Jake Ryan and Stephen Adams, Daily Mail, July 13, 2019
Foreign-trained doctors commit six in ten cases of sexual misconduct with patients, even though they make up only a third of NHS medics, shock new figures reveal.
They accounted for 23 of 38 proven incidents in the past three years, according to figures obtained by The Mail on Sunday. Allegations include indecent behaviour, sexual assault and even rape.
The alarming statistics have emerged just as the NHS has introduced targets to reduce the numbers of black and ethnic minority staff – almost two-thirds of whom trained abroad – being hauled before disciplinary hearings.
Britain’s 95,000 doctors from black and minority ethnic backgrounds (BME) are more than twice as likely to be referred to the GMC as their white colleagues. There is a similar pattern with other staff such as nurses.
NHS chief people officer Prerana Issar, who recently joined from the United Nations, wrote: ‘It is not acceptable that if you come from some backgrounds, you are more likely to enter the formal disciplinary process, stay in it longer and have more career-limiting outcomes. We must change this and quickly.’
A new document gives NHS trusts what it calls ‘aspirational goals’ to reduce the likelihood of BME staff being referred for disciplinary action, so the rates are more in line with white staff.
But there is concern that setting arbitrary targets could let medics who pose a real threat to patients escape investigation. J. Meirion Thomas, a retired consultant surgeon who worked in the NHS for 30 years, said: ‘Complaints of sexual misconduct, and other matters against doctors, should be assessed irrespective of ethnicity. Applying any other criteria risks that some complaints may not be properly investigated.’
A recent GMC report found ‘no evidence of [racial] bias’ in its disciplinary procedures. Instead, it suggested not enough was being done to help BME doctors, with some feeling ‘isolated’ or as if they were ‘treated as outsiders’.
An NHS spokesman said: ‘Where allegations are made it is right that they are thoroughly investigated and any appropriate action taken, regardless of someone’s ethnicity or where they trained. But it is also right that all NHS staff feel they will be treated fairly and not face discrimination, which is what this guidance sets out to achieve.’
The figures on sexual misconduct were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act following such high-profile cases as Czech-trained Anush Babu, who spent years secretly filming female patients.
There have been a number of high-profile sexual misconduct cases involving foreign-trained doctors in recent years.
Among them are Anush Babu, who trained in Prague, and who secretly filmed female patients under examination over years working at NHS hospitals in Surrey and Berkshire.
Police confronted him after a tip-off that he’d filmed children at Basingstoke Aquadrome.
Footage of hospital patients found on his laptop zoomed in on their private parts, a tribunal heard in 2016.
The panel accepted his motivation was not sexual but more like obsessive compulsive disorder, but still struck him off.
Thair Altaii took 19,000 images by secretly filming female patients over six years at his Tyneside surgery. He was caught when a patient noticed mobile phones propped up on his desk and near the examination area.
The Iraq-trained doctor was jailed for 14 months after being convicted of voyeurism last August. One victim told Newcastle Crown Court: ‘He violated his position of trust for his own gratification.’
He was suspended from the GMC register in October.
Cyprian Okoro, who trained in Nigeria, sent naked pictures of himself to a patient on WhatsApp after pestering her for sex.
A tribunal found the Norwich GP’s ‘sexually motivated behaviour was inappropriate and persistent’, and struck him off last year. In 2016 he received a suspended jail sentence for having a collection of ‘extreme’ pornography.
Pakistani-trained A&E doctor Syed Bukhari repeatedly groped a 28-year-old patient being treated in hospital for chest pains and palpitations.
Over two days, he felt her breasts and rubbed her legs to the top of her thighs under the pretext of medical examination.
He was struck off in 2017 after a panel found his ‘inappropriate examinations’ in Lanarkshire were ‘sexually motivated’.