AN NHS paediatrician faces being struck off over allegations that he falsely diagnosed children with cancer for his own financial gain.

Dr Mina Chowdhury, a Stirling-based doctor and managing director of Meras Healthcare Ltd, is accused of scaring three different sets of parents into paying for a series of private scans and tests offered by his own company.

A tribunal is considering claims that Dr Chowdhury, who graduated with a degree in medicine from Glasgow University in 1998, avoided referring the children to the local NHS paediatric oncology department for further investigation or treatment by telling parents it would take too long or that the types of scanning equipment needed were not available.

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Dr Chowdhury is employed by NHS Forth Valley, but the patient cases covered by the tribunal related to work in his own private clinics, and not patients he was seeing as part of his NHS work.   

It is alleged that in March 2017, Dr Chowdhury caused "an unwarranted sense of concern" when he told a girl's parents that a lump attached to the bone in her leg was a soft tissue sarcoma - a rare type of cancer.

The tribunal heard that he made the diagnosis on the basis of examination alone "without clinical justification to do so at the time".

He is said to have told the girl's parents that he knew a doctor in London who could arrange for an ultrasound, MRI scan and biopsy to be carried out within a couple of days.

When the girl's mother asked whether they could wait for an NHS scan instead, he allegedly told her that it "would be confusing" to return to the NHS and that "if things are happening it is best to get on top of them early".

He is also accused of making entries in the girl's medical records that he knew were untrue, including a claim that the youngster's parents had pressed him for a diagnosis.

In June 2017, Dr Chowdhury, 44, treated a boy known only as Patient B.

It is alleged that he arranged "inappropriate" genetic testing to rule out cystic fibrosis before causing the boy's parents "an unwarranted sense of concern without sufficient clinical justification to do so at the time" by suggesting that that there were potential problems with their son's immune system and white blood cell count.

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A week later, during a Skype consultation, Dr Chowdhury suggested to the boy's parents that he could have blood cancer or lymphoma and also appeared to be suffering from a heart murmur.

He allegedly told them that there were no places in Scotland where echocardiograms (ECG) can be performed on children, but that he knew a place in London where treatment could be provided.

The following day, on June 14 2017, Dr Chowdhury allegedly reiterated his fears "without sufficient clinical justification" by telling the boy's mother and grandmother that he had detected a heart murmur on two separate occasions and that this "was not an innocent murmur".

It is also alleged in relation to Patient B that Dr Chowdhury "suggested a course of private treatment/investigation that was disproportionately expensive without offering appropriate referral for NHS treatment/investigation", and that he told the boy's mother that notifying his GP about the situation would cause "some confusion or miscommunication".

Dr Chowdhury is also accused of malpractice in relation to a girl known as Patient A, after he told her mother in August 2017 that she was suffering from a neuroblastoma in her stomach - a type of nerve cancer - which "could spread if left untreated".

Although he reached the diagnosis "without sufficient clinical justification", it is alleged he caused the girl's mother alarm by going on to say - with reference to cancer - that "we are going to have the conversation that all parents dread".

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He allegedly advised her to arrange a number of private blood tests for her daughter "as soon as possible", costing £3245, and that she undergo an MRI at London's Portland hospital.

It is alleged Dr Chowdhury also refused to write a letter to the girl's GP outlining her care and treatment.

The Medical Practitioners' Tribunal Service hearing, which is ongoing in Manchester, was told that Dr Chowdhury's actions were dishonest and "financially motivated" due to his role as managing director and shareholder in London-based Meras Global Ltd and Glasgow-based Meras Healthcare Ltd.

Meras Global is now dissolved according to Companies House records, but Meras Healthcare remains active.

The tribunal is expected to continue until November 1.