Where numerous fake forms are completed and relied upon as real it is likely to be seen to be a deception and amount to impaired fitness to practise if formally investigated..

Dr S was a consultant who had 40 years of unblemished clinical work under his belt prior to the incident in question. He was reported to the GMC by the RO of his trust for completing patient feedback forms. The forms were submitted by him knowing they were false as part of the 360-feedback element of revalidation. In all, Dr S fabricated 16 forms. Ten of the forms were photocopies of the same partially completed form but 19 questions were answered with the highest score of ‘6’ and the twentieth question was also answered positively with a ‘Yes’. One form was also a copy of another form filled with positive answers. A further five forms were completed in Dr S’ handwriting in place of the patients’.  The GMC investigated and the case was referred to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (“MPTS.”) who heard the matter over 3 days.

At the hearing Dr S made full admissions to all of the allegations and so the only question for the MPT was whether his FTP was impaired and if so what sanction if any was appropriate. In fact, the doctor did not dispute his FTP was impaired but the question is one for the MPT only, they decided that forging forms was serious misconduct and his FTP was impaired.

In coming to this conclusion the MPT found the context was particularly relevant – revalidation is such an important process that vitiating or compromising elements of that was a serious concern.  They also noted that when first confronted the doctor did not immediately make admissions. Neither were they sure there would not be repetition. Although Dr S had attended a professional ethics course, implementation of any learning was not clear.

In terms of sanction the MPT decided that a 12 month suspension was appropriate. The MPT were mindful that Dr S provided valuable care to patients, felt heartfelt and genuine remorse, and this was an isolated incident. the GMC had sought erasure but this was successfully resisted by the doctor’s representatives. If you have any FTP concerns please contact us directly for any advice specific to your matter.