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HomeUK NewsNHS doctor suspended for treating private patients illegally during pandemic

NHS doctor suspended for treating private patients illegally during pandemic

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A British Indian physician responsible for managing numerous coronavirus admissions has been suspended for secretly attending to private patients during NHS hours amid the pandemic’s peak.

Dr Enson Thomas, 58, was found to have treated private patients while on NHS shifts without authorisation, reported the MailOnline.

Originally appointed as the ‘Covid-19 Lead’ by an NHS trust, Dr Thomas was responsible for working extended hours across two busy hospitals during the crisis. However, it was revealed that he has left his NHS shifts to treat 38 private patients at a chest clinic.

The misconduct hearing also disclosed that over a span of 19 months, from 2019 to 2021, Dr Thomas improperly utilised NHS resources for his private practice, including stationery and postage stamps.

During the investigation, Dr Thomas’s secretary revealed that he had forced her into favouring his private practice over attending to NHS patients.

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The physician had worked at four BUPA hospitals including one facility in London’s Harley Street in the past.

Despite his contract permitting time for private work, Dr Thomas was found to have treated patients privately during his NHS shifts, particularly those suffering from asbestos-related illnesses.

Following a hearing at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, Dr Thomas was found guilty of serious professional misconduct and suspended from practicing for two months.

Despite being cleared of pressuring his secretary into aiding his private practice, he faces a review later this year, with expectations of returning to work after the suspension period.

Dr. Thomas, a consultant for nearly 21 years, resides in Bromham, near Bedford, and served as a church elder. He was appointed as the Covid-19 Lead by Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, where he played a significant role in managing Covid-related admissions during the pandemic.

His secretary recounted being instructed not to discuss his private work, despite warnings from the trust’s senior operations manager.

Dr Thomas persistently disregarded these warnings, asserting that as long as NHS work wasn’t compromised, there wouldn’t be any issues, the tribunal heard.

In his defense, the NHS doctor admitted to treating private patients during his lunch breaks but acknowledged the impropriety of doing so during contracted NHS hours, expressing remorse for his actions.

While Dr Thomas denied pressuring his secretary into performing private work during NHS hours, he acknowledged being aware of it, attributing it to reduced secretarial duties during the pandemic.

Panel chairman Paul Moulder, in announcing the suspension, emphasised the testimonials highlighting Dr Thomas’s significant and committed contributions during the pandemic.

However, he stressed that these commendations must be weighed against the severity of his misconduct in treating private patients during NHS shifts.

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