NHS doctor suspended for treating private patients during pandemic

Dr Enson Thomas had been a consultant for almost 21 years.

Dr Enson Thomas

Pramod Thomas

A physician responsible for managing several coronavirus admissions has been suspended for secretly attending to private patients during NHS hours at the peak of the pandemic.

Dr Enson Thomas, 58, a consultant for nearly 21 years, from Bromham, near Bedford, was appointed as the Covid-19 Lead by Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, where he played a significant role in managing Covid-related admissions during the pandemic.

However, he was found to have treated private patients while on NHS shifts without authorisation, reported the MailOnline.

Following a hearing at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, Thomas (who qualified from Kerala in south India) was found guilty of serious professional misconduct and suspended from practising for two months.

The misconduct hearing heard that Thomas was responsible for working extended hours across two busy hospitals during the crisis. However, it emerged that he left his NHS shifts to treat 38 private patients at a chest clinic.

Over a span of 19 months, from 2019 to 2021, Thomas was also found to have improperly used NHS resources for his private practice, including stationery and postage stamps.

During the investigation, Thomas’s secretary revealed that he had forced her into favouring his private practice over attending to NHS patients.

The physician worked at four BUPA hospitals, including a facility in London’s Harley Street in the past.

Although his contract permitted time for private work, Thomas treated patients privately during his NHS shifts, particularly those suffering from asbestos-related illnesses.

In his defence, the NHS doctor admitted to treating private patients during his lunch breaks, but acknowledged the impropriety of doing so during contracted NHS hours, expressing remorse for his actions.

Thomas was cleared of pressuring his secretary into aiding his private practice; however, he faces a review later this year, with expectations of returning to work after the suspension period.