Fake psychiatrist’s Scottish patients having records reviewed

Written by Emily Woods on 15 August 2019 in News

Zholia Alemi was jailed for five years in October 2018, after posing as a consultant psychiatrist across all four countries in the UK for 22 years

Health secretary Jeane Freeman - Image credit: Scottish Parliament

Scottish patients who received treatment from fake psychiatrist Zholia Alemi are having their clinical records reviewed, the Scottish Government has announced.

Alemi, who was jailed for five years in October 2018, posed as a consultant psychiatrist across all four countries in the UK for 22 years without any qualifications.

Last year an investigation by Cumbria newspaper News and Star revealed the New Zealand national had “cynically exploited a loophole in UK medical registration procedures to pass herself off as a qualified doctor”, when she had actually dropped out of medical school in 1992.

Today, the Scottish Government said the clinical records in every NHS Scotland board were being reviewed “in detail by consultant psychiatrists to identify decisions made by Ms Alemi to offer appropriate advice and support”.

“NHS boards will be sending letters with further information to affected patients with further information to affected patients over the coming months,” the government said in a statement.

Scottish health secretary Jeane Freeman urged anyone with further questions to get in touch with their local NHS board.

“I know that this will be extremely upsetting for people and their families,” Freeman said.

“The General Medical Council (GMC) now has processes in place to ensure that this won’t happen again.

“I also wish to reassure people that the remainder of their care and treatment was delivered by fully qualified doctors.”

The GMC has published advice Alemi’s former patients on its website, which states as soon as it “became aware that she used a fraudulent qualification to join the register, we contacted the police and other organisations responsible for healthcare services in the UK”.

“It’s vital that we all now take the necessary action to support patients and investigate these serious issues,” the advice said.

“It is clear that in this case, the steps taken at the time she joined the register were inadequate and we apologise for any risk arising to patients as a result.

“We are confident that, 23 years on, our systems are robust and would identify any fraudulent attempt to join the medical register.”

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