A criminal conviction is always a serious matter and all the more so for professionals who are expected to show the highest standards of integrity and honesty. A doctor who avoided paying more than £40,000 in child maintenance by lying to the Child Support Agency (CSA) found that out to his cost.
In an attempt to avoid paying maintenance in respect of his son, the locum GP told the CSA that he was abroad, busy setting up a company, or not working in the UK. He was in fact earning an income in excess of £200,000 a year in the UK. After the truth emerged, he was convicted of fraud by false representation and received a 20-month suspended prison sentence.
He subsequently referred himself to the General Medical Council, also disclosing for the first time that he had previously been convicted of failing to provide a breath specimen after being stopped by the police on suspicion of drink driving, an offence for which he received 60 hours of unpaid work and a two-year driving ban.
In considering his case, the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal (MPT) found in respect of the fraud offence that he had shown limited insight into his sustained dishonesty. His behaviour was ruled fundamentally incompatible with his role as a doctor and the MPT directed his removal from the medical register.
In dismissing his challenge to that sanction, the High Court noted that dishonesty on the part of a doctor is always an extremely serious matter, at the top end of the spectrum of gravity of misconduct. The MPT was more than entitled to conclude that his persistent dishonesty rendered his removal inevitable.