A HEALTH care worker has kept his job as a clinical director at an Ilkeston chiropody clinic despite being struck off by the Health Professions Council (HPC).
Stephen Gardiner, director of clinical services at A Foot Above Ltd, admitted misconduct at a HPC hearing in London on Wednesday.
As a result of being struck off Mr Gardiner can no longer call himself a chiropodist or podiatrist but is allowed to keep treating patients at the company’s clinic in Bath Street as well as one in Beeston.
However, a spokesman for the HPC warned that Mr Gardiner had to make it clear to patients that he had been struck off the register.
The charges against Mr Gardiner were made between 2007 and 2010, before he was employed by A Foot Above Ltd.
He admitted altering receipts and falsely making insurance claims for treatment at the clinic he never received and forging signatures of other registered health care professionals.
Director at A Foot Above Ltd, Darren Bloore, told the Advertiser: “Yes it was fraud and yes it was wrong but patients were never at risk.
“Mr Gardiner held his hands up and was honest with us from the start. The claim was made against an insurance policy which he has now paid back.
“It is worth saying that Mr Gardiner’s clinical skills were never called into question.”
A report issued by the HPC’s Conduct and Competence Committee also made it clear the charges had nothing to do with his treatment of patients.
It reads: “It should be clearly stated that Mr Gardiner’s clinical ability is not in question and issues of patient safety do not arise.
“However, the dishonesty underpinning the finding was serious, long-standing and calculated.
“It follows that the only appropriate sanction is a striking-off order. This is a decision reached to mark the seriousness of the finding.
“No lesser sanction would sufficiently maintain public confidence in the profession, nor would it sufficiently remind other registrants of the paramount importance of ensuring that they behave honestly.”