Chelmsford psychiatrist suspended for prescription signature forgery

An Essex psychiatrist who faked a signature to obtain a prescription for personal use has been suspended for four months, according to a misconduct report.

Dr Okon Umoh has been suspended for writing a prescription for doxycycline, an antibiotic used to treat malaria, for his own use before travelling to Nigeria.

According to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service report, Dr Umoh had not given himself enough time to obtain the medication through normal channels, but it was not satisfied on the balance of probability he wrote the prescription for financial gain.

Dr Okon Umoh was also accused of applying to register a company and listing the same person, referred to in the reports as Ms A, as a secretary without her consent in November 2016.

However, the tribunal considered it more likely than not that Ms A did consent to acting as company secretary, and therefore considered the allegation not proved.

NHS Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust has been approached for comment.

The report said: “The Tribunal were mindful of the gravity of Dr Umoh’s misconduct.

“However, it took into account that it spanned a short period of time and was an isolated incident in a long career.

“No patient harm had been caused. The activity was out of character. There was little risk of repetition. For these reasons, the Tribunal considered that a period of suspension would be sufficient to satisfy the public interest. 

“In the Tribunal’s judgement the more serious sanction of erasure would be disproportionate having regard to the isolated nature of the dishonesty and the low risk of repetition.”

Dr Omoh was subject to an eight-day misconduct hearing with the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) from September 1.

According to the MPTS report, Dr Umoh’s area of practice is Chelmsford.

On April 29 2019, Dr Omoh wrote a prescription for 42 doxycycline 100 mg tablets in the name of Ms A, wrote the prescription on an NHS prescription pad and falsified Ms A’s signature on the prescription, according to the report.

On or around May 1, he then obtained the prescription from Boots Pharmacy in Southend.

It was also admitted and found proved that on or around November 14 2016 Dr Omoh filed, or allowed to be filed on his behalf, an application to register a company and listed Ms A as the company secretary.

However, it was not proven Ms A had not provided her consent and that the action was dishonest.

The report noted there “seemed no particular reason” why Dr Umoh should have failed to mention this to Ms A when forming the company, and that the role of company secretary did not require her to carry out any actual work.

The report also states Ms A and Dr Umoh had a “close relationship” in November 2016 and trusted each other in financial matters. For example, Dr Umoh sometimes paid cash and cheque receipts generated by Ms A’s shop into her bank account.

Dr Umoh will be suspended 28 days from when notice of the tribunal’s decision has been served, unless he chooses to appeal.

Advertisement

Charlie Ridler

Local Democracy Reporter