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Independents' Day

GP practice duped by 'fake locum'

By The Pulse news team

A GP practice was duped into allowing a fraudster posing as a fake locum to examine a patient - after he turned up for an interview with a plastic bag full of false qualifications.

Raj Patel, who in reality was a recruitment consultant for locum agency I D Medical, was found guilty of attempting to obtain pecuniary advantage by deception by falsely representing a registered GP.

Basildon Crown Court heard Mr Patel used his inside knowledge of the industry to exploit security loopholes and steal the identity of a namesake doctor practising in Ipswich, obtaining a GMC registration number.

He managed to persuade the Medical Defence Union to send a copy of the real Raj Patel's membership certificate to his London address.

With these pieces of information he was able to bluff his way through an interview at the Warrior Square Surgery, in Southend, Essex.

Practice manager Audrey Faulkner told the court: ‘He arrived with a plastic bag containing his CV and other documents. I did find that a bit weird.'

The court heard Mr Patel – deemed unfit to plead before the start of the trial after the judge considered two psychiatric reports – was invited to come back and spend two days shadowing the surgery's only doctor Dr Irvine Dhanapala in November 2005.

Dr Dhanapala told police he allowed Mr Patel to check a female patient who had come into the surgery complaining of stomach pains. He said: ‘I saw him using his finger tips on the patient's stomach. I realised that he didn't know how to do this examination.'

Mr Patel denied both charges when interviewed by police.

He was cleared of another charge of attempting to obtain pecuniary advantage by deception by falsely representing a registered GP after allegedly phoning a surgery in Blackpool and offering his services as a locum for out of hours calls.

Judge John Lodge adjourned sentencing for six weeks but said Mr Patel faces either a hospital order or a supervision order with psychiatric treatment.

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