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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)

  • The bottom line is that we are and can be policed by all and sundry but institutions such as CQC cannot and certainly mustn’t be publicly criticised even when justified. This goes way beyond dictatorship, communism etc and certainly isn’t democracy. This GP should be knighted for taking a stand!

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  • So - This GP is suspended by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service for two months after filming a CQC inspection.

    The GMC said: "This behaviour was not in the interests of keeping his patients well looked after".

    However, according to The News and Star - 17th November 2018:
    An allegedly "trained" - (but with no qualifying MB BS)
    fake "psychiatrist" appeared before the M.P.T.S.

    Phil Coleman reported:

    "More worryingly, she sanctioned the detention of psychiatric patients (against their will for treatment) despite at the time not having authority to do such work".

    "For this she was given an official warning by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal".

    Was this behaviour "in the interests of keeping her patients well looked after"?

    --------------------

    "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".

    Traumatised CQC inspectors might be well advised to avoid the possibility of a "diagnosis" of PTSD, and all the accompanying, evidenced-based, high risk of serious and prolonged SSRI-ADRs/neurotoxicity and discontinuation syndromes.




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  • As mentioned previously it will be extremely revealing the reason for what appears to be a respected, popular GP,and certainly one who has taken great personal pride in his Practice is suspended for. I trust it will not be "Lack of insight!" Another victim of the dangerous end game that we are all witnessing. As a system fails the regulators thrash around in throes of self interest instead of supporting the faithful footsoldier.

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  • I honestly think these agencies just do not understand the impact of what they are doing. They have RIGHT on their side, are battling the forces of lassitude/complacency/mediocrity etc and are unstoppable.
    GMC, A&R, CQC, NHS England, pensions - its a tsunami of disincentives to continue practising.
    And the RCGP and BMA get panned in the press if they defend us, panned by us if they don't do enough. The truth is, they cannot hope to overcome the multiple forces of the establishment.
    "We're all doooomed, Mr Mainwaring!"

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  • |anon2016 | Locum GP|10 Dec 2018 11:53am

    Seriously? You think they are doing it out of ignorance? It would be more logical to think they are doing it intentionally.
    The RCGP/BMA don't owe a duty to the press. We pay their subs, not the public. If I were they, I would err on the side of doing more for the doctors, than for anyone else. Like I said, this is what you get when the state intervenes, and it gets political.

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  • Reading this article made me feel ashamed. I am so outspoken about the CQC that I am banned from the practice when we have visits rather than risk harvesting a poor report. Some people are braver than I am.

    What really gets under my toenails is that all these interfering busybodies no doubt aim to practise evidence-based medicine. And yet they fly in the face of all evidence regarding their activities. There is a wealth of evidence demonstrating the negative impact that CQC inspection has on practices. The only evidence that this dire organisation can produce for the benefit of its inspections is its own. Hardly an unbiased source of data.

    Is it too late all to stand together, say enough is enough and refuse to be inspected? If the GMC banned us all from practising for 2/12 the NHS would be on it's knees in days.

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  • Shameful behaviour by the CQC and the GMC (again).
    Does anyone know if there is a petition in the offing?

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  • Dear All,
    My understanding is that there was a disagreement between Dr Beerstecher and the CQC inspection team about what was said / done. I also understand the video recording confirmed Dr Beerstecher's version of events. If this is the case then this would seem to be an injustice.
    Regards
    Paul C

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  • Dear All,

    https://www.cripps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Guidance-note-Can-I-record-meetings-or-conversations.pdf

    Regards
    Paul C

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  • I will sign a petition

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