An NHS Tayside doctor who admitted to pulling sickies to work in private clinics has been suspended.
Dr Simon Thomas, a Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon at NHS Tayside, admitted to undertaking clinics at two BMI private hospitals while working for the NHS, where he could earn between £82,000 and £110,000 a year.
He had also been placed under practicing restrictions by NHS Tayside after a local adverse event review however he still continued to perform surgeries.
Due to his actions, Dr Thomas has been suspended from the profession for 12 months and will then have to undergo another hearing to review his medical licence.
In order to be allowed to continue to work as a surgeon, he will have to show how his fitness to practise is no longer impaired.
The decision to suspend Dr Thomas was announced by The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), following a 10 day hearing.
The majority of the hearing was held in private following a successful appeal from Dr Thomas.
Thomas was brought under investigation by the MPTS for his actions in April of 2019 and for failing to inform the NHS about his private clinics.
‘Swift pinking of his cheeks when questioned’
Operational Medical Director for NHS Tayside, Professor Colin Fleming, held a meeting with Dr Thomas after becoming suspicious of his whereabouts.
Professor Fleming described him as having a “swift pinking of his cheeks” when questioned.
Dr Thomas had told Professor Fleming that he would be unable to meet with him on one occasion as he had to pick up a family member.
However, Professor Fleming was then made aware that Dr Thomas had been at BMI Fernbrae in Dundee performing private clinics that day.
Speaking to the tribunal last month, Professor Fleming said: “There had been an attempt to mislead me.
“I challenged him with additional information on his actual whereabouts and his explanations were muddled.
“There was a swift pinking of his cheeks and a lack of fluency in his voice.”
In his final submissions, Dr Thomas’ legal representative, Duncan Mawby, said that Mr Thomas had felt a significant degree of remorse and shame. He regretted his actions and was working out a way to apologise to those who had been negatively impacted by his actions.
Mr Mawby also managed to convince the panel that complete erasure would deprive the NHS and its patients of his surgical skills.
‘Full of guilt and regret’
Speaking at the tribunal, Dr Thomas said: “I feel horrible about it – and I feel full of guilt and regret.”
Dr Thomas admitted all charges brought against him which read: “You failed to notify NHS Tayside that you also practised privately at BMI Kings Park Hospital and BMI Fernbrae Hospital.
“You carried out clinics at Kings Park whilst you were on paid sick leave from NHS Tayside on 4 April 2019, 10 April 2019, 17 April 2019 and 18 April 2019.
“You knew that on one or more of the dates set out…you should not have been working at Kings Park as you were on paid sick leave from NHS Tayside.
Dr Thomas has expertise in elective upper limb surgery and complex upper limb trauma as well as general limb trauma.