Published: 13:00, 19 June 2014
A shamed Dover doctor has left court today with her career and marriage in tatters... because she pinched £130!
GP Nurpal Mittal stole the money as she was treating a patient’s sick son at her surgery.
It was later revealed that while working in Scotland the doctor had received a “fiscal warning” for stealing cosmetics.
Now a judge has heard that the parents of Dr Mittal’s husband – also a doctor at the White Cliffs Medical Centre – want the couple to divorce, and they have started a six-month trial separation.
The 33-year-old mother – who claims she is going to India to do charity work - will now face the wrath of the General Medical Council, which is expected to bring charges against her.
Mittal, of St Andrews Garden, Shepherdswell, was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £2,182 costs for the trial.
Her barrister John Bishop complained that because of reaction from people in Dover she hadn’t been able to work since January.
But Judge James O’Mahony said her child was being privately educated and told her she had six months to pay up... or face a three-month jail sentence in default.
He told her: “The amount of money you took was small...but you didn’t need it. But your victim did.
“This was the most serious breach of trust. The NHS is a treasured institution and there is a very important relationship between doctor and patient based on trust.
"Your dishonest conduct has caused considerable damage.”
Prosecutor Andrew Forsyth had told the jury at Canterbury Crown Court how on June 19 last year victim Kelly Wissenden had gone to the centre with her baby boy.
“He had been suffering from a stomach upset. Ms Wissenden was carrying £130 in a purse which she had withdrawn earlier that day intending to use it to pay for car repairs.”
The prosecutor said that while she was in the waiting room she “kept an eye on her purse” which had been placed at the bottom of a pushchair.
“At 10.45 am she was called to Dr Mittal’s room.
"She took the pushchair with her. The purse was in a change bag which was clipped to
the pushchair handle.”
The prosecutor alleged that the child was required to provide a specimen and the mum was asked to go to a baby changing room across the corridor from the consulting room.
He said :“Ms Wissenden removed a pack of baby wipes and a clean nappy and walked to the changing room. The doctor followed and took the sample and walked back to the consulting room.
“She continued to change the nappy and returned without knocking. She later described seeing Dr Mittal fiddling round near the change bag and the buggy looking very flustered.
“She thought it strange at the time but didn’t say anything, “ he said.
It was then that the doctor is alleged to have given the mother the sample bottle and she noticed her purse was undone.
Mr Forsythe added: “The purse was the opposite way around from where she had left it, with the popper clasp facing upwards.
“She noticed Dr Mittal again appeared flustered and he told her: “I was looking for a tissue” – even though there were tissues on the counter.”
“This was the most serious breach of trust. The NHS is a treasured institution and there is a very important relationship between doctor and patient based on trust" - Judge James O'Mahony
Outside the surgery Ms Wissenden checked her purse and discovered all the cash gone.
The doctor later telephoned the patient later that night to plead with her to drop the theft charge.
Mr Bishop said the opprobrium had been felt by Mittal’s husband – even though he wasn’t responsible what his wife had done.
“The cultural significance of what has happened has caused a strain on their marriage and her husband’s family want him to divorce her.
“The position is there are going to live apart for six months while that issue is reviewed. Her husband feels either unable or unwilling to assist any further with any costs.”
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