A doctor who worked in Chaddesden and Ilkeston has had his licence to practice medicine suspended for three months for “deliberate acts of dishonesty”, some of which caused “serious risk” to a child.
Dr Thomas Kelly worked at the Park Medical Practice, in Chaddesden, and the Littlewick Medical Practice, in Ilkeston, and was under the Royal Derby Hospital GP training scheme.
Dr Kelly was brought before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester from August 28 to September 5.
At the tribunal, it was found that Dr Kelly had submitted 40 patient satisfaction questionnaires that he had filled out himself while at Littlewick, and that he had made false entries in a child patient’s notes while at the Chaddesden practice.
These actions took place in February and November 2016.
The General Medical Council (GMC), which brought the case to the tribunal, stated that both of these actions were “dishonest”.
It was found that Dr Kelly had initially sought to “deny his wrongdoing” in relation to the falsified patient questionnaires during interviews with the Derby GP training programme and had “sought to conceal the wrongdoing” with respect to the false patient assessment entries.
The tribunal found that these were “highly relevant aggravating factors”, despite Dr Kelly admitting to both allegations at the start of the tribunal hearing, where they were proven.
It was found that on February 3, 2016, Dr Kelly had submitted 40 patient satisfaction questionnaires to his ePortfolio that he had filled out himself.
Dr Kelly also admitted to not carrying out four steps in assessing a child patient, referred to as “Patient A”, on November 11, 2016, despite making notes that he had done so.
He had claimed to have taken the child’s temperature, listened to their chest, measured their pulse and contacted the Derby Children’s Emergency Department. In fact, none of these steps had been carried out.
A summary of the tribunal’s findings, seen by the Derbyshire Local Democracy Reporting Service, written by chairman Julian Weinberg, states: “Dr Kelly’s actions represented dishonesty on two separate occasions, both of which were, whilst unsophisticated, deliberate acts of dishonesty in the course of his work as a doctor.
“Falsifying the PSQs undermined the integrity of his GP training programme. The Tribunal considered that Dr Kelly’s misconduct with respect to his treatment of Patient A represented a serious risk to patient safety and also falls seriously short of the standards expected of a doctor.
“Dr Kelly had limited insight into the wider implications of his misconduct on the profession, and the public’s confidence in the profession.”
Peter Atherton, representing the GMC, said that “Dr Kelly’s dishonesty was of a nature so serious that it would be regarded as deplorable by fellow practitioners” and that it “demonstrated a lack of probity, a lack of integrity which may have involved a risk to Patient A, and therefore a departure from a fundamental tenet of the medical profession”.
The failure to carry out the correct treatment of the child patient was found to be a “serious breach”, was “deplorable” and “inherently dishonest”.
As a result it was found that “Dr Kelly’s fitness to practise is currently impaired”.
The tribunal was not sufficiently assured that similar incidents would not happen again.
The report states: “Whilst dishonest behaviour is difficult but not impossible to remediate, the tribunal has not, at this stage, received any demonstrable evidence that Dr Kelly has remediated his failings or has demonstrated sufficient insight such that the tribunal can be confident that his misconduct would not be repeated.”
Marios Lambis, on behalf of Dr Kelly, said that the doctor has a “desire to apologise to Patient A and their mother”.
He also stated that if Dr Kelly were to be suspended it would have “an enormous and disproportionate effect on his financial, emotional, professional and family life”.
Mr Lambis further stated that it would be “of no benefit to patients or to the public generally to suspend an otherwise good doctor”.
The tribunal took on board testimonials from Dr Kelly’s colleagues which “attested to his professionalism and competence, and that he had shown remorse for his actions in his witness statement and throughout his oral evidence”.
However, these were not strong enough to overcome “the seriousness of the dishonesty found” with the tribunal feeling that “Dr Kelly needs time to reflect on the incidents and remediate his failings”.
Dr Kelly qualified as a doctor in 2011 after studying at the University of Manchester.
Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service