Bakare v General Medical Council [2021] EWHC 3278 (Admin) (03 December 2021)

In this case, Sekinat Bakare, the appellant, was struck off the medical register for a number of separate incidents at different times relating to clinical care allegations and falsifying allegations.

The allegations relating to clinical care allegations, although admitted and found proved, did not “amount to misconduct” or “did not amount to current impairment” and were therefore not relevance to the sanction of erasure that was imposed in this case.

The allegations relating to dishonesty by falsifying records related to lying to her education supervisor about appointments that she did not attend, making false statements about her qualifications, falsely stating she was not currently the subject of fitness to practise investigations and dishonesty in respect of prescriptions.

Regarding the dishonesty in respect of prescriptions, she was referred to the police and it was noted that:

“The MPT specifically referred to the fact that when challenged by the police, the Appellant denied any involvement, claimed she had lost the pad (she said it had been stolen) and agreed to take part in an ID parade to prove her innocence (knowing full well that she would not be identified because she had not presented the prescription at the pharmacy and she knew the identity of the individual who had done so, namely her Nigerian friend).

“Having been successfully misled by the Appellant, the Police wrote to the GMC on 23 February 2015, stating that their investigation into the Appellant’s possible fraudulent use of the prescription pad was closed. At the start of the MPT hearing – six years after the prescription was presented at the pharmacy – this charge was denied by the Appellant (i.e. that she dishonestly wrote out and signed a prescription in another doctor’s name). The GMC case was therefore opened on that basis and it submitted that by lying to the police the Appellant had “kept digging” in a pattern of escalating dishonesty.”

The Appellant challenges the MPT’s decision on sanction on five grounds as follows:

(1) The sanction was wrong;
(2) The MPT was wrong to conclude that the misconduct was fundamentally incompatible with continued registration;
(3) The MPT failed to take into account (adequately or at all) personal mitigation; personal and professional context; the impact those matters had on the Appellant’s capacity for insight; and the particular circumstances around the prescription;
(4) The MPT was wrong to reject the sanction of suspension as appropriate and proportionate;
(5) The MPT failed to give adequate reasons.

Mr Justice Calver in turning down the appeal on all grounds said:

“In any event, in my judgment this is certainly not a case of the Appellant making merely “two grave errors of judgment”. The dishonesty consisted of two dishonest courses of conduct which were persistent and which the Appellant sought to cover up (in the case of the prescription pad, cover up for a very long period of time and by positively misleading the police).

“Undoubtedly, she compounded the gravamen of her actions by failing to admit her dishonesty and by taking steps to avoid the consequences of that dishonesty.

“In short, the suggestion that “her actions reflected genuine fear, a lack of engagement caused by serious physical and mental health issues and personal matters” amounts merely to unsubstantiated assertion. Even if this were proven, in view of the seriousness of the dishonest courses of conduct in this case, it would not in my judgment have been led to a different outcome, namely erasure from the register (rather than a lengthy period of suspension, which would have been wholly inadequate).

“In all the circumstances, this appeal must be dismissed. The sanction imposed by the MPT has not been shown to be wrong. Indeed, I consider it to be clearly correct. The sanction which has been imposed by the MPT has been shown to be both appropriate and necessary in the public interest, and neither excessive nor disproportionate.”

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