Honours list chiefs probe top doc’s MBE - hospital knew my past says consultant

Bedford Hospital South Wing.
Bedford Hospital South Wing.

The award of an MBE to a Bedford Hospital consultant who once triggered a fraudulent research scandal is being reviewed at the highest level.

Anjan Kumar Banerjee received the prestigious award for services to ‘patient safety’.

But he was struck off the medical register for gross misconduct in the early stages of his career.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “We are currently looking into the MBE awarded to Dr Banerjee. Like any other nomination, it will have been considered on merit based on the information provided to the relevant independent committee, in this case the health committee.”

Mr Banerjee, 54, acts as a locum surgeon at Bedford Hospital, where his title is honorary consultant surgeon. He is also listed as deputy MD of life sciences consultancy Pope Woodhead.

He achieved notoriety in medical circles 14 years ago after being found guilty of serious professional misconduct for publishing dishonest results into Crohn’s disease research.

A statement from the hospital said: “We can confirm that he carries out sessions in our endoscopy department but he’s not employed by Bedford Hospital on a full-time or substantive basis.”

In 2000, the General Medical Council found Mr Banerjee declared research in a medical journal asserting his findings were from urine samples taken from “12 healthy adults” The truth was that all the samples were his own urine.

Rodney Yates, chairman of the GMC professional conduct committee, said at the time: “Medical research is central to the advance of medical practice and must always be conducted with scrupulous honesty and integrity.”

He added: “It is highly irresponsible, and potentially dangerous for patients, for a doctor to falsify research.”

Then in 2002 Mr Banerjee was found to have lied about NHS waiting times, resulting in falsely inducing patients to pay for private operations.

The two misdemeanours resulted in the then junior doctor being suspended or struck off the register for a total of five years .

Mr Banerjee said: “I deeply regret the actions that led to my suspension from the medical register in 2000 and erasure in 2002.

“Following a rigorous clinical re-entry programme from 2007-12, in 2012 I was re-appointed to a (part-time) NHS consultant surgeon position and moved to Bedford in February 2014.

“All the hospitals I have worked at since 2007, and all my employers since 2002, have been fully informed of my past.”