A surgeon who “put financial interests before patients” has been struck off by the General Medical Council.
Bobby Qureshi cultivated a high media profile as an eye expert and featured patients June Brown, of EastEnders, and Lady Annabel Goldsmith in adverts.
But a tribunal found his treatment of elderly, vulnerable patients dishonest and deliberately misleading.
Twenty-four patients gave evidence against him. Some had spent their life savings on a £24,000 treatment.
As medical director of the private London Eye Hospital, the surgeon offered an operation implanting innovative lenses in people with age-related macular degeneration.
The most common cause of blindness, AMD is progressive and there is no cure. And most of Mr Qureshi’s patients were over the age of 70.
“The patients, many of whom were vulnerable, were also subjected to pressure selling by Mr Qureshi’s staff, a practice which he had allowed to be used,” the GMC found.
Risk was inadequately explained and many of the patients felt the operation had made their eyesight worse – but their complaints were dismissed.
One woman complained to Mr Qureshi she was no longer able to read after the surgery but he disagreed, adding: “I’m a world famous ophthalmologist, are you trying to say you know more than me?”
She left in tears and has since been registered blind.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service panel also heard as evidence a 2016 interview from BBC Radio 4’s You and Yours programme, in which concerns were put to Mr Qureshi by presenter Winifred Robinson.
Marie Bannister told BBC Radio 4’s In Touch programme when her elderly father had the operation, the risks had not been fully discussed.
Ms Bannister, of Cornwall, said: “If he would have stuck with normal decline, he would have had his eyesight a lot longer.
“Like most people, we tend to focus on the benefits.
“I could kick myself now and I feel deep regret that we did it – and so sorry for my dad.”
The panel heard Mr Qureshi was a skilled surgeon with no previous disciplinary findings.
It found there was misconduct and removal of Mr Qureshi’s name from the Medical Register was the “only appropriate sanction in order to meet the overarching objective which is to protect patients, maintain public confidence in the medical profession and uphold proper professional standards”.
The London Eye Hospital is under different management.
The Macular Society received complaints about Dr Qureshi and assembled the list of complainants who gave evidence to the GMC.
Chief executive Cathy Yelf said: “We are pleased that the GMC has been so clear in its determination that Mr Qureshi acted dishonestly and carried out many of these lens implants for profit and not for the good of his patients.
“His behaviour has shocked us and caused immense distress and financial harm to many people.”