GP who fleeced Alzheimer's patient of £10k is struck off the medical register
Former Co Fermanagh GP Dr Michelle Mellotte, who admitted exploiting and taking advantage of a former elderly patient, has been struck off the medical register.
The 61-year-old doctor from Bannagh Beg Road, in Kesh, was initially suspended from the register on an interim basis in December 2011 and, as a result, has been unable to practice as a doctor in the UK since then.
However, last week the ruling was endorsed, following a hearing by the Medical Practitioners' Tribunal Service, in St James's Buildings in Manchester to determine her fitness to practice. The hearing was conducted in light of an investigation by the General Medical Council.
The tribunal noted that the Fermanagh woman, who did not attend the hearing, did not oppose the GMC's case against her, and in written submissions, Dr Mellotte's legal team stated she accepted the "appropriate sanction" was erasure.
They also said: "She has already applied for voluntary erasure but that was declined, the GMC preferring to hold a hearing. Dr Mellotte has not practiced for many years now and has long since come to terms with the fact that her medical career is over." In April Dr Mellotte was given a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years after she had earlier pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by abuse of position between January 30, 2010, to April 22, 2011.
Summarising the case against Dr Mellotte, tribunal chairman Sean Ell said that she had "dishonestly exploited and took advantage of" a vulnerable elderly patient, taking from him £10,000 as a loan, none of which she repaid until an investigation by the police began.
Mr Ell said that Dr Mellotte's dishonest action had resulted in a "serious conviction" for fraud by abuse of position.
"She departed from the GMC's guidance in relation to professional standards. This departure, which occurred over a period of time, demonstrated behaviour that fell seriously below the standards expected of all registered medical practitioners," he said.
And he added: "The tribunal has determined that Dr Mellotte has put patients at unwarranted risk of harm, she has brought the profession into disrepute, she has breached fundamental tenets of the profession and her integrity cannot be relied upon."
After considering the evidence, the tribunal directed that Dr Mellotte's name be erased from the medical register. The Fermanagh doctor has 28 days to lodge an appeal before the tribunal's ruling becomes permanent.