Health Team

Fake psychiatrist prompts UK investigation of 3,000 foreign doctors

Posted November 19, 2018 5:03 a.m. EST

— Up to 3,000 foreign doctors in the UK are having their backgrounds checked after it emerged that a fake psychiatrist was allowed to practice with no qualifications for 22 years.

Zholia Alemi was jailed for fraud last month after conning medical bodies into believing she had a qualification from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Her crime was only discovered after she changed an elderly client's will to make herself a beneficiary.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has now launched an investigation into thousands of UK-based doctors who registered for UK licenses in the same way as Alemi, Britain's Press Association reported.

"Patients deserve good care from appropriately qualified professionals and place a great deal of trust in doctors. To exploit that trust and the respected name of the profession is abhorrent," the GMC's chief executive Charlie Massey said in a statement.

"Our processes are far stronger now, with rigorous testing in place to ensure those joining the register are fit to work in the UK. It is clear that in this case the steps taken in the 1990s were inadequate," Massey added.