DOCTOR INVOLVED IN DRUG DEALING IS FREE TO PRACTICE AGAIN

A young doctor who helped ‘facilitate’ the supply of cannabis and ketamine to win favour among a new circle of friends has been told he is now fit to practice.

Dr Pretesh Shah, 29, put friends in touch with dealers while working at St Mary’s hospital on the Isle of Wight.

The doctor told the General Medical Council he had been ‘naive, foolish and stupid’ but added: ‘I have learned from my mistakes’.

Shah was convicted of being involved in the supply of drugs at Newport Crown Court on the island in August last year and ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service.

He admitted the charges, saying he did not take drugs himself, but had helped friends get in contact with dealers within a social circle.

Shah also admitted allowing others to take drugs in his house and using his phone to act as a middle man and answer questions about drugs.

In a letter to the GMC, which the young doctor read out, he said the had acted in ignorance of the law and without thought.

He wrote: ‘I have realised the error of my ways.’

The letter said: ‘The convictions against me are very serious and they will affect me for the rest of my life.’

The doctor had began providing contact numbers for people who could help supply drugs to win favour in a new social circle after moving to the Isle of Wight, the hearing was told.

He had begun attending outdoor parties on the island, where he had met new friends, who asked him if he knew where to get drugs.

‘I thought if I gave them a favour they would let me know where the next party is,’ he said.

‘It was new acquaintances, it was trying to keep people happy.

‘I was not thinking of the consequences.’

He added: ‘The way I was looking at it at the time was that the people who were taking drugs didn’t seem to show an significant signs of addiction.

‘The view at the time was it was similar to people smoking or drinking.’

Shah stressed that his involvement had been as a middleman within a social circle, and he received no money in the deals arranged through him.

Asked whether he had ever taken drugs himself, he replied: ‘I have been to Amsterdam once, that’s about it.’

Richard Milne, for the GMC, told the panel: ‘A conviction for trafficking drugs, albeit class C drugs, is clearly a very serious matter.’

Shah said he had broken ties with his former party friends and was now back living with his parents in the Harrow area of northwest London.

A certificate from the Harrow probation office confirmed he has completed the community service.

GMC panel chairman Richard Kyle said Shah’s role was ‘limited to being that of a facilitator in the social supply of cannabis and ketamine to friends and acquaintances who were already using such drugs’.

Mr Kyle told the doctor: ‘You have shown remorse and clearly regret your lapse in behaviour.

‘The panel takes a serious view of your drug-related conviction and considers that at the time of the offences your fitness to practice was impaired.’

Mr Kyle told Shah his fitness to practise was no longer impaired but issuing him with a formal warning said: ‘Your criminal acts constituted a breach of good medical practice.

‘The panel considers that repetition of this behaviour would be likely to result in a finding of impairment.

‘Whilst, when viewed in the light of all of the circumstances of your case, your actions did not give rise to a finding of impairment, they fell just below the threshold for such a finding.

‘Consequently, the panel takes the view that a formal response is merited and is required to meet the public interest.’
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