Judge orders suspension of doctor for ‘deceit and dishonesty’

Doctor was removed from duty in Navan hospital last month after staff member saw information online about his record in UK

 A fitness to practice committee in the UK had noted the doctor  had said he was “not racist” but believed, inter alia, that Indian doctors “will be the downfall of the NHS” and Indians “should clean toilets, not practise medicine”.

A fitness to practice committee in the UK had noted the doctor had said he was “not racist” but believed, inter alia, that Indian doctors “will be the downfall of the NHS” and Indians “should clean toilets, not practise medicine”.

 

The president of the High Court has suspended a doctor from the medical register, saying he was registered after making dishonest representations and when his competence was “entirely substandard”.

Dr Ragheb Nouman failed to disclose, when seeking registration here last year, that his name had been erased from the medical register in the UK in 2016, Mr Justice Peter Kelly said.

The suspension, pending further steps by the Medical Council, of his registration here is necessary to protect the public, he ruled.

A Syrian national who qualified as a doctor in Romania, Dr Nouman was struck off the medical register in the UK in early 2016 based on findings his fitness to practice was impaired due to misconduct and deficient professional performance, including making racist comments about Indian doctors and Indian people in general.

A fitness to practice committee in the UK had noted Dr Nouman had said he was “not racist” but believed, inter alia, that Indian doctors “will be the downfall of the NHS” and Indians “should clean toilets, not practise medicine”.

The judge said Dr Nouman later came here and was registered in July 2018 after dishonestly filling in registration forms.

For reasons including the doctor’s “deceit and dishonesty in two jurisdictions”, his suspension should be made public and notified to various parties, he directed.

‘Serious defect’

The judge noted the erasure of Dr Nouman’s name from the UK register was notified to the Medical Council, under a European notification system, shortly after the erasure decision was made in January 2016.

There is “a serious defect” in the Council’s procedures as it does not currently have the ability to utilise such information, he said.

There “seems little point” in having a European notification system if the Council cannot use the information to deal with dishonest registration applications, he said.

The situation was “wholly unsatisfactory” and puts patient safety and the safety of the public in jeopardy, he added.

He was told the Council was very aware of the deficit in its procedures and hoped to inform the judge about steps to remedy that when the matter returns before the court next month.

Dr Nouman also has liberty to apply to vary or discharge the order.

The doctor was registered here in July 2018 and worked in South Tipperary General Hospital, Mayo University Hospital and Our Lady’s Hospital, Navan, having been referred by an approved locum agency.

Early last month, after a staff member at the Navan hospital came across online information he had been struck off in the UK, Dr Nouman was removed from duty pending clarification and the matter was reported to the Medical Council.

It resolved last Thursday, having heard representations from the doctor, to apply for his suspension pending further order.

‘Manifestly untrue’

The suspension application was made by JP McDowell, solicitor for the Council, before the court in a private hearing this week but the judge gave his ruling in public.

The UK Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, which considers doctors’ fitness to practice there, had assessed Dr Nouman’s professional performance as unacceptable in areas including assessment, clinical management, relationships with patients and working with colleagues.

It also recorded he scored 25.83 per cent in a knowledge test, below the scores of 50-70 per cent achieved by other doctors within his reference group. On foot its findings, his name was erased from the register in the UK in January 2016.

The judge said the Council considered the matters which the doctor had been found guilty of in the UK were very serious.

It was very concerned, when he applied for registration here, he wrote “No” in response to a question concerning whether his name had ever been erased from a medical register when that was “manifestly untrue”.

There was prior evidence of this dishonest behaviour in the doctor’s dealings with the regulatory authorities in England, he also said.

He noted the doctor had denied his comments about Indian doctors were racially motivated and had apologised for some aspects of his behaviour.

However, the MPTS panel considered his actions so serious that public confidence in the profession would be undermined if a finding of impairment was not made and patient safety would be compromised if he was allowed to practice medicine in the UK.