The Village Surgery Doctor Suspended For Deceiving Harpenden Patient
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.