Trainee doctor at East and North Herts NHS Trust suspended for faking signatures over competencies

PUBLISHED: 08:30 05 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:46 07 November 2018

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A trainee doctor who used a senior nurse’s computer account to sign off assessments of his work in her name has been suspended from the UK medical register for 12 months.

In December 2016, Doctor Joon Faii Ong was a Foundation Year One trainee working at Lister Hospital in Stevenage – which is managed by the East and North Herts NHS Trust – and as part of his training he had to gain proficiency in 15 core procedures.

Once a doctor feels confident performing a core procedure independently, they are observed by a senior member of staff and, if competent, signed off.

A Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal hearing has found that on December 12, 2016, Dr Ong accessed his e-Portfolio via the ward sister’s NHS account and completed all 15 assessments in her name, without her knowledge or consent.

Concern was raised on January 19, 2017, that all of Dr Ong’s core procedures had been signed off on the same day by the same person, which is considered very unusual.

Dr Ong initially claimed the sister had signed off on the assessments, but later confirmed that he had actually signed them off himself while she had been distracted by a phone call at the nurse’s station.

In an email to the hospital trust in February 2017, Dr Ong said he sincerely regretted the ‘oversight’ on his part.

The tribunal has found that Dr Ong’s actions were dishonest. It also found that Dr Ong – after he resigned from the NHS trust in March 2017 – failed to provide the General Medical Council with a work details form, which was requested six times between May and November that year.

Tribunal chairman Julia Oakford said: “The tribunal was satisfied Doctor Ong’s conduct was serious and clearly breached the principles set out in good medical practice.

“The tribunal had regard to the potential risk to patient safety had Dr Ong’s dishonesty not been uncovered.

“The tribunal has concluded that Dr Ong’s conduct fell so far short of the standards expected of a registered medical practitioner as to amount to misconduct which was serious.”

The tribunal has found that Dr Ong’s fitness to practise is impaired by reason of misconduct and he has been suspended from the UK medical register for 12 months – the maximum period.

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