A bungling surgeon who landed a top NHS job on a relative’s recommendation has been struck off for his ‘shocking failings’ after he botched seven operations in just three months.
Dr Faisal Sultan Siddiqui, 57, was ‘out of his depth’ when he was handed a locum post as consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Kingston Hospital, in south west London.
The hospital didn’t bother to interview him or even check his CV after a ‘family member working at the trust’ put in a good word, a tribunal heard.
But in just three months the medic managed to make a string of basic errors, leaving patients worse off than they were before they had been treated.
Blundering Siddiqui has now been struck off by a fitness to practise panel in Manchester, chaired by Sheila Hollingworth, who said his actions ‘raised serious concerns for patient safety’.
‘Dr Siddiqui was appointed to the locum post having neither been interviewed nor having had his CV reviewed, apparently following a personal recommendation from a family member working at the trust.
‘The trust was recruiting additional staff at that time in order to meet waiting list targets,’ Mrs Hollingworth said.
‘The panel has noted that Dr Siddiqui was appointed to a locum consultant post without the appropriate interview and pre-appointment checks being undertaken by the trust.
‘This is, of course, primarily the trust’s responsibility but the panel considers that Dr Siddiqui also had a responsibility to practise within the limits of his competence in this post which included the adequate supervision of trainee surgeons.
‘Dr Siddiqui appears to have accepted a post for which he might not have been appropriately trained, skilled or experienced.’
Siddiqui was referred to the GMC when a patient complained to the Kingston Hospital, where he was employed as a locum between January and March 2010.
During the subsequent investigation seven patients were identified where the doctor’s care fell below, or in six cases seriously below, the standard expected of a ‘reasonably competent consultant orthopaedic surgeon.
One of the patients was a five-year-old girl, known as Patient A, with a broken arm who had to undergo a second procedure after the surgeon failed to sufficiently reduce the fracture.
The GMC’s expert witness was particularly critical of Siddiqui’s treatment of a 39-year-old man, known only as Patient D, and a 38-year-old woman, referred to as Patient G.
Mr Philip Radford, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, described the standard of care as ‘extremely poor, indicating a substantial and serious lack of surgical judgement, surgical understanding and surgical skills.’
He told the panel that these patients were left in a worse condition after Siddiqui’s treatment and said he was ‘appalled and shocked’ by the doctor’s care.
Mrs Hollingworth said: ‘In the panel’s view, a pattern of poor care is evident from these cases.
‘The panel considers the failings to be shocking in their nature, scope and volume, particularly given the relatively short period of time in which they occurred.
‘These cases, which arose during a three month locum appointment, suggest a pattern of sub-standard practice which gives rise to serious concerns about patient safety.
‘Detriment resulted for six of these patients – four patients required subsequent and, in some cases, extensive revision surgery.
‘In addition, treatment was required for infections to which the patients in question were predisposed as a result of shortcomings in Dr Siddiqui’s surgical technique.’
The panel found that he had done nothing to address the concerns in the four years since the incidents and ruled that the only way to protect the public was to ban Siddiqui from working.
‘Rather than taking the ample opportunities afforded in almost four years since the date of the last incident in which to reflect, Dr Siddiqui has demonstrated wholesale disinterest in the harm that he has caused to patients and in the serious damage his actions have caused to the reputation of the medical profession, and of public confidence therein,’ Mrs Hollingworth said.
‘The panel has, therefore, determined that erasure of Dr Siddiqui’s name from the medical register is the only means of protecting patients and the wider public interest, including trust in the profession.’
Siddiqui, originally from Pakistan, was not present or represented at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester where he was handed effectively a life-time ban from working as doctor in the UK.
But the move is unlikely to faze the surgeon, who has worked in Pakistan, Ireland and Saudi Arabia. He has already left the country and has said he no longer plans to work in Britain.
Just last October he was brought to book by the Irish GMC after failing to tell the regulator about action against him in the UK.
The panel slammed his non-engagement with the regulatory process and his lack of remorse for the harm he has caused.
Mrs Hollingworth said: ‘There is no evidence whatsoever before the panel of any steps taken by Dr Siddiqui to acknowledge or remedy his failings.
‘The shortcomings are serious and wide-ranging. At one end of the spectrum are basic procedures which were badly executed.
‘At the other end, there are complex operations in which Dr Siddiqui failed to recognise that he was, in the words of the consultant who conducted Patient D’s post-operative review, -somewhat out of his depth, leaving patients worse off than they had been before surgery.’
She added: ‘Rather than acknowledging his culpability and taking steps to ensure such failings do not occur in the future, Dr Siddiqui has left the country and indicated that he does not intend to practise in the UK in the future.
‘Dr Siddiqui has neither recognised, nor taken responsibility for his failings or for the harm caused to patients as a result.
‘He has shown no remorse for the harm he has caused, and has shown no recognition of the impact his misconduct has had on the reputation of the profession.’