The Village Surgery Doctor Suspended For Deceiving Harpenden Patient

Profile image for debbigg

By debbigg | Thursday, September 30, 2010, 14:52

Dr John Stephens of The Village Surgery in Amenbury Lane has been suspended for four months after The General Medical Council heard how he fleeced a Harpenden patient, John Kearns, out of £1,300 during ten visits over 21 months.

According to a report by The Daily Mail, the deception by the married father of three, only came to light after the patient’s wife called a radio consumer programme and was advised that she should not have handed over cash and cheques.

Speaking to The Daily Mail, Mrs Kearns said: “Maybe we were naive but we didn’t realise we did not have to pay for calling the doctor out,’ she said. ‘The first time it happened I thanked him for coming and said “How much do I owe you?” and he mentioned an amount.

“It went on for a long time. If I didn’t have the cash he would say “Don’t worry, you can pay me next time”.

“It was only the last time he saw my husband – after I’d contacted the radio programme – that he said “This is very kind of you. You don’t have to give this to me”.

“He must have suspected we knew what was happening by then but I gave him the money because I wanted him out of the door."

NHS Hertfordshire told the newspaper: "GPs working under contract with the NHS should not be charging individual patients for consultations or visits."

Are you registered with The Village Surgery? How do you feel about Dr Stephens now? Is this a case of downright theft, or an error of judgement?

What makes a high wage earner like Dr Stephens (- GPs contracted by the NHS earn an average annual salary of £106K) take this kind of risk for such a small return?

Give us your view, here on Harpenden People.




  • Profile image for bobgunning

    The only time that my wife and I came into contact with Dr Stephens showed him to be an arrogant and dismissive person with little regard for opinions other than his own. His attitude left us with little confidence in his patient skills. We now hear that he has been feathering his own nest at the expense of his patients. He also seems to be in denial that he has done anything wrong! Here is a man that many trusted but who has betrayed that trust. It is a good thing for the practice that he has gone.

    By bobgunning at 14:42 on 05/11/10

  • Profile image for landjc

    John Stephens has been our gp for 35 years and I would say he is an exceptional doctor. I hope this turns out to be a silly mistake.

    By landjc at 11:25 on 01/11/10

  • Profile image for Terry1956

    There is no smoke without fire. Why did the doctor continue to take payments. He knew that his services were free to NHS patients, as well as you and I do. He should have said NO, in which case this incident would never ever have happened. I agree with the outcome and feel sorry for his patien, faimly and friends.

    By Terry1956 at 11:37 on 11/10/10

  • Profile image for MarieTheresa

    I must say that this doctor is an exceptioal person. He was my and my family's Gp for many a year till I had to move, and move from his practice. It would indeed be a sad thing if this thoughtful and above all consiencious doctor was dispared from practicing. The doctors I have had to cope with since then have been very robotic in thier approach. It is indeed punishment enough for this doctor to be suspended from his practice for 4 months, lets hope that logic and common sense prevail and John is reinstated to his practice in Harpenden and Wheathampstead soon as is possible, I have nothing but admiration for this truly wonderful Doctor, who has helped my self and many others in a patient and knowlegable manner in the years I knew him. John Stevens should be returned to his practice exhonorated, and as another poster stated, with his head held high. I pray for his return.


    By MarieTheresa at 01:32 on 09/10/10

  • Profile image for grimwadeR

    This is a message to the partnership.
    Please stand together and protect John from this very unfotunate set of circumstances, I know when I was involved with the millennium how these so called consumer programmes work for sensationalism, it makes their day, if you know John, its hard enough to get him to stand still, let alone get him to leave. Harpenden community will lose a good Doctor if we do not stand by him. Richard Grimwade.

    By grimwadeR at 22:30 on 06/10/10

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