Published: 00:01, 25 June 2015
A banned doctor may have treated thousands of patients after being hired to work at a Kent hospital.
Levon Mkhitarian, who had been struck off by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, stole the name of a real Thanet doctor to land posts in Kent and other parts of the UK.
Now the 36-year-old Georgia-born doctor, who never completed the formal training to practise in the UK, has pleaded guilty to 22 offences of deception, fraud and visa offences.
He was caught out in April last year when an application for a pass triggered the fact that he was using the name of a real doctor.
Mkhitarian was confronted at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford but pretended to be someone visiting his father on one of the wards.
Officials immediately checked the ward and realised no such patient existed and he was stopped before fleeing.
Police and NHS officials then discovered he had been working as a senior house officer and as a GP in the hospital’s cardiology department.
Mkhitarian appeared at Canterbury Crown Court on Monday and admitted that between August 2013 and April 2014 he failed to declare he was no longer entitled to practise as a doctor in the UK.
Mkhitarian, who has an address in south-east London, posed as the genuine GP to get work at the RMR Recruitment agency, which provides staff to hospitals.
Since arriving in the UK, police believe he completed some training but lied about being registered with the General Medical Council in 2010 when he only had provisional status.
He also lied in CVs to other recruitment agencies RM Medics, IMS Recruitment, Interact Ltd, RIG Ltd and Unite Ltd.
But we can reveal Mkhitarian was struck off by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service last year after accepting roles for which he was not qualified all over the country, including Taunton, Crewe, Oxford and Harrow, where he worked as a locum house officer in surgery and medicine and urology.
He also landed posts at the MacMillan Cancer Centre as a resident medical officer, St Helens and Knowlsley NHS trust as a surgical fellow and The London Clinic as a night resident medical officer for its cancer centre.
Last year a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service ruled he had shown a reckless disregard for the principles of good medical practice, was dishonest and had put his own interests before those of patients.
They ruled his name should be erased from the Medical Register because of persistent dishonesty over several years including faking emails to get work and lying to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service about his income.
It was following the ruling that he stole the identity of the GP and began working in Kent.
The judge, who will sentence Mkhitarian next month, will hear how he created a fictitious CV in the name of the GP, faked a bank statement, EDF energy bill and created a letter purporting to be from a GP’s surgery.
Mkhitarian is believed to have lived in the USA before the UK as a student eight years ago and completing some training as a doctor, but was never in a position to be registered fully with the GMC.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of patients would have been seen by Levon Mkhitarian when he took on the identity of a real, qualified doctor.
Many of these were in east Kent while Mkhitarian was working in the William Harvey’s cardiology department.
However, the East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT), insists that all patients treated by the fraudulent doctor have been informed, and that “no harm has been caused” by his actions.
“We have been working with NHS England and have written to all patients who may have been seen by this individual to ensure they were not unduly affected" - Dr Paul Stevens
The trust’s medical director, Dr Paul Stevens, said: “We have been working with NHS England and have written to all patients who may have been seen by this individual to ensure they were not unduly affected, and thankfully no harm has been caused.”
Dr Stevens also said that an investigation has been launched to see if more “could have been done to pick this up immediately” and that the trust “will be undertaking a full root cause analysis”.
The trusts added that Mkhitarian was qualified as a junior doctor but “abused his position” by fraudulently using the identity of others to obtain work as a locum in a number of trusts across the country before coming to east Kent.
They said IT staff at the hospital spotted the identity fraud and reported him to the police, and since then have worked with Kent Police, NHS England and a number of other trusts across the UK to “make sure this individual was brought to justice”.
He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced on Friday, July 3.
Stories you might have missed