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Doctor who couldn't take a pulse is struck off medical register

By Victoria O'Hara

A Northern Ireland-based doctor who was sacked for being unable to take the pulse of a patient has been struck off the medical register.

Dr Asia Ndaga is originally from Romania but was living in Northern Ireland when she was recruited as a junior doctor at Letterkenny General Hospital in 2010.

But Dr Ndaga was sacked within six weeks after medics in the County Donegal hospital raised serious concerns about her standard of work.

It was discovered during an Irish Medical Council (IMC) Fitness to Practice inquiry she was unable to take a pulse, failed to take a patient's history and could not gauge how much oxygen the patient was on. She was found guilty by the IMC of poor professional performance in 2011.

But it has since emerged that in 2012 she had applied for registration with the UK's General Medical Council (GMC) which regulates doctors in Northern Ireland. The doctor, who had an address in Co Antrim, did not disclose the previous concerns reported to the IMC in the Republic regarding her clinical competence.

She had not practised since 2010, however she contacted the GMC earlier this year and said she would not attend a scheduled performance assessment during its investigation.

In a letter to the panel she said: "I have not worked since 18 August 2010 till now, I would say that from 18 August 2010 to today my skills have diminished." Then during a Fitness to Practise Panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) in July, which she failed to attend, it was determined that "Dr Ndaga's name be erased from the Medical Register".

Her registration was also suspended, meaning she now cannot work in the UK.

The MPTS panel decided that Dr Ndaga "continues to pose a risk to patient safety".

It determined that, given the "serious deficiencies" identified in Dr Ndaga's practice it is necessary for the protection of members of the public, in the public interest and to maintain public confidence in the profession, to suspend her registration. Dr Ndaga gained her medical qualifications in Romania in 2008 and subsequently relocated to Ireland, where she was placed on the Register of the Medical Council of Ireland in 2009.

But concerned doctors decided it was necessary to formally assess her competence. During the assessment Dr Ndaga was asked to take a patient's pulse. She then incorrectly placed her fingers on the top of the patient's wrist instead of the underside.

She was then asked to show the consultant how to take a pulse from the patient's foot and once again put her fingers in the wrong place. Dr Ndaga was also unable to gauge how much oxygen the patient was on. After being sacked it later emerged she did not get enough points in a multiple-choice entrance exam for acceptance to a training post in one of Romania's hospitals.

She also had no experience in caring for patients.

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