This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Doctor illegally circumcised dozens of boys
by David W Owen
A doctor has been ordered to pay more than £32,000 after admitting illegally circumcising dozens of young boys.
Dr Hassan Abdulla carried out the operations while working at the private Al-Khalill Clinic in Conway Road, Evington, Leicester, between October 2011 and January last year.
Leicester Magistrates’ Court heard that although he was qualified to perform the procedures, he did so without being registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), which is required by law.
Dr Abdulla (62), of Scothern Lane, Sudbrook, Lincoln, pleaded guilty to five offences involving operations on individual boys when he appeared at court on Monday.
He also admitted to a charge relating to illegal surgery performed on a further 36 children.
He was fined £2,700 and ordered to pay over £30,000 in costs.
Carl May-Smith, prosecuting, told the court that healthcare services are required to be registered with the CQC so they can be “subject to regulation”.
He added it was important that people know whether such services “meet national standards of quality and safety”.
“Mr Abdullah should have known he needed to register, being a qualified health care professional with a duty to follow up on these matters,” he said.
Mr May-Smith said the CQC was alerted to Dr Abdulla’s illegal practice by members of the local community and the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.
In bringing the prosecution, the independent health regulator carried out two visits to Dr Abdulla’s Evington practice.
Mr May-Smith said that what was found would not have met the national standards of quality and safety.
“Infection control practices were inadequate, equipment being used was out of date and staff were not appropriately trained,” he said, adding that five of the children Dr Abdulla carried out the procedure on suffered complications and required further medical treatment.
The court heard that Dr Abdulla had provided circumcisions for children, mainly of parents adhering to the Islamic and Jewish faiths, since the NHS halted offering non-therapeutic surgery back in 2005.
He had not been required to register with the previous health regulator, the Health Commission, before it was replaced by the CQCin 2009.
Russell Davies, in mitigation, said Dr Abdulla had sought to register with the CQC in September 2011 but had been unaware that his initial application had been rejected.
He pleaded guilty to the six charges on the basis that he should have known he could not provide the service without being registered with CQC.
The court heard, however, that the CQC wrote to Dr Abdulla when his application was refused and spoke to him by telephone.
Mr Davies added: “With Dr Abdulla’s behaviour, the objective was not commercial gain.
“He is not only a man of good character but someone with a hitherto unblemished record.”
Dr Abdulla was fined £450 for each of the charges and ordered to pay £30,099.80 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.
Sentencing him, District Judge Timothy Daber said: “Without registration, the CQC had no power to regulate your practice, thereby putting patients at risk.”
Following the hearing, Fiona Allinson, compliance manager for the CQC, said: “This sends a clear message to any healthcare professionals that they not only need to ensure they are registered with CQC but we will take action against those who fail to do so.
“By not being registered, providers of care put people at risk as it is not possible for CQC to assess the quality of service being offered.”