Mansfield doctor suspended for his ‘dishonesty’

A MANSFIELD family doctor who falsified the health records of vulnerable patients at a care home has been suspended.

Dr Hans-Herbert Leo Mayer was supposed to be looking after people with learning disabilities at Dovecote Residential Home in Pleasley.

But on two visits to carry out annual health checks at the Bagshaw Street home in January 2010 he did not examine a single patient.

Instead, Dr Mayer, who was formerly a GP at Bull Farm Primary Care Resource Centre, filled in blood pressure readings, pulse rates and weight and body mass index figures himself.

He admitted being ‘misleading’ and ‘dishonest’ during a fitness to practise hearing last week at the General Medical Council in Manchester.

But a panel decided Dr Mayer should not be struck off because his actions were out of character in a previously unblemished 30-year career in Germany and the UK.

He was instead suspended for nine months and told to ‘consider and reflect’ upon his misconduct.

Dr Mayer has 28 days to appeal, and during this period can continue to practise.

If he does not appeal, the suspension will begin at the end of December.

The panel’s chairman, Professor Stephen Miller, said: “The panel regards your behaviour in entering false data onto patient records when you had not carried out any examinations, and the sustained period over which you maintained this falsehood, as representing a particularly serious departure from the standards of behaviour which the public is entitled to expect from its doctors.

“It has also found that your clinical deficiencies constituted a deplorable breach of medical standards.

“The panel has already noted that these breaches may have put patient safety at risk, have undermined the reputation of the profession and have left the panel concerned as to whether there may be residual risks of repetition of your dishonesty.”

According to its website, Dovecote Residential Home looks after people with Down Syndrome, epilepsy, head and brain injury, and speech and visual impairment.

Annual health checks are offered to people with a learning disability because they are more likely to develop health conditions and generally die at a younger age than the rest of the population.

The checks were introduced in 2009 and GPs receive £100 for each check they carry out.

Speaking after the hearing, David Congdon, head of campaigns and policy for the Mencap charity, said health checks for people with learning disabilities were vital and saved lives.

“All the evidence shows that health checks are hugely valuable and can help uncover a lot of hidden health problems,” he said.

“As doctors are paid an additional sum to carry out this service it’s important that they get it right.

“This will not only ensure that health inequalities for people with learning disabilities are effectively tackled but also help prevent further abuses of the system.”

Professor Miller said there was no suggestion of any other dishonesty or clinical failings on the part of Dr Mayer and his actions had been out of character.

Dr Trevor Mills, medical director for NHS Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County, reassured patients at the Bull Farm surgery that GP services will continue as normal.

He said: “The surgery will remain open and accessible to all patients during usual opening hours. Out of hours cover is also available by calling the surgery’s usual number.”