High Court directs suspension of doctor
Posted on 18th May 2020 at 20:48
Doctor told Medical Council there was no problem with his work despite alleged failures
A doctor who told the Medical Council there had been no problem with his work here when his employment by two hospitals had been terminated within the previous year has been suspended from the medical register pending further order.
Dr Aamir Iqbal Malik told the council in May 2018 there had been no problem with his work over the past year when in fact his employment at Kerry University Hospital had been terminated the previous month, High Court president Mr Justice Peter Kelly noted.
Dr Malik was employed at the Kerry hospital from October 2017 to April 2018 when his employment was terminated due to two alleged failures by him to answer calls to attend to urgent deliveries of infants in distress, it was stated.
A review group headed by Dr Peter Boylan had also interviewed the doctor in October 2017 concerning an incident involving one of his patients at Cavan General Hospital.
Mr Justice Kelly said he was “extremely concerned”, despite the council’s knowledge in May 2018 Dr Malik had been struck off the UK medical register over dishonesty in how he conducted his practice, it appeared not to have made inquiries about his assertion he had no problem in his employment here over the previous 12 months.
The council should provide an explanation to the court as to what, if any, steps it had taken to check out the doctor’s assertion, he directed.
Brian Ormond, solicitor for the council, said its decision in May 2018 not to seek to suspend Dr Malik was based on a range of materials and documents, including references, and not the doctor’s assertion. It was reasonable for the court to say, had the council known of the issues at the Kerry and Cavan hospitals, it would have sought suspension and he would make further inquiries in line with the judge’s direction, Mr Ormond said.
Following a council meeting last week arising from learning of Dr Malik’s employment having been terminated in the two hospitals, it wanted his suspension pending an inquiry.
Earlier on Monday, the judge ordered the council’s application for suspension, brought under section 60 of the Medical Practitioners Act, should be heard in public. That was necessary to ensure maximum protection for members of the public and prospective employers of the doctor, he said.
Dr Malik, a native of Pakistan, with an address at Staincliffe, Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, was not in court and was not represented but the judge was told of efforts to serve him at the English address and by email.
In his ruling, the judge noted Dr Malik, qualified as a doctor in Pakistan in 1989 and came onto the medical register here in 2002. He had been struck off the medical register in the UK in 2018 for professional misconduct based on findings of dishonesty in how he conducted his practice as a doctor there.
An inquiry found, while he was working at a hospital as a specialist register in obstetrics/gynaecology, he falsified records concerning his dealings with a woman, who was 41 weeks pregnant and whose baby was delivered stillborn, so as to suggest he had recommended she be reviewed at more regular intervals.
It also found he failed to meet a requirement to show to any prospective employer a letter, known as an exclusion letter, setting out those findings. No finding of misconduct was made concerning allegations about his clinical practice and the strike off was made on the basis his fitness to practice was impaired as result of the dishonesty findings.
In May 2018, the Medical Council held a hearing, attended by Dr Malik, to consider whether he should be suspended from the register here arising from the UK matters. The doctor opposed suspension and asserted he had worked for a year here with no problem.
Mr Justice Kelly said he was “quite certain”, had the council known the “true picture” at the May 8th meeting, it would have applied for suspension then. He was quite satisfied, on the evidence before the court, the doctor should have his registration suspended pending further order, he directed.
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