A GP has been suspended from practice after filing a fabricated whiplash report for a family member despite never examining the alleged victim.
Dr Anthony Kaufman was found to have been ‘obviously dishonest’ by a panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) after submitting the report.
Dr Kaufman prepared the report in January 2012 on behalf of his wife’s daughter’s fiancé, Max Turbett, who had been involved in a road traffic accident the previous year.
Turbett had filed a compensation claim after talking with Dr Kaufman’s wife Pauline, who was a director at Chester-based medical agency Countrywide Doctors Services Ltd.
She recommended Turbett should make the claim through Liverpool law firm Hampson Hughes and Dr Kaufman subsequently prepared a report of Turbett’s injuries.
There is no evidence to suggest Hampson Hughes was aware the claim was not meritorious.
Turbett referred the matter to the General Medical Council four months later after a family fallout, alleging Dr Kaufman had prepared the medico-legal report without having examined him.
Turbett said he had suffered no significant injuries as a result of the accident and he subsequently dropped the claim.
The GMC alleged that Dr Kaufman agreed with his wife to prepare a report that would ensure compensation for a whiplash injury. It also alleged he acted dishonestly because he knew it was inappropriate to accept instructions from his step-daughter’s partner.
In a hearing last month, the MPTS panel said it was satisfied Mrs Kaufman had told Turbett he could make a claim ‘despite the fact that he had not suffered any significant injuries’.
The panel said that on the balance of probabilities Dr Kaufman had ‘never visited the house’ where Turbett lived and ‘fabricated’ evidence of his injuries.
It added: ‘The panel considers that the preparation of a medico-legal report which was defective in the respects found proved, without carrying out any examination, is obviously dishonest.
‘It considers that you could not have possibly thought that such a fabricated report was anything other than dishonest.’
The panel said his report fell ‘seriously short’ of the standards expected of a registered medical practitioner and that his conduct amounted to ‘serious misconduct’.
Dr Kaufman’s legal representative argued he had taken steps to withdraw from the business of preparing medico-legal reports.
He added that the publication of the panel’s decision was an added punishment and Dr Kaufman had an offer for a part-time one-year contract working as a GP, subject to the findings of the panel.
The panel decided to impose a six-month suspension and review at the end of that period to decide his fitness to continue to practise.
Dr Kaufman, who first registered with the GMC as a GP in 1978, has written more than 10,000 medical reports for use in personal injury claims since 1994.