Dozy doctor is suspended

Hospital bosses last night insisted a bungling doctor who was so bad colleagues thought he was mimicking television hospital dramas never presented a danger to the public.

Hospital bosses last night insisted a bungling doctor who was so bad colleagues thought he was mimicking television hospital dramas never presented a danger to the public.

Polish medical graduate Robert Miela was suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC) yesterday after the tribunal was told he lasted just six weeks as a trainee doctor at the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston.

The disciplinary hearing heard how Miela lacked basic skills and often seemed to "dry up" when asked the simplest of questions. He struggled to perform duties expected of hospital porters.

But a hospital director said that the trainee, who worked in the general medical department, was always closely supervised by senior doctors when dealing with patients. He was sacked after failing standard tests - vindicating safeguards, she said.

Concerns first came to light in an email from trouble-shooter Dr Guy Vautier, called in to help Miela. He said: "I have very serious concerns that he's trying to mimic what he sees. His knowledge is that of someone who keenly observes medical television series."

Dr Peter Harrison, a consultant physician and the trust's director, gave evidence via video link. He said Miela was stopped during an assessment in basic-life support.

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He added: "Basic-life support is what we train up our porters to do. This is the kind of thing you learn at the Red Cross. We would anticipate a graduate from a UK medical school to be at intermediate level.

"We are not there to shame the trainees or embarrass them. He couldn't do it and there was no point going on. There was no point saying 'do this, do that' because he couldn't do it."

Miela joined the hospital in August 2005 and left the following month after the failed tests. The GMC found that he had failed to meet the standard expected of a reasonably competent new medical graduate that he was.

He failed to reach required standards in five areas including post-op management, taking drug histories, interpreting X-rays and data interpretation.

Since leaving the hospital he has returned to Poznan in western Poland. He did not attend the hearing and has complained to Polish authorities saying the GMC is harassing him.

Panel chairman Peter Jeffreys found Miela did not possess the "knowledge or skills" to perform his duties.

He said: "Regrettably, Dr Harrison concluded that Dr Miela could not manage a patient unsupervised and that in order to get Dr Miela could not manage a patient unsupervised and that in order to get him 'up to speed' to the requisite standard he would require at least another year's training."

Speaking to the EDP after the case, Wendy Slaney, the JPH's medical director, said Miela was appointed to the trust through a national appointment process.

"As a result of the robust induction and assessment carried out at this trust of all new doctors concerns regarding Dr Miela were identified," she added.

"The trust therefore made an appropriate referral to the GMC who have subsequently investigated the matter. The doctor was only employed by the trust for a very short period during which time he was under continuous supervision. "The trust continues to apply this system of competency assessment which enables rapid identification of any training need or deficiency."

The GMC said it will review the suspension before it expires to see if any further penalty should be imposed. A spokesman said: "In view of the serious and wide ranging concerns regarding Dr Miela's practise and the consequent risk to patient safety, the panel has determined that it is necessary for the protection of members of the public, is in the public interest, and is in Dr Miela's own interests, that his registration be suspended with immediate effect.

"The purpose of the sanctions is not to be punitive but to protect patients and the public interest, although they may have a punitive effect.

"The public interest includes not only the protection of patients but also the maintenance of public confidence in the profession, as well as declaring and upholding proper standards of conduct and behaviour."

The ruling added: "The Panel considers that Dr Miela's deficiencies in performance are not fundamentally incompatible with him remaining a registered medical practitioner.

"Dr Miela may well have the ability to understand the nature of his deficiencies and his training needs and therefore have sufficient insight to be rehabilitated."

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