A DOCTOR has been suspended for 12 months after he failed to turn up to work at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital’s accident and emergency department when needed to examine a patient.
Dr Karthikeyan Swaminathan was adjudged to be unfit to practise following a hearing of the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service.
Dr Swaminathan was working as a locum at the Belvedere Road site at the time of the incident on November 1, 2010.
Dr Sobitha Devi, who gave evidence on behalf of Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, revealed that Dr Swaminathan had been called to attend a patient.
After two hours had gone by, there was still no sign of Dr Swaminathan and Dr Devi herself assessed the patient, after it was made clear that Dr Swaminathan could not be found.
The tribunal, which began on September 17, ruled yesterday that Dr Swaminathan’s fitness to practise was impaired after finding against him in 13 cases of misconduct across six separate hospitals, including Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Speaking after the hearing, Queen’s medical director Craig Stenhouse said: “The trust carried out all normal checks before employing Dr Swaninathan as a locum in November 2010.
“These included running checks on the General Medical Council (GMC) website, which was not showing any restrictions.
“During the time he worked for us he was covered by a senior doctor and did not act independently.
“I can confirm that there were no patient or clinical issues arising from the doctor’s time with us, which covered one shift.”
Dr Swaminathan will have the opportunity to appeal the ruling, but if he does not the suspension will be reviewed shortly before the end of the 12- month period by a fitness to practise panel.
A report from the panel, chaired by Dr Wendy Kuriyan, who handed down the suspension, said: “We have concluded that Dr Swaminathan’s misconduct, although serious, is not so serious as to be fundamentally incompatible with his continuing to be a registered medical practitioner.
“In deciding on the length of suspension we took into account the nature of Dr Swaminathan’s dishonesty, which we concluded was not at the highest end of the scale.
“That was balanced by the need to demonstrate clearly to Dr Swaminathan, the profession and the public that such conduct is unacceptable.”