Medical Mistake Claims - Simpson Millar LLP

'Fake' Doctor Allegedly Worked as GP in England

Author: Neil Fearn  Bullet  Dated: 19/03/2015

A woman has been charged with fraud after allegedly pretending to be a doctor at GP practices across the country. The suspected bogus medic is said to have posed as a locum to fill in for GPs at surgeries in Liverpool, Essex and the South East as well as a prison in the south of England. She is believed to have seen a total of 92 patients. The GMC said all employers had an obligation to carry out pre-employment checks to ensure their doctors are qualified and competent to carry out the duties they are being given.


What should employers check before they employ a doctor?

  1. Registration and Licensing

    By law, doctors need to be registered with a 'licence to practise' to practise medicine in the UK. Employers must make sure that doctors they employ have the appropriate registration for their type of post or practice, and have a licence to practise.
  2. Pre-Employment Checks

    Employers must check that a doctor is both registered and holds a licence to practise with the GMC.
  3. Specialists and GPs

    Doctors appointed as consultants or GPs must also be on the GMC Specialist or GP register.

Checking a Doctor's Identity

A registration certificate, proof of entry on the register letter, or confirmation that a doctor is registered with a licence to practise with the GMC is not proof of a doctor's identity. The GMC states that employers must make their own identity checks when they employ a doctor, for example by asking for the original passport or an original EEA identity card. They must not rely on an Agency to do this; it is the employer’s duty.

NHS England, who are assisting police with inquires, said they were conducting urgent clinical reviews into the matter. Joyce Robins of Patient Concern said she was 'appalled' by the allegations.

How was it possible for a 'fake' doctor to allegedly secure a job as a General Practitioner in England in 2015?

One is ultimately left with an unpalatable and very worrying question – were the standard procedures which employers of doctors are expected to follow observed in this case?

This incident has potentially much wider ramifications if basic standards are breached, it raises the question as to whether doctors who do not have a license to practise medicine in the UK, are also be being employed in other National Health Service facilities. The law requires that these protocols are strictly followed and patients quite rightly demand this too. Patients must be able to feel reassured that they are being cared for and treated by staff who are who they claim to be.

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