Optometrist suspended for falsifying information for financial gain

27 March 2017

Author: Rachael McAdorey
Practice Area: Healthcare
Sector: Healthcare

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Optometrist Simone Boyd, has been suspended for 12 months by the General Optical Council (‘GOC’). Ms Boyd, who had a previously unblemished 27 year career as an Optometrist, admitted falsifying receipts for financial gain, over a ten year period between 2005 and 2015.

As part of her employment contract, Ms Boyd had the benefit of spending up to £550 per year on optical products and services. Ms Boyd also subscribed to private healthcare insurance with Simply Health. Between 2005 and 2015, Ms Boyd created false receipts amounting to £1,479 for products she received free of charge from her employer, and submitted them to Simply Health for payment.

Following an investigation conducted by Simply Health, Ms Boyd admitted making false claims, and made a self-referral to the GOC.  She also repaid Simply Health for the amount claimed.

The Committee found the allegations as against Ms Boyd proved.  The Committee found that Ms Boyd breached aspects of the Code of Conduct, relating to being honest/trustworthy, not abusing her professional position, and ensuring her conduct did not damage public confidence in the profession.

The Committee exercised its own judgement, and determined that Ms Boyd’s actions amounted to serious misconduct.

In considering whether, or not, Ms Boyd’s fitness to practise was impaired, the Committee adopted the approach of Dame Janet Smith in her report into the Shipman Inquiry. The Committee considered whether Ms Boyd’s misconduct demonstrated that her fitness to practise was impaired in that her actions may have caused patient harm, were likely to bring the profession into disrepute, had breached the principles of the Optometry profession, and has/is liable in future, to act dishonestly.

The Committee took into account the fact that Ms Boyd’s dishonesty occurred in the context of her professional practice, and that her clinical competency was not in question. The misconduct did not cause patient harm, and there has been no repetition since. In addition, Ms Boyd fully admitted her actions, cooperated with the investigation, and demonstrated insight.  

The Committee found that Ms Boyd’s fitness to practise was currently impaired, and concluded that a 12 month suspension was the most appropriate sanction in this case, in that it would be sufficient to uphold professional standards, and public confidence in the profession. 

For more information, contact Rachael McAdorey, or a member of Carson McDowell’s Healthcare Team. 

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