A Chesterfield doctor has been handed another suspension due to “serious misconduct”.
Dr Stephen Macshane, who had worked as an associate specialist in emergency medicine at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, has been handed a six-month suspension.
This comes after an initial four-month suspension, handed to Dr Macshane by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in May.
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The May hearing, brought by the General Medical Council, had found that two years ago, Dr Macshane had “lied repeatedly” to colleagues about the identification of a dead patient.
In June 2017, a patient had died after suffering a cardio-respiratory arrest while under Dr Macshane’s care.
However, to avoid causing the patient’s widow grief, by forcing her to see her husband’s body, Dr Macshane had identified the body himself – after confirming identifying marks on the patient with her.
Dr Macshane had been saved from being “erased” from the medical register because his motive was “benevolent” – he meant well.
However, the May hearing found that Dr Macshane “had failed to act with honesty and integrity, and it found that his actions brought the profession into disrepute”.
It said that a suspension “was necessary in order to maintain public confidence in the profession and promote and maintain proper professional standards”.
In a new hearing held in October, Ryan Donoghue, on behalf of the GMC, said that “honesty is a fundamental principle of the medical profession and that dishonesty, especially in a clinical setting, is difficult to remediate”.
A report on the new hearing says that Mr Donoghue said that “in order to demonstrate such remediation, a tribunal might expect to see evidence that a doctor has shown significant insight into their previous wrongdoings” – he added that Dr Macshane has shown “very little engagement and has seemingly not developed any insight”.
The hearing was told that erasure from the medical register “would not be appropriate at this stage” despite “continued failure to engage” with the tribunal process”.
Mr Donoghue said: “A further period of suspension would have a deterrent effect and would mark the seriousness of Dr Macshane’s misconduct, thereby serving to uphold public confidence in the medical profession and maintain and uphold proper professional standards.”
Mr Donoghue added that a further period of suspension would allow Dr Macshane another opportunity to engage by “demonstrating reflection and insight.”
During the May tribunal, Dr Macshane had said that he no longer wished to practise medicine.
The report on that tribunal said “if this continues to be the case then there may be little benefit to either Dr Macshane or to the public in imposing a further period of suspension”.
However, because Dr Macshane provided some documents to the October hearing, it suggests “there may be a possibility of remediation”.
In January, Dr Macshane had written to the tribunal service to say: “‘Reflecting on this case again… I never had any premeditated attempt to deceive, that my actions which at the time may have seemed reasonable were misguided and naive.
“The needs of the patient were not placed in their best interest by my actions.
“It is difficult to constantly review this event but I accept that only by reviewing it from many different vantage points can I fully move on from it.”
However, he had also said that he had chosen to retire from the medical profession regardless of the tribunal and said that it was a “waste of money”.
He said: “I regret ever having decided to serve the people of Chesterfield or its trust.”
This month’s tribunal concluded: “Dr Macshane’s misconduct is serious, but that it is not fundamentally incompatible with continued registration.
“If Dr Macshane chooses to engage, his misconduct may be capable of remediation.
“A further period of suspension will send a message to the public and the profession marking the seriousness of Dr Macshane’s initial misconduct, but will also allow him a further opportunity to engage and provide evidence of insight and remediation, should he wish to do so.”