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GP suspended after secretly filming CQC inspections

A GP has been suspended for two months after covertly filming CQC inspections and posting them online.

Dr Hendrik Beerstecher, from Canterbury Road Surgery Practice in Kent, was accused of misconduct after he recorded a CQC inspection at his practice in 2016 and then failed to take it down when asked.

A tribunal was held by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) in November, which concluded that Dr Beerstecher be suspended for two months as there was a ‘real risk’ that he would repeat his misconduct.

The tribunal heard that Dr Beerstecher published the recordings on the practice website alongside ‘offensive and critical’ comments, according to the GMC representative. This included provocative headings on CQC inspection documents, such as ‘boohoo’, ‘secrets’ and ‘orchestrated smear’.

The GMC said this behaviour was not in the interests of keeping his patients well looked after, but instead was ‘self-facing, motivated by his need to rally patients for his own cause’.

Dr Beerstecher claimed the comments on the website were meant to be humorous, and despite objections to his recordings, the CQC had since allowed subsequent inspections to be recorded.

However, the tribunal heard that in November 2018, Dr Beerstecher’s practice website was updated with comments justifying the recordings.

These said: ‘A lot of accusations have been levelled at the doctor, this is the reason for the audio recordings of consultations, to avoid further false accusations.’

The tribunal panel concluded that though Dr Beerstecher had a right to freedom of speech, his actions in refusing to take down the recorded material when asked demonstrated a ‘lack of insight and clarity’. It also found the commentary to be ‘offensive, ill-judged and inappropriate’.

MPTS tribunal chair, Kim Parsons, said: ‘The tribunal is of the view that Dr Beerstecher continues to fail to consider the impact his actions may have on the individuals affected, patients and the wider public confidence in the profession.’

‘The tribunal considers that there is a real risk of Dr Beerstecher repeating his misconduct, particularly in circumstances where his view differs from those involved in the regulatory process of where he considers himself or his practice under threat.’

CQC deputy inspector of general practice Ruth Rankine said: 'Our staff are dedicated to making sure that people get safe, compassionate and high-quality healthcare.

'This was a very difficult and upsetting experience for our inspection team who should be able to do their job of regulating and inspecting general practice without experiencing this type of treatment by medical professionals.'

Readers' comments (59)

  • Forget the GMC, BMA and all the other pathetic bodies involving themselves in our profession. I say vote Henk to be president of the USA, EU and everywhere else. At last someone with backbone to stand up to the spineless suits in our world.

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  • I will sign the petition too.
    2 months suspension will definitely not make the practice safer which is what the CQC and GMC is about but as it shows they have lost the plot. This looks like Bawa Gaba the 2nd. and will put people off coming into GP and the UK and push more to leave.

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  • oooh lack of insight. my favourite way of controlling GPs. we at the GMC do not need to have any insight, ask bawa whatshername

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  • Agree with a petition.

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  • Can the MPTS be challenged in the courts?

    The decision here seems to require a significant degree of collusion and deliberate abuse of power from two organisations whose responsibility is great, but whose reliability has been questioned repeatedly.

    That they lack insight has been suggested, but is it more that they know what they are doing, and it is against their own rules, the rule of law and of natural justice.

    They have demonstrated clearly that they have no legitimacy in a call to following rules, as they do not follow the rules they have set, or those set for them.

    Either the organisations must be abolished, or at the least their current leadership must be removed to begin to reestablish any basic credibility.

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  • This is an intolerable story about an appalling organisation the CQC that , so far at least , we do not have to put up with in Wales . Organisations now regularly use the ‘ our staff will not be subject to bullying whilst carrying out their duties’ - ignoring the bullying effect that their staff have on others . I hope that Dr Beerstecher and his practice staff can survive this . I wonder what the patient practice group has to say ?

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  • I'm sure Charlie Massie et al must be trembling at the thought that there might be a petition going round,that a few contributors may sign at some future time.
    The very reason the gmc know that they will get away with there repression is the limp wristed ,impotent reactions you get on here.Meantime a colleague's livelyhood is will endure when good people look the other way.

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  • Dear Horizontally opposed, you are next!!

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  • Dear Horizontally opposed
    I'm happy to take more drastic action. I think the publicity around the Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba case helped her a great deal. So are limp wristed petitions are not completely impotent.

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  • Can the decision challenged in court?

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