Great Ormond Street doctor suspended from NHS job for using wife’s free TfL travel pass

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

A senior paediatrician has been suspended from his NHS job for six months after he was found using his wife’s TfL travel pass. Dr James Ip, a consultant paediatric cardiac anaesthetist at the central London children’s hospital, was convicted of not having a valid ticket.

He used the pass 55 times from December 2021 to February 2022, which was considered when a £500 fine was issued.

The tribunal stated it was an issue of “serious” dishonesty.

The General Medical Council (GMC) claimed his actions risked undermining public confidence in the profession.

Dr Ip was caught using his wife’s travel pass by a Transport for London (TfL) ticket inspector at Hammersmith Station on February 7 last year.

He also admitted to using the card, which entitled his wife to free travel, on 54 other occasions between 13 December 2021 and 4 February 2022.

It is not clear why his wife, who was not named in the tribunal’s report, was given a free travel pass.

Dr Ip admitted entering a compulsory ticket area without a valid ticket in court in July and was convicted and issued a £500 fine.

He was also ordered to pay compensation of £297 and costs.

The GMC, who presented the case for Dr Ip to be suspended to the medical tribunal panel, admitted that his actions didn’t pose a risk to patients.


It further claimed that there was no evidence his care was substandard, adding that he is a “well-respected and a skilled clinician”.

However, they said Dr Ip had acted dishonestly by using a free travel pass that he was not entitled to.

In a statement Dr Ip claimed part of the reason he used the pass was resentment about NHS staff having to pay to use TfL services during the pandemic, but added he now recognised that as wrong.

He said: “I see now that this rationalisation was illogical, immoral and wrong,’ he wrote in a statement explaining his actions to the tribunal.

“I recognise that fare evasion is a form of theft and free loading from other passengers and there was no excuse for not paying for my tickets.

“I have since admitted my wrongdoing and apologised to Transport for London for my conduct.”

Dr Ip has 28 days to appeal the tribunal’s decision which was handed down on March 9.

However, the decision by the tribunal has not gone down well with the medical community.

Neurologist Dr David Nicholl from Birmingham wrote sarcastically on twitter: ‘“Dear parent, Gt Ormond St are REALLY sorry but your child’s heart op is delayed 6 months… as our cardiac anaesthetist has been suspended 6 months by the GMC for using his wife’s Oyster card, for which he was already fined, we’re sure you’ll be pleased with this”.’

On the other hand, some believed that doctors were not above the law and should face professional sanctions if they broke the law.

Dr Joel Giblett, a cardiologist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “You can’t dishonestly commit fraud repeatedly over an extended course and think there’s no consequence.

“It wasn’t a one off. It only stopped when he was caught.”