NHS watchdogs have stripped a Whiston GP surgery of its contract following serious concerns for patient safety. The owners of the surgery, Drs Mohammad and Nurun Rahman left the surgery following the contract withdrawal while external investigations take place.
Currently there are two investigations into the practice from Merseyside police and national health representatives the Knowsley Clinical Commissioning Group (KCC). The main concerns by police investigating is alleged forgery and tampering with patient prescriptions, while KCC investigators are looking into the process and systems management of patients which also caused concerns.
Both counts could lead to legal implications should the two doctors be found guilty of misconduct. The KCC, which provides funding to local surgeries, spoke of their part in the investigation, stating “Our quality monitoring has identified significant systems and process concerns at the practice, which could affect the quality of care patients, are receiving”. Following the husband and wife team leaving their post, the KCC has seen the introduction of new doctors to run the surgery in the meantime.
Merseyside police said of their involvement “Enquiries are being made into allegations of prescription-related offences”. They have stressed that their own involvement is separate to the KCC enquiry and will remain so.
The cost of medical fraud
Medical fraud is an issue which is being heavily looked into across the country at the moment; an issue the team at Scott Rees & Co are dedicated to helping tackle as part of our work.
Jeanette Aspinall (pictured left), Medical Negligence Partner at Scott Rees & Co, says that fraud within the system impacts hugely on primary care and patient safety:
“Detection of medical fraud has greatly increased in recent years and are investigated by the NHS Counter Fraud Service (CFS). One of the main areas of activity at the CFS has been to investigate prescription and pharmaceutical fraud, which has been estimated to cost the NHS £348 million a year.
It is shocking to learn that this level of money that was intended for patient care, and funded by the taxpayer, has been criminally pocketed by medical staff who are prepared to abuse the system.
Even more frightening is a report that suggests fraud as a whole in the NHS sector is costing taxpayers £7 billion a year. This money could be put to good use to help solve many of the problems within the NHS, one of which is the GP crisis.
GP’s are struggling to manage their practices and recruit staff. My team recently spent a morning with a very experienced GP who gave us a useful insight into the problems GPs are facing. He advised us that the biggest area of concern is not poor medical judgement but rather bad management and system failure.
My team at Scott Rees handle a number of claims resulting from wrongful repeat prescribing, failure to monitor conditions, failure to make urgent referrals correctly and failings in communication within the practice and externally.
The majority of GPs are doing the best they can but they are finding it increasingly difficult to do their job to the best of their ability as demand increases due to an ageing population and reorganisation has put more responsibility at their door.
We need to ensure that primary care is safe and that patients don’t fall through the gaps. We, as patients, can help by keeping scheduled appointments, arriving on time and speaking up when you don’t understand advice or you are not happy with the service provided. Challenging medical professionals can be intimidating but if we can raise awareness of people’s right to complain and how to complain effectively then many cases of medical negligence and fraud could be avoided.”
1.Wikimedia; Wiki Commons; https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8a/US_Army_52156_VA_warns_veterans_of_telephone_prescription_scam.jpg