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Independents' Day

How partner's 'betrayal' destroyed our practice

The partner of a GP jailed for defrauding their practice of £68,000 says she may quit general practice as a result of his 'betrayal'.

Dr Bella Shah said the three-partner practice in Hounslow, Middlesex, had been 'destroyed'. Dr Shah and Dr Harold Copenhagen blew the whistle on Dr Rakesh Patel, who was jailed for 18 months for false accounting.

Both remaining GPs held their final surgeries last week and have handed over the practice to Hounslow PCT.

Dr Shah said she would work as a locum while she decided on her future but could not face a return to the practice. Dr Copenhagen has retired.

'What's happened has destroyed this practice,' she said.

'I came here six years ago, this was my first principal job and Dr Patel was my mentor. This has been a hugely difficult time. It's all very raw at the moment and I don't know what I'm going to do.'

An 18-month investigation by the police and the NHS Counter Fraud Service found Dr Patel was claiming a salary for his wife, even though she was not an employee.

Hounslow PCT said it was recruiting to fill the three full-time posts.

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