Doctor at Newport's Royal Gwent Hospital suspended after forging prescription signature

First published in News South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A TALENTED doctor put his career in jeopardy after forging a colleague’s signature to gain medicines for a pilgrimage to Mecca, a court was told.

Doctor Mohammed Irfam Khan used another doctor’s signature to gain prescription drugs worth just £36 to treat his asthma and eczema while he was away on a holy trip to Saudi Arabia.

Khan, who was an opthalmology registrar at Newport’s Royal Gwent Hospital, was on a salary of £44,000 and seen as a highly talented young doctor.

Khan, 35, of Blackoak Road, Cyncoed, appeared at Caerphilly Magistrates’ Court yesterday, where he admitted one count of forging the signature of doctor Shontanu Gudsoorkar and two counts of fraud by false representation, after gaining prescription medication at Asda, Pontprennau and Sainsbury’s Thornhill, Cardiff.

Prosecutor Rob Simkins said Khan worked as a speciality registrar in the Royal Gwent’s opthalmology department between August 2010 and August 2011, during which time he took two prescriptions from a pad, forging his colleague’s signature.

An Aneurin Bevan Health Board investigation found the antibiotics and medications he gained wouldn’t have been available to Khan from his GP or on the NHS.

Mr Simkins said: “It was just over £30 worth of prescription drugs, but it is not about the cost, but who he is, a doctor.”

Defence barrister Mark Crowley said Khan was worried about the weather conditions as he prepared to make a Hajj, or pilgrimage, to Saudi Arabia. He suffers from asthma and eczema and was worried they may flare up.

Mr Crowley said: “He prescribed drugs in his name for the pilgrimage and it was a completely stupid moment of madness for a minimal amount, the costs and consequences of which are of the utmost severity.” References were read out from other doctors at the Royal Gwent, who lamented the loss of a highly talented doctor.

He was suspended by the General Medical Council for 18 months and with the convictions staying on his record for five years, Mr Crowley said they will have “a massive effect on his ability to gain future employment”.

Chairwoman of the bench Susan Blair ordered Khan to undertake 60 hours unpaid work. He must also pay £2,162.61 compensation to the Aneurin Bevan Health Board and £85 costs.

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