The GMC has apologised for "any risk arising to patients" as a result of "inadequate" checks which allowed a woman to practise as a psychiatrist in the UK for 22 years.
New Zealander, Zholia Alemi, falsely claimed to have a medical degree from the University of Auckland when she registered in the UK in the 1995 but she had actually dropped out of medical school in her first year.
Alemi received a five-year prison sentence for fraud last month after she was found guilty of faking a dementia patient’s will. Alemi’s contract of employment with Cumbria NHS Trust was terminated after her initial arrest in 2016 and she was suspended from the medical register in June 2017.
In a statement, GMC Chief Executive Charlie Massey said: "These are serious issues and we are investigating them urgently to understand how this happened."
He said the GMC’s processes used today to confirm qualifications are more robust that those in place in the 1990s when Alemi joined the medical register.
"It is clear that in this case the steps taken in the 1990s were inadequate and we apologise for any risk arising to patients as a result. We are confident that, 23 years on, our systems are robust and would identify any fraudulent attempt to join the medical register," he said.