Page last updated at 16:53 GMT, Wednesday, 17 March 2010

'Whistleblower' doctor Sian Caiach reinstated

Sian Caiach
Ms Caiach wants to stay in the medical profession as a prison doctor

A former orthopaedic surgeon who was once suspended after whistleblowing has been told she can continue to practise.

Sian Caiach, said colleagues at Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, were using NHS facilities for private patients.

She eventually returned to work but was suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC) over her performance.

She told a GMC hearing on Wednesday she wanted to pursue a career as a prison doctor. The panel granted her wish subject to 14 conditions.

The conditions include that she must be mentored, complete a personal development plan and inform the GMC of any job she accepts in the UK or abroad.

The conditions will remain in place for one year, before a review.

In 2000 Ms Caiach reported Prince Philip Hospital to the Audit Commission for failing to charge private patients for using NHS facilities.

The panel considers you are now demonstrating an improvement in your... commitment to resuming your career as a medical practitioner
GMC chair Dr Linda Buchanan

Her suspicions were confirmed by the Audit Commission, but in the meantime a colleague had made a complaint about her clinical competence.

She was put on paid leave while an investigation took place but later returned to work.

However, she was barred again and told her presence might affect the "mental health" of the people she had complained about.

After her performance was found to be "seriously deficient", she was eventually suspended and has been trying to be reinstated to the medical register ever since.

Ms Caiach, a Carmarthenshire county councillor who lives in Llanelli, told the hearing she no longer wanted to work as an orthopaedic surgeon and admitted she was unfit to practise in that role.

But she said she wanted to stay in the profession as a prison doctor.

Medical student

GMC chair Dr Linda Buchanan told the hearing the panel was satisfied the conditions would protect the public while allowing the doctor to return to work.

She said: "The panel considers you are now demonstrating an improvement in your level of insight and commitment to resuming your career as a medical practitioner and that you have the potential and willingness to respond positively to retraining and supervision of your work."

Ms Caiach, 52, has been a medical student with a private company in prisons and hospitals.

The mother-of-four now aims to take up a job as doctor with the firm.

She was last year removed from Plaid Cymru's list of approved election candidates after being accused of leaking stories to the media.

She was barred from standing for two years.

After Wednesday's hearing, she said: "I'm obviously happy about being able to practise again... but I am upset as what has happened to me will put off a lot of people from making disclosures about things which are going wrong because they are afraid they will lose their career.

"It is very much a shoot the messenger culture in the NHS. I didn't kill anyone or harm anyone. All I did was complain about my colleagues."



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