A HOSPITAL consultant helped his wife jump the queue when she went to Bournemouth A&E and then took medical supplies to treat her at home, a disciplinary hearing was told.
Dr Brian Flavin subsequently falsified medical records in an attempt to hide the treatment he was providing.
A Medical Practitioner’s Tribunal Service (MPTS) has now ruled that he had committed “serious misconduct” and imposed a 28-day suspension.
Dr Flavin, who has now relocated to Ireland, was employed by the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Trust (RBCHT) as a consultant in emergency medicine at the time of the incidents, between July 2016 and April 2017.
The tribunal heard his wife attended A&E when he was working on a busy Sunday night requiring assistance for an injury she had suffered.
Dr Flavin said that because he knew her medical history and the only consultant colleague available was on resuscitation duty, he bypassed the usual system by sending her for an immediate X-ray. She was discharged 26 minutes later. The nature of the injury was not revealed.
Over the next eight months he provided home medical care to his wife on five occasions, using medical supplies, including intravenous fluid and dressings he took from the trust.
In April 2017 he falsified documents to claim his wife had attended A&E when she had not, so he could prescribe her medicine.
Dr Flavin, the tribunal heard, had been worried that taking any time off work to help care for his wife could lead to questions over his attendance record. He told colleagues about what he had done and asked them informally for advice on how to treat his wife.
But concerns were raised and Dr Flavin was referred to the General Medical Council (GMC) in August 2017 by a trust manager.
There followed an internal disciplinary hearing and Dr Flavin resigned from RBCHT.
The tribunal ruling was partly redacted because some of the hearing was held in private owing to confidential health matters relating to Dr Flavin’s family.
Dr Flavin admitted most of the misconduct accusations, but denied a claim alleging he had implied to a colleague he wanted a prescription for his wife. After hearing evidence the tribunal found that claim was not proved.
In his evidence, Dr Flavin said he had been “horrified” by his actions, but was under “stressful and trying” personal and professional circumstances at the time.
The tribunal highlighted the incidents were the only instances of wrongdoing during his career, and he was considered a “good and honest” doctor.
Dr Flavin had made a “number of significant lifestyle changes” since the incident to manage his stress levels, and had sold his Bournemouth home.
In its ruling, the tribunal said Dr Flavin’s actions put his wife “at risk”, but it understood his actions at the A&E department were intended to keep it running “as smoothly and efficiently as possible”.
“The tribunal, therefore, determined that a period of suspension would be an appropriate and proportionate sanction that would promote and maintain public confidence in the profession and proper professional standards of conduct and behaviour.”
It continued: “It took into account the impact that this sanction may have upon Dr Flavin, his patients, and others who rely upon his contribution to medicine.
“However, in all the circumstances the tribunal concluded that Dr Flavin’s interests are outweighed by the need to send a clear message to him, the profession, and the wider public that the type of behaviour he exhibited constituted behaviour unbefitting of a registered doctor.
“Dr Flavin has remediated as much as possible and taken active steps to avoid repetition of his misconduct, including moving to Ireland to rely upon his support network there and reducing his financial obligations,” the tribunal added.
A RBCHT spokesperson said it had not seen the report and had nothing to add.