GMC restrictions on Roger Bainton’s licence to practise reviewed
In February 2015 I answered the most common questions patients had about the investigations into Mr Bainton’s treatment. Mr Bainton was suspended from his position as a Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire (UHNS) on 1 February 2013. Concerns had been raised about the standard of his care by his colleagues and the Royal College of Surgeons. Sadly, a number of his former patients have been left with facial deformities, eyesight problems and nerve damage. Following a lengthy suspension, Mr Bainton is no longer working at UHNS.
On 27 November 2013, the GMC (General Medical Council, the regulatory body for doctors in the UK) placed 7 conditions on Mr Bainton’s licence to practise which were the subject of a review hearing on 20 March 2015. The review panel, known as the Interim Orders Panel (IOP), determined that the:
“conditions [for Mr Bainton] should remain in place and be subject to review”.
Mr Bainton is no stranger to allegations of professional misconduct and was previously reprimanded by the General Medical Council (GMC) and the General Dental Council in March 2000, following the death of one of his patients at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in 1995. Mr Bainton had performed routine jaw surgery on the patient, who was 33 years old when he died. However, the GMC panel found him guilty of:
“failing to ensure that the patient received adequate care” and failing “to ensure that his condition and progress was adequately monitored by suitable experience and qualified staff.”
According to BBC reports at the time, Mr Bainton had been found “guilty of serious professional misconduct” and suspended from practising for 12 months. Following his reprimand, Mr Bainton’s contract of employment with Aberdeen Royal Infirmary was terminated and he subsequently began working at UHNS.
The purpose of putting conditions on a doctor’s licence to practise is to protect patients and the wider public interest. Conditions do not prevent doctors from practising in the UK but are put in place to prevent the risk of negligence when suspension is considered inappropriate. Conditions can vary from preventing a doctor carrying out certain activities to requiring doctors to be supervised. The GMC conditions currently in place for Mr Bainton are that:
- He must notify the GMC of any post he accepts for which registration with the GMC is required and provide the contact details of his employer.
- He must allow the GMC to exchange information with his employer or any contracting body for which he provides medical services.
- He must inform the GMC of any formal disciplinary proceedings taken against him, from the date of this determination.
- He must inform the GMC if he applies for medical employment outside the UK.
- He must not carry out surgery using PDS/DBX materials.
- He must not manage patients with TMJ disorders.
- He must inform the following parties that his registration is subject to the conditions: Any organisation or person employing or contracting with him to undertake medical work; Any locum agency or out-of-hours service he is registered with or applies to be registered with; In the case of locum appointments, his immediate line manager at his place of work; Any prospective employer or contracting body; and His Regional Director of Public Health.
However, despite being able to, it appears that Mr Bainton has not taken up a new position at an NHS or private practice since leaving UHNS. Instead, Mr Bainton is working for his own private clinic in Aberdeen offering cosmetic procedures. Aesthetics Aberdeen was set up in 2009 by Mr Bainton and offers a range of facial treatments such as Botox injections, chemical peels and minor skin surgery.
As Mr Bainton is carrying out mostly ‘non-surgical’ interventions in his own clinic, the restrictions of the GMC conditions above are effectively met. This highlights the current limited regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry; for example, membership of a regulatory body is not obligatory.
The decision of the IOP will, at least for now, provide some reassurance to the patients who suffered under the care of Mr Bainton. The conditions on his current practise are due to last until 26 May 2015 when the IOP will decide whether they will be extended or removed.
It is very concerning to see that Mr Bainton was previously reprimanded for failing to provide an appropriate standard of care to his patients and yet the same has happened again. Our specialist medical negligence lawyers are already representing former patients of Mr Bainton, all of whom are understandably concerned about the treatment that they received. In circumstances like this, it is vital that patients who think they may have been affected seek independent legal advice rather than relying on any assurances provided by the Trust.