Shoplifting Doctor Allowed to Continue Practice...
A GP who was caught shoplifting and then lied about the offence to her governing body has been handed an official warning - but can continue to work.
Dr Sofia Nilufar Ahmed, a partner at Redlam Surgery, Blackburn, stole a pair of ladies gloves worth £10 from Debenhams in Blackburn.
Dr Ahmed, who also works as a gynaecologist with sexual health services in Burnley, accepted a caution and Fixed Penalty Notice from police after she was caught outside the department store on November 14 last year.
But a General Medical Council (GMC) hearing heard that the doctor failed to tell the truth about the crime to her professional body, claiming in both a telephone call and letter that it was a ‘misunderstanding’.
Appearing before a GMC Fitness to Practice Panel in Manchester, Dr Ahmed admitted that her actions were both ‘misleading’ and ‘dishonest’.
Yesterday, the panel decided that Dr Ahmed's fitness to practise was not impaired and that she could continue to work in East Lancashire.
However, it gave her a warning that will be published on the List of Registered Medical Practitioners for the next five years and kept on her record, so that prospective employers will always be able to find out about her past misconduct.
Bernadette Barker, representing the GMC, said a warning was appropriate because Dr Ahmed's behaviour had fallen below the standards expected by the GMC. She said there had been "a significant departure from Good Medical Practice".
Lee Gledhill, defending Dr Ahmed, said the mum accepted that the criteria for issuing a warning had been met.
Dr Ahmed had earlier told the panel that she was "extremely sorry" for her actions and that she would "have to live with the shame and guilt and remorse”.
The hearing was told that she had been suffering from health and psychological problems at the time, which were not explained in public, and that she had become lonely and depressed after her husband went away on GP training, her daughters left home for university and her best friend became seriously ill with a fatal disease.
The panel also heard that Dr Ahmed, who previously worked for 12 years as a gynaecologist at sites including Royal Blackburn Hospital, was a woman of previous good character.
And Dr Ahmed's senior partner Dr Alan Calow, who leads the Redlam Surgery, which caters for around 6,000 patients, said she was a gynaecological expert who he would rank “eight or nine out of 10” as a GP.
In its ruling the panel said: "Your actions fell below appropriate standards of personal conduct and were serious.
"The panel is satisfied that you have demonstrated considerable insight into the serious of your misconduct and it accepts that your expressions of remorse and apology were genuine.
"You are otherwise of good character and it is of the opinion that the risk of repetition of your misconduct is extremely low."
The panel added that Dr Ahmed's conduct risked "bringing the profession into disrepute and must not be repeated."