Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Doctor who cheated during Belfast exams guilty of misconduct

A doctor has been found guilty of professional misconduct after specialised computer software found he had been copying in two exams.

Dr Irfan Khan (32) appeared before a Medical Council fitness-to-practice hearing yesterday, accused of cheating on two separate entrance tests to the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) in the UK.

The RCP informed the Irish Medical Council because Dr Khan is based in Roscommon.

Dr Khan was charged with "procuring one or more answers" from another person's test, colluding in order to cheat and breaching regulations regarding reading other people's work in respect of the original exam in September, 2009, and again when he re-sat it in Belfast in January, 2011.

Yesterday's hearing heard that Dr Khan was caught out by a computer programme called an 'Anomaly Monitoring System'.

The software found identical patterns in relation to his 2009 exam although no action was taken as it was impossible to ascertain which candidate had been guilty of copying the other. However, when the system flagged Dr Khan again last year, the RCP examined his previous records.

Following a hearing, the RCP annulled his 2011 entrance test and prohibited him from re-sitting it for a year.

While this has no effect on his ability to continue practising, membership of the RCP is considered desirable for any doctor hoping to advance their career.

The doctor, who qualified in Pakistan in 2003, also received unspecified penalties in the UK.

Dr Khan said the AMS was a computer system measuring patterns and could not offer concrete evidence; he said that reporting the matter to the council was "malicious" and that he had not been guilty of negligence or gross misconduct.

The council found all charges -- with the exception of collusion -- to be proven and amounting to professional misconduct.

It is to recommend censuring the doctor.

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