.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital doctor suspended for 'serious and persistent' dishonesty

A Derbyshire doctor has been suspended from practising medicine after being found guilty of “serious and persistent” dishonesty.

Dr Stephen Macshane, who worked as an associate specialist in emergency medicine at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, was handed a four-month suspension.

He is unable to practice medicine during this suspension. A formal date for the end of his suspension will be set once the appeal period has lapsed – but is likely to be in October.

The penalty came to fruition after a hearing held by the Medical Practitioner’s Tribunal Service (MPTS) in Manchester last month.

Dr Macshane’s case had been brought to tribunal by the General Medical Council (GMC).

A report on the hearing says that his case hinged on an event two years ago in which he “lied repeatedly” to colleagues about the identification of a dead patient.

At the time he had been employed at the trust for two to three years.

On June 19, 2017, Dr Macshane had sought to save the deceased patient’s widow the distress of having to see her husband’s dead body, the report says.

It says that the patient had died while under the care of Dr Macshane after being brought into the hospital having suffered a cardio-respiratory attack.

Instead of showing the widow her husband’s body in the mortuary, Dr Macshane confirmed identifying marks on the patient with her.

What these were was not detailed in the report but they but they could have included birthmarks or tattoos.

The tribunal heard that Dr Macshane’s lies unravelled after the coroner was presented with two different dates of birth for the patient – along with CCTV evidence which showed that Dr Macshane had not been to the mortuary.

The doctor’s own accounts of the incident had shown that he was “unfamiliar” with the layout of the mortuary itself.

Tribunal officials, led by chairman Angus Macpherson, felt that Dr Macshane’s indiscretion had brought the medical profession “into disrepute”.

In responses to the tribunal, at which he did not appear or send representation, Dr Macshane claimed that he had chosen to retire from the medical profession regardless of the tribunal and said that it was a “waste of money”.

He said: “I regret ever having decided to serve the people of Chesterfield or its trust.”

In a tribunal report, Mr Macpherson said that Dr Macshane only admitted to his lies once it became clear that the trust had sufficient information to “unseat” his account.

Dr Macshane had eventually apologised, in interviews following the incident, saying that he “brought matters on his own head” and that it was a “shame”.

The tribunal heard that he feared losing his job.

Shortly after the incident, on June 23, 2017, Dr Macshane was excluded from the hospital – the same day as his apology.

However, two weeks later, on July 7, 2017, he was allowed to return to Chesterfield Royal in a non-clinical role.

Later that year he returned to his previous role as an associate specialist in emergency medicine because the trust had “sufficient confidence” in him, the report says.

He remained in this post until January this year, when he was let go for unknown reasons “unrelated” to the incident discussed at tribunal.

The trust did not reveal this reason(s) when asked.

Mr Macpherson said that the tribunal was “disappointed” that Dr Macshane had not assured them that he had solved his indiscretion and that a similar incident would not happen again.

In his report, Mr Macpherson said that Dr Macshane’s motive for the incident was “benevolent” – well-meaning and kindly.

However, he wrote: “These matters do not go to the protection and promotion of the health, safety and well-being of the public.

“Instead they go to the maintenance of public confidence in the medical profession and the need to promote and maintain proper professional standards and conduct for members of the profession.

“In the view of the tribunal, by his misconduct Dr Macshane has brought the profession into disrepute and breached a fundamental tenet of the profession, namely the requirement to act at all times with honesty and integrity.

“In these circumstances the tribunal has reached the conclusion that a finding of impairment of fitness to practise is required.”

Before the end of Dr Macshane’s suspension the tribunal service will undertake a review to see if he is deemed ready to practice medicine again.

A spokesperson for the Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have a duty of care to our patients and their carers – and expect our staff to live up to our core values.

“Openness and honesty are vital for effective clinical care – so we can learn from positive and negative experiences.  

“If these standards have purposely not been met we will take steps to address the issue.

“Sometimes this means individuals’ professional practices come under scrutiny.

“In 2017 concerns were raised about Dr Macshane and the trust dealt with these appropriately.

“We understand the General Medical Council hearing has also reached its conclusions and we wish Dr Macshane all the best for his future.”

More from Local

Cover art for One Last Time

On Air

Max Mallen playing Ariana Grande - One Last Time