A doctor who admitted smoking cannabis – and ordered his staff to tell his patients he had died – has had his suspension extended AGAIN.
Dr Anatta Nergui, an adult psychiatrist for Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has been suspended from the medical register for a further nine months.
This is in relation to him running an online psychiatry service but failing to refer patients to professionals, putting them at “significant risk of harm”.
Dr Nergui has found himself under close scrutiny by industry watchdogs seven times in the past eight years – through both fitness-to-practise panels, medical practitioners tribunals and several reviews.
These were linked to two incidents – admitting smoking cannabis and also the website.
His first appearance at a fitness-to-practise panel was in 2011, when the now Derby-based doctor was working as a locum consultant psychiatrist at Wishaw General Hospital in Glasgow.
In that hearing, it had been proved that in 2009 he grew cannabis at his home, smoked this cannabis and asked his staff to tell his patients that he had ‘died in peace’.
He also said that he no longer smoked cannabis.
At the time, Dr Nergui had been known as Dr Shehzad Ahmad Javed.
But on June 9, 2009, he phoned his secretary and said: “Tell everyone that Shehzad Javed died in peace. It’s not a suicide of the body, but a death of the mind.”
Staff at Wishaw General Hospital called the police due to being concerned about Dr Nergui’s safety.
He then admitted that he had smoked some home-grown cannabis the previous night and that he had used cannabis in the past.
Dr Nergui also admitted that he drank a bottle of vodka every one to two weeks.
During an evaluation, Dr Nergui stated that Dr Shehzad Javed had died and for the remainder of the interview he referred to Dr Javed in the third person.
He referred to himself as ‘Nergui – the nameless one’.
At the time, it had been decided that Dr Nergui could continue to work but with a range of conditions to ensure that he did not repeat his ‘misconduct’.
The doctor officially changed his name to Anatta Nergui by Deed Poll on August 3, 2009.
In 2013, Dr Nergui started a psychiatry role at Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.
A tribunal that year had ruled that Dr Nergui was not guilty of misconduct. However, this was taken to High Court for appeal, which quashed the decision.
A subsequent tribunal in 2014 ruled misconduct.
Now Dr Nergui, an adult psychiatrist for the same trust, has been suspended from the medical register for a further nine months.
This will take his suspension to more than five years – since he was handed a three-year suspension in 2014 by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.
The 2014 tribunal had found that Dr Nergui’s fitness to practice medicine was ‘impaired’.
Further tribunals in 2017 and 2018 found that he was still not fit to return to medicine without intense supervision and strict conditions – with each extending his suspension by nine months.
Now another tribunal hearing this month has found that Dr Nergui is still impaired – with a further nine-month suspension.
Christina Moller, tribunal chairman, wrote in a report: “The tribunal found that Dr Nergui had not demonstrated sufficient, if any, insight into the seriousness of his misconduct and consequent risks to the public.
“Dr Nergui has not discharged the persuasive burden on him to show that he is no longer impaired by reason of misconduct.
“The tribunal is not satisfied that there is a low risk of repetition.
“The tribunal found that Dr Nergui’s response to his regulator’s concerns was inadequate.
“It considered that a finding of current impairment is necessary to promote and maintain public confidence in the medical profession and to uphold professional standards, as well as to protect the public.
“The tribunal could not be satisfied that he fully appreciated the gravity and seriousness of his misconduct.
“Dr Nergui did not appear to accept that his actions amounted to misconduct.”
In 2012, Dr Nergui had owned and maintained a website called www.neurofeedback-scotland.com through which users could ask for advice from an online psychiatrist.
However, the report says that Dr Nergui’s response to one patient which was deemed to be of ‘a philosophical style which risked interpretation’.
Meanwhile, the report says that in 20 out of 22 cases between February and April 2012, Dr Nergui had failed to recommend that the user see a doctor or psychiatrist.
The report continues to say that in 30 cases Dr Nergui failed to recommend that the user attend a course of counselling or psychotherapy and in seven out of a possible 12 cases, he failed to request further information from the user with a view to determining a diagnosis.
A High Court hearing found that this amounted to misconduct.
It was agreed by the 2014 tribunal that while there was no evidence of any direct harm to patients having occurred as a result of Dr Nergui’s actions, there was also not any evidence that patients were not harmed.
A report on Dr Nergui’s misconduct found says that he ‘had created a situation which exposed vulnerable patients to significant risk of harm’.
It added that “Dr Nergui’s misconduct had damaged the public interest, in that his work purported to offer the services of a psychiatrist without appropriate safeguards to patients”.
Dr Nergui, who did not speak at this month’s hearing or send representation, emailed the General Medical Council, which brought the case, to say: “‘I confirm I have never stopped providing online advice.”
A spokesperson for Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are extremely proud of the skills, commitment and caring attitude demonstrated by the overwhelming majority of our workforce.
“When concerns are raised about the performance of an individual employed by the trust, we will thoroughly investigate those concerns working in partnership with the relevant professional organisation or body.
“We cannot provide information on the circumstances of individual employees.”
Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service