Hospital doctor suspended from register for six months
Posted on 26th April 2021 at 22:17
Judge says ’wrongdoing’ carried out with ’with insight and knowledge’
A hospital doctor has been suspended from the medical register for six months by the High Court for failing to comply with the Medical Council’s professional competency requirements and providing untrue information to it indicating he had complied.
High Court president Ms Justice Mary Irvine said the “prolonged wrongdoing” by Dr Ali Abdellal Osman Hamad was “done with insight and knowledge” and went to the heart of patient safety and public confidence in the medical profession.
The fact no complaints were made against the doctor in relation to his clinical practice over the relevant years, 2011-2018, did not mean public safety was not imperilled, she said.
The public must be able to trust professionals will adhere to professional competence standards and the sanction must reflect the importance of professionals upholding standards of competence and trustworthiness, she said.
The judge made the remarks when confirming the suspension sanction sought by the Council, notwithstanding its Fitness to Practice Committee (FTPC) having recommended a lesser sanction of censure in writing, with conditions attached to his registration, including a stipulation that he comply in full with his professional competence requirements for 2020/21 and thereafter.
Because the doctor had not appealed the Council’s decision, the ex parte (one side only represented) application for the confirmation order was made on Monday under section 76 of the Medical Practitioners Act.
JP McDowell, of Fieldfisher Solicitors, for the Council, said Dr Hamad, with an address in Letterkenny, works as a registrar at Letterkenny University Hospital and has been registered in the council’s general division for most of the past 12 years.
Mr McDowell said doctors are obliged to maintain professional competency standards and to register under the competence scheme closest to their specialty. In Dr Hamad’s case, this was the scheme of the Royal College of General Practitioners. Practitioners had to obtain 50 CPT credits a year and to provide declarations of compliance with the scheme.
Dr Hamad was registered under the RCGP scheme in 2011/2012 and obtained 23 credits and registered in 2012/13 when he did not obtain any credits. He had not registered under the scheme in the subsequent years but, in four declarations, misrepresented the position.
An inquiry was ultimately held and the FTPC found the doctor breached the Act by not complying with the relevant professional competence requirements.
It also found him guilty of professional misconduct of a disgraceful/dishonourable nature over untrue information provided in declarations made in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017, each of which was inaccurate.
The council ultimately decided, at a meeting last month, to seek the suspension sanction. It considered the findings against the doctor were serious and that knowingly and repeatedly providing incorrect information relating to a registrant’s practice of medicine and their engagement in maintaining professional competence leading to the regulator being misled goes to patient safety.
It noted no issue had been raised regarding the doctor’s clinical practice. In all the circumstances, it decided the appropriate sanction was a six month suspension.
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