Appeal by Dr Teewary against 12 month suspension by the MPTS for failing to comply with GMC direction that he undergo a health assessment.
The appellant in this case, Dr Clay Kumar Teewary, who was suspended for 12 months. The reason for the decision to suspend his registration was that Dr Teewary had failed to comply with a direction of the General Medical Council (“GMC”) that he undergo a health assessment and that in the circumstances it was reasonable to conclude that he might pose a risk to the safety of patients.
Dr Teewary appealed the suspension in the grounds that the Tribunal’s decision was substantively wrong and that it was reached after a hearing that was procedurally unfair.
The circumstances of the case that resulted in Dr Teewary’s suspension is fully explained in the judgement but briefly put, surrounds a visit to Bolivia on a tour of the Amazon where Dr Teewary met a woman, Ms V. During that trip, he sent Ms V emails the xx described as “at the very least imprudent; indeed, it is hard to resist the view that they were entirely inappropriate, as regards both their content and their number.” For example, in one email he acknowledged that he was aware that he was “in a really dangerous harassment sort of territory here”; the following month, after Ms V, in a rare response, had asked him to stop contacting her.
Following a complaint to the GMC an investigation was opened. After opening an investigation, Ms V sent an email to the GMC’s Investigation Officer, saying that since the GMC had contacted Dr Teewary her “email trash can ha[d] exploded with one line emails.”
The GMC was concerned at the tone, manner, structure and volume of the emails being sent by Dr Teewary. It sought advice from a GMC medical case examiner, who advised that the emails indicated grandiose ideas, chaotic thoughts, problems with impulse control, paranoia concerning the first Investigation Officer, and delusional ideas regarding the supposed reciprocation of his feelings by Ms V. Accordingly, the GMC decided that it was necessary to add a further allegation of “impaired health” to its investigation.
Consequently, Dr Teewary was directed to undertake a medical assessment.
Failing to comply with the GMC’s requirement, Dr Teewary’s case was referred to the MPTS. The Tribunal delivered its decision on sanction on 20 November 2020. Having referred to the overarching objective and to the options that were available to it, the Tribunal rejected the option of taking no further action: there were no exceptional circumstances; there was a consistent and persistent failure to comply with the direction over a period of 18 months; allowing Dr Teewary to return to unrestricted practice “would not uphold the overarching objective to protect the public” and “would not maintain public confidence in the profession”. The Tribunal also decided that it would not be appropriate to make Dr Teewary’s registration conditional on compliance with a health assessment.
The tribunal suspended Dr Teewary’s registration for 12 months and for reasons outlined in paragraph 48 of the judgement.
In turning down Dr Teewary’s “unmeritorious” appeal, His Honour Judge Keyser QC sitting as a Judge of the High Court stated:
“In my judgment, the proceedings before the Tribunal were not in any way unfair. Dr Teewary did not make submissions when he had an opportunity to make them on 26 August 2020. The Tribunal was entitled to take the view that he was trying to frustrate the conduct of the proceedings and that it should proceed in his absence: in colloquial terms, it had his number. It gave him every opportunity to put forward any representations he wished to make. Indeed, the only representation of substance that he has ever advanced—concerning the limited information provided by the GMC to the medical examiners—was presented by Dr Teewary and considered and rejected by the Tribunal; see above. Dr Teewary did not attend on 27 August 2020. The hearing on 19 November 2020 was for the giving of the decision, and there was no good reason why the Tribunal ought not to have given its decision on non-compliance on that occasion. When the decision had been given, Dr Teewary yet again attempted to delay the proceedings, but the Tribunal very properly did not permit him to do so. The issue in the case had been entirely straightforward. It justified one or at the most two days of the Tribunal’s time. Dr Teewary had succeeded in derailing the proceedings to the extent that they had taken up seven days of the Tribunal’s time. He had been indulged quite enough.”