A leading NHS surgeon has been censured by two medical regulators and suspended by one of them, for repeatedly vandalizing his colleagues’ cars in their hospital car park, the Guardian can reveal.
Andrew Baker has received a formal warning from the General Medical Council (GMC) after being cautioned by police on six counts of causing criminal damage by dragging a key alongside vehicles.
The GMC told Baker, a maxillofacial surgeon at Leicester Royal Infirmary, that his behavior risked undermining patients’ trust in him as a doctor and in the medical profession as a whole. The warning was placed on his record last October and will continue until the same month this year.
However, the General Dental Council (GDC) – which also regulates Baker – has taken tougher action. He banned her from practicing as a dentist for a year and strongly criticized her integrity after she broke her rules by failing to tell her he had been tipped off by Leicestershire Police.
Baker damaged his colleagues’ cars six times between October 2020 and January 2021, vandalizing a colleague’s car twice, before being arrested. The incidents were captured on CCTV.
Under the terms of the warning given to him last March, he agreed not to park in the hospital car park for 20 weeks and not to commit any more offenses for the same period, to send written apologies to each co-worker, to pay for necessary repairs and to take a victim awareness course.
Baker is highly respected in his field and performs specialist surgeries, including on patients with head and neck cancer. A colleague of his said, “He is a very good surgeon, and a surgeon who does life-saving operations.
“His behavior was very strange and not normal for anyone. He made a mistake during this period of his life, but he clearly shouldn’t have done it and he regrets it. He is incredibly contrite.
Baker graduated as a medical doctor in 1990 and became an oral and maxillofacial surgeon in 1999.
His vandalism of his colleagues’ vehicles came to light recently when the GDC held a disciplinary hearing into his actions and decided to issue a provisional suspension, which bars him from working as a dentist until next February.
Baker’s colleague added: “He wrote letters to everyone involved apologizing and paying [to repair the damage to colleagues’ cars]. He has taken responsibility and wants to move on.
In the GDC court, the lawyer representing the regulator said that “the surgeon’s criminal offense was not an isolated momentary lapse of judgment, but rather appears to be something more lasting.
“[His] loss of control and resorting to violent or destructive behavior [was] a real concern. Baker offered no defense, did not attend the hearing, or have an attorney represent him.
In her decisionwhich it posted on its website, the GDC’s Interim Orders Committee said Baker’s damage to cars belonging to NHS staff in an NHS car park “is inherently serious in the judgment of the committee”.
The regulator has expressed concern that Baker has not told them about her caution, even though her rules require anyone on her registry to tell her if they are convicted of a crime anywhere in the world.
She only became aware of her behavior when she learned of the GMC’s warning last November. He noted that he “attempted to conceal from the GDC his prior criminality and the investigation conducted by the GMC. The documents before the committee raise serious concerns about the probity of Mr. Baker,” he said. he concluded.
Baker did not respond when contacted by the Guardian to respond.
Dr Andrew Furlong, medical director of the Leicester University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the Leicester Royal Infirmary, said the GDC’s actions had not affected Baker’s role with them.
“All of our healthcare professionals, at all levels, are required to hold GMC registration to work in our hospitals. Patient safety is our number one priority, so if a physician’s GMC license is revoked, the individual will not be able to continue working in our hospitals,” he said.