Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire doctor suspended for overlapping shifts and prescribing unlicensed drugs

PUBLISHED: 08:30 01 October 2018

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A doctor has been suspended for serious misconduct after it was discovered he was working overlapping shifts and prescribing unlicensed drugs.

When Abdullah Khan took on work for two seperate out-of-hours services - Herts Urgent Care and Care UK - he was already a full-time GP partner at Houghton Close Surgery in Ampthill and lead GP for safeguarding for the Bedfordshire area, for which he was contracted to work four sessions a week.

From January to March 2015, Dr Khan purportedly worked 394.5 hours for HUC and 865.52 hours for Bedfordshire-based Care UK - averaging 105 hours per week for out-of-hours services alone.

But the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service has found the majority of shifts Dr Khan undertook for Care UK and HUC overlapped, yet Dr Khan accepted payment from both providers.

He had no 24-hour period free from work during that three-month period, and had less than 8.5 hours rest between shifts.

Regulations say all employees should have at least 11 hours rest between working days and one day off a week, as best practice for safe working.

From 2011, his practice partners voiced concerns about Dr Khan’s frequent unavailability between 12.30pm and 4.30pm, including on days he was the duty doctor.

In March 2015, the medical director for HUC, which is based in Welwyn Garden City and is the urgent care centre for our region, became aware Dr Khan was working concurrent shifts and an investigation was launched.

Dr Khan only stopped the out-of-hours work once he had been found out.

He had also been prescribing unlicensed drugs to patients with Type 1 diabetes, failing to consider the effect it was having on one patient’s appetite and weight loss, therefore putting that patient at increased risk of low blood glucose episodes known as ‘hypos’.

Dr Khan resigned from the practice in October 2016.

In mitigation, Dr Khan’s solicitor said this period was a “blip”, a breakdown of some sort.

The tribunal determined that Dr Khan posed a risk to patient safety and concluded that: “The seriousness of the findings of persistent dishonesty means an immediate order of suspension should be imposed to promote and maintain public confidence in the profession.”

Dr Khan has had his medical registration suspended for 12 months.

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