Locum optometrist sanctioned by the GOC following false appointment booking

A Hertfordshire-based practitioner has been suspended for nine months after she claimed to have carried out a dilated fundus examination and wrongly amended records

A Hertfordshire-based optometrist who told a colleague that she had performed a dilated fundus examination when she had not has received a nine-month suspension order from the General Optical Council (GOC).

A GOC fitness to practise committee decision described how locum optometrist Bansi Shah created an additional appointment slot for a patient to receive a dilated fundus exam but the patient did not receive dilation.

When asked by a colleague about the appointment, Ms Shah said that dilation had been carried out when it had not.

The decision highlighted that Ms Shah also falsely amended the patient’s records, stating that a dilated fundus examination had been performed.

The committee emphasised that dishonesty is a serious matter and that Ms Shah had shown limited insight into her conduct.

She has until 12 December to appeal her suspension.

Comments (4)

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  • Anonymous30 January 2020

    I think there are interesting points raised about the clinic timing and ability to catch up. I agree that as a locum myself that 'squeezing in an appointment' can vastly affect timings but I know my timing and I address this with a store before I book. If I'm not satisfied I can follow through with the clinic timing I don't book. Having said that occasional delays are inevitable for various reasons.

    I think it's clear hear that the issue with registrant was not the optom attempting to reduce a backlog but the fact that the registrant lied and ammendments made to a record card. This is where the issue lies as the integrity of the individual is under question. As per the goc standards we must keep clear, accurate and, contemporaneous records but also to work with honesty and integrity. I feel the issue could have been prevented completely if the registrant had told the truth regarding the extra appointment booked and not doctoring patient records.

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  • Anonymous25 January 2020

    This is very concerning. It seems Witness A is the Team Leader at Practice A of Company A at the relevant time. Apparently the GOC is satisfied that a non registrant has been put in a position to make a decision on how catch up appointments are authorised. Can this be correct that someone without direct or indirect clinical responsibilities can be put in this onerous position. Surely the handbrake on unfettered commerciality is clinical responsibilityAttempt and in a regulated profession, I would fully expect that those decisions must be made by a registrant who is aware of the responsibility that they hold if they do not allow the performer the time that they feel need to do their job.
    I don’t know how often appointments are booked. However if it was 20 minutes and by 1050 they were 10 minutes behind after seeing 5 people and the optom felt it necessary to attempt to block out two slots before mid morning, there may be something else going on. If the optom can’t keep pace with the diary is there more than patients 3 per hour being booked, or does the optom have form for this to make the day more leisurely.
    I would like to have facts, which I don’t so can only speculate.
    If 6 patients are being booked per hour - the responsibility of the corporate registrant should be examined.
    If the Locum optom is work shy, don’t rebook her.
    If the optom needs to book out a slot, make them justify it at the end of the day, so as to minimise the impact on the clinic.
    It seems poor decisions were made by the optom after real time intervention by the team leader who seemingly can legitimately rule how long an optom can spend on a test. If there was a caring environment for both staff and patients this would not have even been a discussion. Alternatively if the store was unhappy with the speed of the Locum they didn’t need to hire her again. It sad...

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  • Anonymous24 January 2020

    The GOC rules on allowing sufficient time to complete the examination apply to all registrants, and in a corporate environment there will always be two, the performer and corporate body, which often is the director of professional services. For too long the corporate registrant is forgotten about about and the performer is allowed to be thrown under the bus and the company allowed to continue to fully book appointment diary’s and actively encourage walk in appointments to be “squeezed in”. Who has not heard those word?

    Report 7

  • Anonymous10 December 2019

    Very interesting. Read the GOC FTP report. The store and company is redacted but the software system used is not "Socrates". The optom fell foul of the system as she tried to catch up running late but it was not permitted for an optom to exercise professional judgement and rebook a patient for review. Turns out she added the patient as if they were returning for dilated exam but in fact it was to create space to catch up....Optom suspended for dishonesty. No comment on policy of store where consent to book additional appointments or follow ups needs to be sought ? Professional independence ? touchy...

    Report 33

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