Just when the General Medical Council is considering more serious sanctions against doctors, this hits headlines. Doctors like this (BMJ2014;349:g5236) are the cause for the council to get tougher on rogue doctors. But, they bring not only shame on the rest of the medical fraternity, but also push most of us to practice defensive medicine to the detriment of our patients.
Dr Krishnamurthy Nulliah, a cosmetic surgeon at Harley Street, has been struck off from the register for using his skill to earn money rather than treat people. He has been found guilty of “subordinating his proper responsibilities as a doctor to the pursuit of a commercial enterprise.” He was running his practice as a vendor and corner shop merchant offering discounts to patients. “BOGOF” was an everyday practice for him, according to the MPTS panel. He was found to have offered discounts to one patient if she agreed to treatment in additional areas. Mind boggles at this doctors audacity.
While we cannot comment on the veracity of the claims by both sides, it is difficult to understand how a doctor could completely ignore the Hippocratic oath and deal with patients as commodities. We have seen how such panels work and come to their decisions, often to the detriment of the practitioner. The process starts off with an investigative team statement saying that they are not there to investigate the matter. They never ask the complainant to show evidence or proof of their allegations. Everything is taken as hearsay, and if it is not written down, it did not happen. I suspect, if this doctor had written down that he had taken proper consent and discussed the issues with the patients, he might have got off.
Unfortunately there are rogue doctors in our fraternity who do behave the way the MPTS panels state and they are the cause of increasing threats from the governing body. This will only lead to further inward looking practices and may even cause a stagnation in medical practice. Innovation will not be considered by anyone for the fear of “getting wrong with the GMC.”
If you want to read about how a GMC investigation really takes place read my book – A Kangaroo Court – A triumph of mediocrity. It is available in print form as well as on Kindle (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kangaroo-Court-Triumph-Mediocrity/dp/1468081330/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1409059758&sr=1-1&keywords=a+kangaroo+court)