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.’