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Doctor who said Fife patient ‘sounded like they work for Al Qaeda’ cleared to continue career, tribunal rules

Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.
Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

A doctor who said a patient in Fife sounded like a terrorist and showed pornographic images to colleagues can return to unrestricted practise.

Dr Nikolay Tsakov said a patient “sounded like they worked for Al Qaeda” after reading names from a clinic list.

The incidents occurred while working for NHS Fife at Kirkcaldy’s Victoria Hospital.

The ear, nose, and throat (ENT) consultant also quoted comedy character Ali G by stating an increase in incidents of candida was due to “men drinking too much from the furry cup”.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) found his behaviour brought the profession into “disrepute”, at a tribunal in 2021.

His fitness to practise was found impaired by reason of misconduct. His registration is subject to conditions until June 29 2022.

However, this week, the body found Dr Tsakov’s fitness to practise to no longer be impaired.

It reached the decision after receiving a reflective statement from the doctor, as well as testimonials from colleagues.

Misconduct occurred at a number of health boards

The Fife incidents took place in November 2016.

He told a medical student he showed patients a photograph of himself holding an air gun and laughed about doing so.

And he said he had completed a course to be “more PC” after being in trouble for making inappropriate comments previously.

Dr Tsakov was also found to have committed misconduct at a number of other UK health boards.

While working at Hinchingbrooke Hospital in Huntingdon near Cambridge in October 2017, he stated to a pregnant colleague, “Is that what happens when you sleep with no knickers on?”

And in another incident, the Bulgarian native showed pornographic images of naked women to female colleagues.

In Northern Ireland in December 2017, he showed a picture of a toy rabbit with an erect penis on his mobile phone to more women he worked alongside.

Lastly, in Rotherham, he caused a child distress after shaking the patient’s head “vigorously” to remove grommets.

He also told a healthcare assistant she reminded him of “a German Nazi with blonde hair and green eyes”.

The doctor was further found to have used an unsterilised, unauthorised syringe on a 13-year-old patient, despite requests from a colleague not to do so.

‘I am determined to learn’

The tribunal heard evidence from workmates, who described him as “kind and helpful” and a “respectful and committed colleague”.

It also heard Dr Tsakov was “of some national renown” in his native country where he was considering a career as a comedian. And “matters which were found proved were failed attempts at humour to lighten the mood, put patients and colleagues at ease”.

Reflecting on his behaviour, Dr Tsakov issued a statement to the tribunal:

“The allegations against me are a cause of great shame, as someone who wants to help and heal.

“To find that I have offended and upset people is absolutely devastating. The process of being before the MPTS was one of the toughest things I have ever been through.

“I’ve felt physically unwell during the process. I felt exposed and vulnerable as every aspect of my life was under the spotlight.

“I am determined to learn from it and never repeat the mistakes that I have made.”

The tribunal “was satisfied that Dr Tsakov’s conduct has now been remediated and the risk of repetition is very low.”

It concluded: “There was no evidence before the tribunal to suggest that Dr Tsakov has repeated his misconduct.

“The tribunal therefore found that Dr Tsakov’s fitness to practise is no longer impaired.”

Tayside doctor who pulled sickies to work in private clinics can return to practise, tribunal rules

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