Hey, you over there, fancy an MBE?

Oops. Bit of a slip-up, Ma’am.

A consultant surgeon who was appointed an MBE in last week’s Queen’s Birthday Honours for “services to patient safety” is a serial fraudster who has harmed patients and was struck off the medical register in 2002 for gross professional misconduct.

Lots of red faces around the Palace or Number 10 or whichever place it is that does the choosing. “I say, Clive, did we really give a gong to this frightful bounder who got himself struck off all that time ago? Time for us to bugger off to Melbourne right about now, don’t you agree?”

It appears the Cabinet Office Honours Committee, which selects candidates for the awards, was unaware of Dr Banerjee’s background. In 2000 he was involved in one of the most notorious cases of research misconduct in recent medical history. He was found guilty of falsifying a scientific paper which had been published in 1990 but was covered up for a decade.

He was awarded a degree by the University of London and made a professor by the Royal College of Surgeons based on the fraudulent research. He was later suspended from the medical register and his co-author, Professor Tim Peters, was also found guilty of serious professional misconduct for his part in the cover up.

Two years later Dr Banerjee was again found guilty of serious professional misconduct for financial dishonesty and was struck off the medical register. He had misled patients about the length of NHS waiting lists to induce them to go private and had sought payment for treatments not performed.

That…is not nice.

Peter Wilmshurst, a cardiologist at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire and a campaigner on medical research fraud, said: “Mr Banerjee did awful things and only eight years after getting back on to the medical register he is rewarded with an MBE.

“If you have got a record of misconduct going back to the late 1980s, you would have to do something very remarkable in the next eight years to deserve an award. But I have not heard of him doing anything.”

Bit of a snafu, Ma’am, if you’ll pardon the expression.


  1. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    A running joke in The Goon Show was: “Have an M.B.E.”
    “No thanks, I’m trying to give them up.”

  2. says

    It appears the Cabinet Office Honours Committee, which selects candidates for the awards, was unaware of Dr Banerjee’s background.

    Then how the hell would they come to even choose him for an MBE in the first place? What do they do, draw names out of a hat? Or is this one of those things where some poli or interest group puts them forward?

    It would be interesting to know, and it’s really something they should look into and expose.

  3. says

    The committees consider nominations sent in by just about anybody. it seems (although I presume nominations from MPs and other dignitaries or famous institutions are given more weight than nominees from the hoi-polloi).

    How to write a nomination if you want to put someone forward for a national honour.

    This guidance covers how to write a citation if you want to nominate someone for a national honour. It also includes information on

    * how to show how a candidate has changed things, brought distinction to British life or enhanced the UK’s reputation in their area or activity
    * what to include
    * what language to use

    They’ve got some case studies with leaflets, too.

  4. grumpyoldfart says

    It appears the Cabinet Office Honours Committee, which selects candidates for the awards, was unaware of Dr Banerjee’s background.

    Sounds like Banerjee was waving around favors, money, or shit files. Any one of those items is enough to get things done – and it’s not unusual. Here’s what happened in Australia a few decades ago:

    One celebrated case involved a NSW businessman, Justin Hickey, who purchased a knighthood for $100 000. When questioned on television as to how he came to be knighted by the Queensland government, he said he had made the large donation to support a hospice in Bjelke-Petersen’s electorate. When the journalist Peter Ross asked him whether he had made the payment before or after the knighthood was announced, he replied candidly: ‘Oh no I paid the $100,000 before I ever received the knighthood’ (see Coaldrake 1989:141–2). When asked in the Parliament how much Hickey or his associates had donated to the Bjelke-Petersen Foundation, the Premier refused to answer, claiming tangentially that the Opposition Leader had outstanding debts. Others who exploited the system were perhaps not so forthright (and opposition members even claimed that ‘Sir’ Frank Luton, of the notorious Russell Island land scandal and facing trial for fraud, had paid $25 000 for a bogus knighthood in the 1980s). With hindsight, such abuses of state-nominated honours merely helped discredit the imperial honours system; and interestingly, Bjelke-Petersen was the last member of the government to be awarded a knighthood.

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