IN THE FAMILY HEALTH SERVICES APPEAL AUTHORITY
Case No: 10784
MR. ROBIN CHAUDHURI – CHAIRMAN
DR. G. SHARMA – PROFESSIONAL MEMBER
MR. T. BENNETT – MEMBER
WOLVERHAMPTON CITY PCT
DR. MIN THAN
(GMS Registration No: 3631759)
DECISION WITH REASONS
1. This is an application by Wolverhampton city PCT (hereinafter referred to “the PCT”) for a National Disqualification pursuant to S.49 Health and Social Care Act 2001.
2. At the hearing on 10th December 2003 the PCT were represented by Lynne Allen (Director of Primary Care) and Barbara Dingley (Investigating Officer).Dr. Than was neither present nor represented at the hearing. I should also add that all the members of the Panel have confirmed the declaration of “No interest”.
Dr. Than was included in the PCT’s Medical List on 1st November 1994. He was the junior partner in a three GP practice with Drs. Maung and Kyi when he first started working in Wolverhampton. Dr. Kyi left the practice on 31st March 2000 and was not replaced. Dr. Maung (Dr. Than’s father-in-law) retired from the practice on the 11th March 2001. This left Dr. Than as the only GP in the practice with a patient list of approximately seven thousand.
4. The following is a chronology of the main events since September 2000:
(i) On 22nd September 20000 Dr. Than pleaded “guilty” to assaulting his wife. The Wolverhampton Magistrates Court fined Dr. Than £1,200.
(ii) During January and February 2001 complaints were received of Dr. Than’s use of alcohol whilst performing clinical duties.
(iii) On 23rd July 2001 the PCT reported Dr. Than to the General Medical Council (“GMC”) for working whilst unfit. An urgent psychiatric opinion was sought. Subsequently Dr. Than was admitted to hospital as an acute psychiatric emergency.
(iv) On 27th September 2001 the GMC’s Interim Orders Committee imposed a number of conditions upon Dr. Than’s registration for a period of 18 months. These conditions included the close medical supervision of a Consultant Psychiatrist and the absolute prohibition of alcohol.
(v) On 28th November 2001 the Director of Public Health wrote to DR. Than to arrange a meeting to discuss the issues raised on 27th September 2001. Dr. Than never replied to this letter. It appears that between 27th September 2001 and 21st December 2001 Dr. Than left the country without making any arrangements for his patients.
(vi) The GMC were notified of the position and subsequently the GMC’s Interim Orders Committee renewed the order of 27th September 2001 on 19th March 2002 and 12th June 2002. On 4th September 2002 the Committee renewed the conditions but also imposed an order for suspension. On 21st October 2002 the GMC’s Health Committee directed that Dr. Than’s registration be suspended for 12 months from 24th Nov ember 2002. Dr. Than did not attend any of the hearings mentioned above. It is important to point out that there have been numerous attempts to notify Dr. Than by post in England and Myanmar.
(vii) On 18th June 2003the PCT wrote to Dr. Than’s last known address to inform him of their intention to remove him from their Medical List. No reply was received.
5. On 18th July 2003 the PCT’s Professional List Panel decided to remove Dr. Than from the Medical List, pursuant to S.49 F(2) and (4) Health and Social Care Act 2001, i.e. on the grounds of “efficiency” and “unsuitability”. Subsequently, the PCT wrote to the FHSAA on 4th September 2003 to seek a national disqualification. Dr. Than’s Defence Union was contacted about these proceedings. They confirmed that there had been no contact with Dr. Than since July 2002.
6. THE LAW
In reaching our decision, the Panel have considered:
(i) S.49 F Health and Social Care Act 2001;
(ii) S.49 N Health and Social Care Act 2001;
(iii) Article 6 of the European Convention.
With reference to the provisions of Article 6, there is an overriding obligation to ensure that Dr. Than has had the right to a fair hearing. The right to a fair hearing requires, among other things, that Dr. Than has been afforded a real and effective access to these proceedings and has been provided with the opportunity to present his case. The Panel has unanimously concluded that Dr. Than has had every opportunity to participate and to present his case during these proceedings.
7. THE DECISION
The Panel have unanimously concluded that Dr. Than should be nationally disqualified from all lists contained in S.49 N (1) (a) – (c) (inclusive) Health and Social Care Act 2001.
(i) Dr. Than’s decision to leave the country in late 2001 suggests a total disregard for:
(a) the well being of his patients; and
(b) the remaining staff at his GP practice.
(ii) The Panel were concerned that Dr. Than appears to have taken hardly any meaningful steps to deal with his alcohol problem;
(iii) There is no evidence to suggest that Dr. Than took any steps to comply with the conditions imposed by the GMC’s IOC. Such behaviour shows a total disregard for the Committee’s decision;
(iv) The Panel were concerned that Dr. Than appears to have shown little or no remorse for the assault conviction upon his wife.
9. Any party to these proceedings has the right to appeal this decision under and by virtue of S.11 Tribunals and Inquiries Act 1992. A Notice of Appeal must be filed in the District Registry of an Appeal Centre on the Circuit in which the FHSAA is situated within 28 days.
Dated this ……day of………………………2003