Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

GP Said 127 Taxi Drivers Were Fit to Work - but He Hadn't Checked Their Medical Histories

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

GP Said 127 Taxi Drivers Were Fit to Work - but He Hadn't Checked Their Medical Histories

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVE ROBSON dave.robson@trinitymirror.com @Daverobson_gaz

A DOCTOR has been suspended after he declared 127 taxi drivers were fit to work - without even seeing their medical records.

Dr Bimal Singh carried out "medicals" on Middlesbrough and Hartlepool taxi drivers, who were applying for or renewing their licences, during 2014 and 2015.

But a tribunal heard he completed certificates of fitness to drive taxis without checking their medical records.

Had he done so, he'd have found several past medical episodes, including one driver who had a history of drinking excess alcohol. The same driver, the Manchester Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing was told, had mental health issues and made three suicide attempts in 2012.

Ten other drivers' medical histories were raised at the tribunal and included references to long-term mental health problems, low mood, back pain, hypertension, depression and, in one driver's case, psychotic episodes associated with cannabis in September 2012 and January 2013.

Dr Singh admitted making false declarations about the fitness to drive of the applicants.

But he denied his actions were misleading and/or dishonest and was suspended for one month only, with the tribunal ruling any longer would be a "punitive" sanction.

The hearing was told that Dr Singh, an experienced doctor who has worked in the UK since 1979, carried out the taxi drivers' medicals privately, in addition to his normal GP working hours, between October 2014 and June 2015.

But in June 2015, Middlesbrough and Hartlepool councils raised concerns with NHS England, having received reports he was carrying out "an increasing number" of taxi medicals - all brief and for a relatively low fee. When challenged, Dr Singh admitted carrying them out without seeing medical histories, and acknowledged he "ought to have known" he should have. …

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