An optometrist who altered a patient record following a complaint has been suspended for nine months by the General Optical Council (GOC).
A GOC fitness to practise committee found that Nottingham optometrist, Alpesh Bhundia, had acted dishonestly when he made a series of amendments to a young patient’s record after a complaint was made by the patient’s mother.
Mr Bhundia examined the patient at Specsavers Ely in September 2014. The mother of the patient returned to the store in February 2015 to complain that her child’s prescription was inaccurate.
She then contacted the GOC about the allegedly inaccurate prescription and the regulator informed Mr Bhundia that he was under investigation.
The fitness to practise committee highlighted that on each occasion Mr Bhundia accessed the patient’s record to add further information.
During the committee hearing, Mr Bhundia accepted that his actions were inappropriate and misleading but did not accept that they were dishonest.
His legal adviser submitted on his behalf that he had not altered any of the values that were recorded during the examination.
It was argued that although Mr Bhundia had subsequently added further information, this was for the purpose of “tidying up” the record.
The committee, chaired by Pamela Ormerod, concluded that the optometrist’s conduct was dishonest.
“On his own account, he did it so as to protect himself. To create a false record in this way is dishonest,” the decision noted.
In issuing a sanction, the committee took into account that Mr Bhundia had shown genuine remorse for his conduct and had developed some insight into what had gone wrong.
The committee also concluded that the risk of repetition was low.
Mr Bhundia has until 6 March to appeal the decision. If no appeal is lodged by this date, the suspension order will take effect on 7 March 2018.