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GPs go forth

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)

  • You always fought for what was right and fair.
    Good luck

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  • Hats off to our colleague. I understand him as have myself recorded meetings with NHSE after being verbally abused by NHSE Managers and mocked at a meeting in the presence of impotent LMC officials who were there to support me. And I would be glad to put it to the national media as the Manager at the enxt meeting when I decided to record for my safety - blatantly bragged he did not care a damn about patient opinion. The arrogance was so great that I paraphrased the question initially put by the LMC representative twice more- and he insisted - I don't care what patients say!
    Our colleague is in Kent and we are subject to abuse once too often and independently colleagues are resorting to ways to protect themselves.
    This particular case is odd. CQC is not happy to be recorded? Do they have something to hide? If a Doctor comments on incongruencies in their actions, should they not contemplate first instead of attacking and demanding the post be taken down?. Is it arrogance or a refusal to reflect on the comments? Lastly, do we live in a democracy and whether these so called Inspectors consider themselves above accountability for their actions so they do not accept any criticism?
    Lot of questions there, which we all need to consider and the establishment needs to take into account. ostracizing is easy, discussing difficult issues is what is required.

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  • By the way, MPTS officials are usually GPs working with CCGs, Deaneries, as GP Tutors etc. They rarely have the balls to stand up to the establishment. In a local educational meeting in Medway- the GP in this case is from Medway-we were advised by a GP Tutor that 'NHSE is all powerful, do not dare to stand up to them'.
    Point taken, thank you. Interestingly, of the 30 odd GPs who attended, not one was white British although we do have English GPs in Medway.
    Am I going to be suspended now???

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  • I do take my hat off for you Dr Beerstecher taking a stand against the CQC on behalf of small practices.
    As GP of small Practice who faced three inspections during the last two years, I wish I had the option of Recording.
    Dear BMA leaders Now it the time for Decisive Action!

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  • What does the RCGP and BMA have to say about this case? Probably not a lot.

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  • The CQC is not overseen by a regulator.
    That is a very dangerous situation.
    Even the GMC has the PSA - which sadly does not prevent it behaving unfairly.

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  • Here's where I come in again lol This is what you get with state intervention/regulation/funding of comprehensive healthcare provision -- Quangos. You want it gone? You'd have to de-politicize it. Let the free market decide.

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  • And Hendrik, I would vote for you too, if you run for BMA ;p

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  • It defies belief that these Stalinist apparatchiks are stifling the voices of reason acting against the tyranny of the CQC an organisation as self serving as the GMC. The GMC and medical tribunals are all stacked against the profession having been stacked with politically motivated and directed oppressors.
    At no time is their joint behaviour acceptable but it is even less so when the profession is at such a low point, a point which has been reached in part due to the continued ineptitude of the GMC and CQC.

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  • This GP is a hero. The CQC have been an absolute disgrace. Locally they failed many really good practices. When they visited our team they were nothing more than incompetent bullies.

    I will be recording the next visit and also have LMC represenation during the visit. Their report had many errors. These errors were eventually accepted; but still they refused to change the report.

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