A doctor’s fitness to practice was impaired by misconduct after he threatened to refer NHS Trusts – including Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Trust – to their regulator unless they reached a financial settlement with him, a disciplinary panel has ruled.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) found Dr Farhan Hussain Zaidi’s conduct fell “far below the standards to be expected” of a registered medical practitioner and has imposed conditions on his registration for 12 months.
In these circumstances it cannot be said that your conduct in the context of your employment tribunal claims was intended to elicit unwarranted financial reward
Dr Zaidi began 99 employment tribunal claims between October 2012 and July 2013 against 15 National Health Service trusts.
The disciplinary tribunal concluded Dr Zaidi had made a number of “very serious allegations” against colleagues and others involved in dealing with his employment claims, without producing any reasonable objective evidence to support his accusations.
The hearing in Manchester was told Dr Zaidi claimed he had suffered discrimination whenseeking employment on the basis of religion, race, age and as a result of making protected disclosures.
The protected disclosures, which were to be defended by the individual trusts, related to patient safety concerns.
The tribunal found his conduct had been vexatious when in November 2013 he made statements proposing to refer Yeovil to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) – yet would avert from doing so if a financial settlement, namely “in a sum exceeding £100,000”, could be reached.
The tribunal heard when told he would be pursued for costs against him by Yeovil Trust after requesting the “decent six-figure sum”, he withdrew claims.
It was also found proved that Dr Zaidi would not refer South Devon to the CQC if it agreed to a “reasonable” settlement.
A month prior, it was found proved that he made statements to Hillingdon Hospitals’ legal representative proposing to send a letter about patient safety to an external regulator, but then changed his mind.
Dr Zaidi was to withdraw 98 of the claims. It was also found proved that he wasted NHS resources in relation to Moorfields and Plymouth trusts. A spokesman for Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Dr Zaidi was never employed by the Trust but did make a number of claims alleging discrimination which were subsequently withdrawn. The Trust issued a response to the employment tribunal claims made by Dr Zaidi.’’
While Dr Zaidi accepted making and withdrawing claims, it was the GMC’s case that his conduct was vexatious in the aftermath of the claims, that it resulted in a waste of NHS resources and that it was intended to elicit unwarranted financial reward.
It was not the GMC’s case that he had issued the claims in bad faith, nor that the claims were ill-founded.
Chairman of the panel Prof Stephen Miller said: “The tribunal noted your conduct was repeated over a period of time and considered it will have harmed some of your colleagues and wasted resources.
“Your actions took place in the context of your applications for consultant posts and involved your strongly-held views on patient safety issues.”
But the tribunal did not find Dr Zaidi’s conduct was intended to elicit unwarranted financial reward.
Mr Miller added: “In these circumstances it cannot be said that your conduct in the context of your employment tribunal claims was intended to elicit unwarranted financial reward.”
Dr Zaidi must notify the GMC of any post he accepts, and if disciplinary proceedings against him are started.