A DOCTOR who conned the NHS by working at other hospitals whilst on paid sick leave has been struck off.

Dr Joao Muel carried out the ruse while working as a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny.

A tribunal heard he was convicted of fraud in 2019 for doing shifts at Wrexham Maelor Hospital while claiming he was unfit to attend work for Aneurin Bevan University Health.

The Slovakian national was sentenced to a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work by Gwent Magistrates' Court.


The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) was told Muel also worked shifts whilst on sick from Nevill Hall Hospital at Barnsley Hospital and Tameside Hospital in Greater Manchester.

The tribunal heard how the 55-year-old also provided poor clinical care to two patients in 2018.

This included failing to spot a swab left in a patient after surgery and failing to alert colleagues that a patient urgently needed a caesarean section.

Muel also admitted failing to inform Cwm Taf Morgannwg health board he was facing a fitness to practise investigation when he applied for a job there two years ago.

Rosalind Emsley-Smith, for the General Medical Council, said the doctor’s “dishonesty was at the high end of the level of seriousness in that it was premeditated, persistent and he lied to his regulator to cover up some of his dishonesty”.

With regards to his clinical misconduct, she submitted that Muel “had taken a rather arrogant approach to the evidence of the more senior expert in his field”.

Penny Maudsley, representing the doctor, said he was of previous good character and it was the first time in a long career that his fitness to practice has been found impaired by the MPTS.

From the early stages of this investigation, she put forward, he had accepted and “apologised for his failings and reflected on what went wrong”.

She added how he now accepted his conduct was dishonest, even if he did not regard it as dishonest at the time.

The tribunal heard how Muel has a family and young children and he was the main breadwinner.

Losing his registration would have a “catastrophic impact” on not only him but his family.

Ms Maudsley said his family would be thrown into destitution as he will not be able to pay the mortgage or bills as it was all his responsibility.

She submitted that the public interest is better served by Muel continuing to serve the public.

He had already been punished by the criminal courts for his dishonesty, she said, and he had carried out a community order and paid back all the money that he owed.

The tribunal found that "Dr Muel had carried out persistent acts of dishonesty and he had tried to cover them up".

It added his behaviour "was fundamentally incompatible with being a doctor".

As well as erasing him from the register, the MPTS also imposed an immediate suspension order to cover a 28-day period in which he can appeal.