GP who advertised herself as gynaecologist without authorisation may be guilty of offence, hearing told
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The conduct of a GP who advertised herself as a gynaecologist despite having no authorisation was so serious she may be guilty of an offence, a Fitness to Practise Committee has heard.
In her closing submissions, barrister for the Irish Medical Council (IMC), Elaine Finneran BL, told the committee they must view the allegation that Dr Dorota Sanocka falsely represented herself as fundamental to protecting patients.
Dr Sanocka, who practises at Our Clinic Sanocka – which is based at Clogheen Business Park, Co Cork – is the subject of an IMC fitness to practise inquiry after she prescribed oral contraceptives to two older, high-risk patients against recommended medical practice.
The IMC’s Fitness to Practise Committee heard two doctors from the Owenabue Medical Centre in Carrigaline, Co Cork, where the two patients normally attend, raised concerns about Dr Sanocka.
Dr Sanocka, a Polish national who qualified as a doctor in 1987, has been registered to practise in Ireland since 2012.
She operated a clinic at Woodfield, Station Road, Blarney, Co Cork, until last year.
The inquiry heard Dr Sanocka prescribed Yasmin, an oral contraceptive containing both oestrogen and progesterone, to a 47-year-old woman known as Patient A – who had high blood pressure and was also a smoker – on March 31, 2016.
She is also accused of prescribing Yasmin to treat an ovarian cyst in a 60-year-old woman, known as Patient B, who suffered from hypertension and high cholesterol, on November 23, 2015, and a separate allegation of failing to refer the woman for further investigation of an ovarian mass.
The final allegation relates to Dr Sanocka posting on her clinic’s website on or around March 22, 2017, that she was a specialist in gynaecology and andrology when she was not listed on the IMC’s register to conduct specialist medicine.
Ms Finneran said the allegations would also represent a failure to meet the standards of competence that would reasonably be expected of a qualified doctor.
Over seven days of evidence, Dr Sanocka, who is representing herself, told the committee she at all times believed she was entitled to describe herself as a specialist gynaecologist as she qualified with a level one diploma from Poland.
Ms Finneran said while Dr Sanocka is relying on the defence of being qualified in Poland, she was at no time on the Specialist Registrar in Ireland.
“It is clear from the facts that Dr Sanocka advertised her practice through her website by referring to an area of speciality for which she was not registered on the Specialist Registrar,” she said.
“Therefore, her conduct is contrary to the guide for professional conduct and ethics.
“As an indicator of how serious that conduct is, the Medical Practitioners Act of 2007 provides that a medical practitioner may be guilty of an offence if they falsely represent themselves.
“I raise that point simply to indicate the seriousness of what is alleged in this context.”
“In my submission, it is such a fundamental matter that a medical practitioner presents themselves as a specialist when they are not on the specialist division of the registrar that the committee can be satisfied to make such findings.
“In this regard, the committee should have regard for the need to protect the public.
“This allegation goes to the heart of that.”
The committee previously heard from GP Eimear McCarthy, who said she was “surprised and concerned” given Patient A’s medical history that she had been prescribed Yasmin by Dr Sanocka.
Dr McCarthy said she advised Patient A to stop taking the medicine because she was over 35 and a smoker, which placed her at an increased risk of blood clots and higher blood pressure.
Patient A told the inquiry Dr Sanocka did not explain the risks of the treatment – a claim denied by Dr Sanocka.
The inquiry has adjourned to a later date.