Tax evading retired surgeon is struck off for “prolonged dishonesty”BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h6094 (Published 11 November 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6094
A former NHS consultant surgeon who made £1.4m writing expert reports for court cases has been struck off the medical register after admitting to evading nearly £459 000 in taxes.
Francis D’Arcy, 73, was semiretired as an NHS consultant ear, nose, and throat surgeon in Belfast when he began writing reports for police employees and soldiers who were bringing deafness claims against the UK government. He reported on hundreds of cases from 2008 to 2012, receiving an average of £250 a case, but he did not declare this income.
Last April he was sentenced at Belfast Crown Court to four concurrent two year jail sentences, suspended for three years, and was ordered to pay a fine of £230 000 after admitting to cheating the public revenue. He had already paid back all of the tax owed with interest.
Now the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service has erased him from the medical register after rejecting his application to be allowed to remove himself voluntarily. Victoria Goodfellow, who chaired the tribunal service panel, said that the panel had borne in mind D’Arcy’s “successful, unblemished career.”
But she added, “Mr D’Arcy undertook a prolonged and deliberate period of dishonesty which was persistent and covered up. This represented a serious departure from and a reckless disregard for the principles set out in [the General Medical Council’s] Good Medical Practice. It was an abuse of Mr D’Arcy’s position for which he has demonstrated little insight.” His behaviour was “fundamentally incompatible with being a doctor,” she added.
During the four years in which he produced the medical reports, D’Arcy would ask solicitors to make their cheques out to “Dr D’Arcy.” He paid the cheques into the accounts of his four children, who were all doctors. Two lived in the Republic of Ireland and two in Australia. He also asked for uncrossed cheques so that he could cash them without creating a written record.
Sentencing him last April, Mr Justice Weir said that D’Arcy had been in the final stages of “a long and distinguished career” in the NHS when he started receiving instructions to report on soldiers and police officers who alleged that their hearing was inadequately protected while firing weapons.
The judge said that the surgeon was “bound to be caught” because, when the claims succeeded, his fee accounts were included in the amounts payable by government departments, and HM Revenue & Customs could check those departments’ records to see exactly what fees he had been paid in each tax year.
Weir said that D’Arcy found himself “in disgrace after a lifetime of public service” and would have been jailed but for his “fragile” health and his wife’s medical condition, which “most exceptionally” justified suspending the sentences.
Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6094