A DOCTOR whose performance levels caused alarm bells to ring at two Lancashire hospital trusts has been suspended for a year.

Bosses at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) voiced concerns over the skill set of Dr Mihai Balanica in October 2016, while he was serving as a locum in their geriatrics department.

In a letter to the General Medical Council (GMC), ELHT officials said the Spanish-born doctor appeared to have limited experience and understanding of UK medicine, in particular geriatrics care.

He was also said to have little experience of how to operate as a junior doctor within a hospital setting.

Trust chiefs believed he was only functioning at the level of a clinical attachee, or a medic who could act in an observational role only, and would need “significant supervision” before he could work at the expected level of a junior ward doctor.

Just three months earlier officials at Blackpool Victoria Hospital had been involved in similar correspondence with the GMC.

Their concerns accused of him of failing to work effectively with colleagues, taking inadequate ward-round notes, failing to recognise what was wrong with a patient and refusing to discuss a case with microbiology.

His hygiene standards were also questioned after he wore the same gloves throughout a ward round, a fitness to practise hearing before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service was told.

Dr Balanica failed to attend a number of performance assessments, to test his skills, a panel heard, later claiming the proceedings had been too stressful.

Announcing his suspension for 12 months, MPTS panel chairman Andrew Webster said: “The tribunal has borne in mind the serious concerns raised regarding Dr Balanica’s knowledge, performance and attitude and the opinion expressed that (he) was functioning at the level of a clinical attachee.”