Bankrupt Sunderland GP banned for working with no insurance

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A BANKRUPT GP has been handed a six-month ban for working without insurance.

John Partington failed to get cover after his 50/50 partnership at New City Medical Centre, in Hendon, Sunderland, was dissolved when he was declared bankrupt in February 2011.

He continued to work at the practice as a sessional GP, but failed to obtain indemnity insurance, which had previously been paid from the surgery’s joint bank account.

During an investigation he told Ms Julie Logue and Dr John Bookless, of the Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear area team, it was not a problem as he would not be able to pay in the event of a claim.

Partington admitted working without insurance between March 2011 and January 2013, at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester.

A Fitness to Practise panel ruled his actions amounted to misconduct and suspended him for six months. Chairman Sandra Sturdy, said: “The panel heard that on two occasions in separate conversations with Ms Logue on March 6, 2013, and with Dr Bookless on April 12, 2013, you said that your lack of cover was not a problem for you, as you were bankrupt and would therefore be unable to pay in the event of a claim.

“This illustrates a dismissive attitude towards the interests of your patients.”

The panel concluded Partington “fell well below the standard expected of a registered medical practitioner” and was in breach of a fundamental tenet of the medical profession, and his actions amounted to “serious misconduct”.

Partington’s performance was also found to be “unacceptable” in the areas of “assessment and treatment” after a General Medical Council performance assessment last year.

The same assessment found “cause for concern” in the areas of “record keeping, maintaining Good Medical Practice (GMC guidelines) and working with colleagues”.

Suspending him for six months, Mrs Sturdy told him: “With regards to your deficient professional performance, a period of suspension will allow you to reflect on the areas of concern, and make efforts to seek assistance and training to remedy these deficiencies.

“The panel was impressed at your readiness to acknowledge and accept the fairness of the performance assessment process and its findings, and considers that you are beginning to show insight into these matters.

“However, the panel considers that your insight and remedial work has been limited and believes that a period of suspension will allow you to concentrate fully on these issues and remedy them appropriately.”