19 Mar 2010

Why I forged a practising certificate - Auckland GP

10:00 pm on 19 March 2010

An Auckland GP who admitted forging a practising certificate says he did so out of concern for patients who would have been left without a doctor.

Dr Ratilal Ranchhod was found guilty last year of professional misconduct for forging a practising certificate while under suspension following 16 patient complaints.

Health Minister Tony Ryall has ordered the Medical Council to report back in detail how it dealt with the case, which had prompted several warnings from the Health and Disability Commissioner.

Dr Ranchhod told Checkpoint that forging the certificate was a desperate, irrational act on his part at a time when he was under huge stress.

He had been unable to find anyone else to see patients through his business, Housecall, which was contracted to rest homes and prisons.

He says that the 16 complaints over 11 years were mainly to do with communication with patients, and that the Medical Council found no fault with his clinical practice.

Commissioner's repeated warnings ignored

Mr Ryall ordered an investigation after the Health and Disability Commission criticised the Medical Council for failing to act sooner, despite repeated warnings from the commissioner.

Mr Ryall says the council has admitted it could have moved faster and kept the commissioner better informed.

He says he has asked it to provide him with a full report of its dealings with Dr Ranchhod by the end of this month.

The Medical Council has declined to comment.