Morecambe Bay doctor cleared to work after application lie
A FORMER Morecambe Bay NHS Trust doctor did not disclose his negligent death conviction when he applied to work in the UK.
A court has heard Italian Dr Giovanni Ussia was found guilty and given a suspended one-year prison sentence in Italy in March 2013 after being found guilty of death by negligence and reckless behavior.
In January 2013, while the Italian investigation was ongoing, Dr Ussia applied for and was granted registration with the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK.
His then employer, University Hospitals Morecambe Bay Trust (UHMBT) then referred Dr Ussia to the GMC on October 2, 2015, when the latter learned of his conviction in Italy.
Now, a just-released Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing has found that Dr. Ussia’s “fitness to practice is no longer impaired” after a June 2021 court found him imposed a four-month suspension.
The June 2021 tribunal found that Dr Ussia had dishonestly answered “no” to several questions about his application to the UK, including:
“Are there or are you aware of any pending or future proceedings or other matters which may result in the withdrawal, suspension or restriction of your registration or license to practice in any country ?”
Dr Ussia was professor of surgery and consultant in general surgery at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Bologna from 1989 to 2013, and his Italian conviction stems from the circumstances surrounding a patient who had complained of stomach pain and later died.
The Tribunal said: “Dr Ussia was later charged with the crime of negligence and reckless behavior for failing to provide proper postoperative care.”
His suspension in the UK in June 2021 was due to his dishonesty when applying, not his Italian conviction, and so the November court said:
“The Tribunal is of the opinion that Dr. Ussia could do no more to demonstrate his insight, remorse or remediation, and that he has done enough to convince any member of the public or the profession that he is a safe clinician who should be allowed to return to free practice.”
He also said: “Dr Ussia continued to practice medicine in Italy and supported the public and the profession during the global pandemic.
“The Tribunal considered that Dr. Ussia kept his medical knowledge and skills up to date and does not question whether he is a safe, competent and qualified clinician.”
David Wilkinson, Director of Human and Organizational Development at UHMBT, said: “In line with our responsibilities as a healthcare provider, Dr Ussia was referred to the GMC by the Trust when we became aware of a condemnation in Italy.
“He has not worked for the Trust since that time.”