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April 13 2007
Optometrist Samir Patel has been fined £2,500 after he was found to have practised when not registered.
The Wolverhampton practitioner's registration had been removed on August 16 2005 because he had not provided evidence of insurance when, between August 16 2005 and February 20 2006 he tested the sight of patients.
At a fitness to practise hearing last month allegations that he signed and countersigned several GOS forms at Ideal Eyes, Wolverhampton, and submitted some of them to the city's PCT for payment while not registered were admitted and proven.
Announcing its decision, panel chair Fran Jones told the hearing: "Mr Patel was removed from the register of optometrists on 16 August 2005 for not providing evidence of insurance. On 20 September 2005 a letter was sent to Mr Patel from Wolverhampton PCT informing him that the PCT had been notified that his name had been removed from the GOC's register and therefore his name had also been removed from the PCT's contractor ophthalmic list. Mr Patel in his evidence said that he did not receive the PCT's letter. In January 2006 Mr Patel was written to by Mr Timothy Sadler of the PCT to inform him that despite not being on the list, he had received a total of £9,698 in fees to which he was not entitled. In the intervening months, Mr Patel had authorised GOS forms 1, 3 and 4 when he was not registered as an optometrist to receive payment from the Trust."
Registration and continuation of membership of the profession is a fundamental requirement, she said.
"Mr Patel has demonstrated a basic disregard of this important requirement. The public interest and safety is not protected by such disregard. We consider that he has demonstrated a level of irresponsibility towards patients and towards his professional responsibilities which are inconsistent with the practises of a reasonably competent optometrist. Consequently we find Mr Patel's fitness to practise as an optometrist impaired."
After imposing the financial penalty, to be paid within three months of the hearing, she added, "We trust that these matters will not occur again and expect all practitioners will be assiduous in ensuring that registration is maintained."