A locum doctor who hit out at politicians for failing to adequately fund the health service was found guilty of dishonestly claiming pay from the Southern Trust, it can be revealed.
Dr Fiachra McLaughlin launched an extraordinary attack, branding a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic as “criminal”.
He also said the fact healthcare workers were relying upon public donations of PPE was “shocking and unbelievable”.
The outburst came two months after a tribunal hearing found Dr McLaughlin guilty of invoicing the Southern Trust for work he never did.
A Medical Practitioners Service Tribunal (MPST) panel examined the case against Dr McLaughlin on March 16 and 17 — two days before Northern Ireland announced its first Covid-19 death.
The panel found he had submitted retrospective claims, through the HSC Locum website, for payment for work at Craigavon Area Hospital which he had not undertaken.
It found that his actions were dishonest.
According to the MPST website, “the Tribunal found that Dr McLaughlin’s communications with Ms A and Ms B of Southern Health and Social Care Trust in relation to work at the hospital, were untrue and dishonest”.
It has emerged that Dr McLaughlin, who studied medicine at Leicester University and graduated in 2014, criticised the provision of PPE by Stormont and Westminster in a social media post on May 19.
He said: “We have to support our nursing staff and medical staff with adequate personal peotection and not rely on charity donations like the the [sic] “Tory government have’. made us do.
“My brave and beautiful wife goes to work every day with next to no personal protective equipment from stormount [sic] which again is criminal and got very little help from the “Tory government ““ and I think that is shocking and unbelievable.
“#supportdoctorsandnurses not by clapping like the Tory ‘government’ came up with. Pay them adequately for the incredible work nurses and doctors do and risks they take daily and provide them all with adequate PPE so we can care for our patients who we would do anything for and remain our number one priority. #Supportdoctorsandnurses.”
Dr McLaughlin ended his post by asking his followers to donate to Pieta House, a charity which offers support to people experiencing mental ill health and people bereaved by suicide.
His Facebook page also includes a post supporting the healthcare strike that took place in December 2019 and January of this year.
Thousands of NHS workers took to the picket line to fight for better pay and conditions, and safer staffing levels.
Dr McLaughlin is registered with the General Medical Council without a licence to practise.
However, he is currently registered with the Medical Council Ireland and is due to complete GP training in the Republic.
The MPST panel is due to sit again next week to determine whether Dr McLaughlin’s fitness to practise is impaired by reason of misconduct.
It is not known whether the money paid to Dr McLaughlin was ever recouped.
A PSNI spokesman said police did not receive a report from the Southern Trust about the allegations. A spokesman from the trust said he could not comment on individuals.