East London doctor ‘in adult sons’ ages lie to get them into school’

An east London doctor has been suspended after a misconduct panel heard he provided false information for his children’s visa applications.

Dr Mohammad Abdul Gaffar lied about two of his adult sons’ ages in the applications to try and get them places at a local school, a report said.

The General Medical Council (GMC) was informed with concerns relating to the applications by UK visa authorities and an investigation was conducted to determine if Dr Gaffar’s actions amounted to serious misconduct.

After a hearing, conducted by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal between May 9 to May 17 this year, it was held that Dr Gaffar’s “dishonest conduct fell far short of the conduct expected of a registered doctor”.  

The tribunal said Dr Gaffar’s conduct “was sufficient to bring the medical profession into disrepute” and that his actions would be considered “deplorable” by fellow practitioners.

It noted that Dr Gaffar’s dishonesty was “repeated in a number of applications over a number of years” and determined that his fitness to practice is “currently impaired” by reason of his misconduct.

The tribunal however added that there were no “clinical concerns” in respect to Dr Gaffar’s practice.

He has been in the field of medicine for more than 30 years, the report said.

He graduated from Dhaka Medical College and had worked in Bangladesh, Iran and Saudi Arabia before moving to the UK in 2018.

After working at different NHS trusts across the country, Dr Gaffar was appointed as a junior clinical fellow caring for the elderly at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) in September 2020.

BHRUT, which runs Queen’s and King George Hospitals, said in light of the panel’s findings it has not renewed his contract.

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Dr Gaffar admitted, between August 2017 to October 2021, falsely reducing the ages of his two sons in visa applications.

Under the rules of his employment visa, children under 18 could apply to join a parent in the UK but for those over 18 years this may only be permitted in limited circumstances.

In 2021 ‘child visa’ applications, the report said Dr Gaffar declared one son as 14 when he was actually aged 20.

Similarly, his second son was 18 at the time of the application, instead of 13 as claimed in the form.

Dr Gaffar also admitted providing passports and birth certificates with the wrong date of births to support the applications.

He claimed in evidence to the hearing that the intent behind this was his concern about his sons’ education.

He told the tribunal that his wife and five children lived in Bangladesh and that he hardly got to see them.

These two sons, he said, “were falling behind in their general education as they were not receiving an education in subjects he considered important such as science and English”.

He considered them “emotionally immature as a result of not being in general/mainstream education”.

He and his wife, he added, decided that their ages should be “lessened in the application” so they could “join a year group that was much lower than their actual age”.

Dr Gaffar told the hearing the intention was for the two sons to be enrolled in a local school if their 2021 visa applications were successful.

He stated that while he had knowledge of Good Medical Practice (GMP) guidelines, he believed the principles of honesty and integrity only applied to his professional conduct.

But having later attended courses on probity and ethics for doctors, he now understood that these applied to both his personal and professional life.

Dr Gaffar said during the hearing that medicine to him was a “noble profession” and that he had “dedicated his life to it”. He apologised for his actions and expressed that he would never repeat these mistakes again.

Ceri Widdett, a GMC representative, raised concerns about Dr Gaffar’s understanding of safeguarding standards by considering to admit his adult children in a school alongside children.

Dr Gaffar’s defence that his sons were “small, immature and polite” and would not be a cause of concern demonstrated a “poor level of insight”, Ms Widdett said.

In addition, she reminded the tribunal that Dr Gaffar only attended the probity and ethics course by the GMC in March 2023 despite having been recommended to do it in July 2022.

The tribunal decided to suspend Dr Gaffar for a period of 12 months.

BHRUT’s chief medical officer Mamta Shetty Vaidya said: “We have been made aware of the tribunal’s ruling and therefore, have not renewed Dr Gaffar’s contract.”


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