Fibbing doctor given caution

Wigan Infirmary
Wigan Infirmary
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A LYING medic who spruced up her CV with a fake work history has escaped with a ticking off.

When applying for a job at Wigan Infirmary, Dr Joanna Ghigo falsely claimed she was still working as a locum at a Cheshire hospital despite not having set foot in it for seven months.

She repeated the lie when she was interviewed to be a consultant in obstetrics and gynaecology at the hospital last year.

Despite her claims, checks revealed she had not worked at the Countess of Chester Hospital since June 2011, the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service heard. Dr Ghigo was found guilty of misconduct, but a panel ruled that her “misleading and dishonest behaviour” was not serious enough to warrant punishment.

Tribunal chairman Prof David Katz said the lies “could have given her an unfair advantage over other applicants. In both the application and the interview, Dr Ghigo made misleading omissions, gave false information and knew this to be the case. The panel finds that she was in breach of good medical practice. Her actions amounted to misconduct.”

But he added added that Dr Ghigo was a “competent and useful doctor,” and no concerns had been raised by her new employer, Southend University Hospital, Essex. “Although there had been a significant breach of good medical practice, the panel has determined that the misconduct proved does not reach the threshhold which requires restrictions on her registration,” he said.

In a letter to the General Medical Council, which brought the case against her, Dr Ghigo previously said she had been distressed at the time of the interview because her father died the day before.

Dr Ghigo, who qualified at the University of Malta in 2003, had worked as a locum for around eight months at the Countess of Chester Hospital during two periods between November 2010 and June 2011.

When she applied for a job at the Wigan Infirmary in January last year she falsely claimed she was still working in Chester, and repeated the lie to interviewers two months later. But when bosses checked up on her claims they found she was no longer working there.

Dr Ghigo was not present or represented at the Manchester hearing, and an earlier bid by her to adjourn proceeding was rejected. She was later given a formal warning by her professional regulator.

Prof Katz said: “The panel found that your actions were significant breaches of good medical practice, and that they amounted to misconduct. This conduct does not meet with the standards required of a doctor. It risks bringing the profession into disrepute and it must not be repeated. Whilst your failings are in themselves not serious enough to require any restriction on your registration at this point.”