Practitioner (GP) and the CQC Registration Manager at his practice. He came to MDS for some advice as to whether he could undertake some work connected to these roles during his suspended period. Later, Dr X confirmed he was looking to work abroad in a medical capacity. He advised he speaks 6 languages so would like to explore the option of residing and working abroad for 12 months.
Dr X confirmed he had approached the foreign authorities who were content for Dr X to commence work abroad, but wanted to seek our assistance to check whether this move would need to be approved by the GMC.
MDS ADVICE AND OUTCOME
MDS collated a detailed advice letter to provide some information for Dr X to consider whilst working during the suspension period. MDS was in contact with the GMC to obtain some further clarification in relation to Dr X working overseas.
The GMC confirmed that although they do not have the jurisdiction to restrict Dr X’s practice in another country, the GMC expect Dr X to make a full disclosure of his investigation and suspension to the relevant medical regulatory authority and co-operate fully with a request for details as to who has been informed.
Considering this, MDS advised Dr X to do the following:
1. Provide full disclosure of his suspension to the foreign regulator before any work is commenced;
2. Inform the GMC of his intention to work in abroad in a medical capacity;
3. Confirm to the GMC that a full declaration of his suspension has been made to the foreign regulator;
4. Provide any additional details to the GMC on request.
Dr X is now successfully working abroad during his suspended period.
Suspension is an appropriate sanction to misconduct that is so serious that action must be taken to protect the public and maintain public confidence in the medical profession. A period of suspension will be appropriate for any conduct that falls short of being fundamentally incompatible with continued registration – the public’s safety and protecting the reputation of the profession is paramount. Suspension may also be considered appropriate where there has been acknowledgement of fault and where the Tribunal is satisfied that the behaviour/ incident is unlikely to be repeated. However, the Tribunal may wish to see evidence that the doctor has taken steps to mitigate their action.
Any suspension order imposed on the doctor’s registration will need to be reviewed regularly, and therefore a Review Hearing will take place. At this time, the order of suspension may be varied to other sanctions; such as an interim order of conditions or undertakings etc.