A DOCTOR claims he was suspended after hospital managers accused him of falsely stating on his CV that he had appeared on TV's Blind Date.
Dr Sushant Varma, 32, said he had been on Cilla Black's dating gameshow when he applied for a house officers' job at Halton Hospital in Runcorn, Cheshire.
He thought it would make him sound more interesting but it was later revealed he had only been in the audience of the show in 1997.
As a result, he claims, an "alert letter" was sent to nearby hospital managers, warning them to check his references.
It is claimed his managers even wrote to the producers at LWT who confirmed he had never appeared on the show.
Dr Varma, who was an extra in The Full Monty, was suspended in March 2002 for one year on £24,000 per annum.
The doctor resigned last year without returning to work and claims he has not been able to find a job since.
A spokesman for the hospital last night "categorically denied" that Dr Varma's suspension was due to his Blind Date claim and said there were a "number of issues" involved.
Dr Varma, who now lives in Sheffield, said he was sorry for making a "silly mistake".
But he claims he is now unable to find any work after his "honesty and trustworthiness" were questioned.
He said: "Even if the alert letter was withdrawn, I know I'll never work as a doctor in this country again.
"It's frustrating in that we are in an age when we are short of doctors, hospital waiting lists are rising, we have to import doctors from other countries and send patients abroad for treatment.
"Yet here I am, an English-born and trained doctor, fluent in English and not able to work because of trivial matters."
A spokesman for Halton Hospital said: "North Cheshire Hospitals NHS Trust categorically denies that doctor Varma was suspended because of an alleged lie on his CV about appearing on Blind Date.
"There are a number of issues which led to his suspension that will be the subject of an industrial tribunal in June.
"It would be highly inappropriate for the trust to comment on this before the hearing."
He has previously hit the headlines in his home town of Sheffield when he helped a passenger who had an epileptic fit on a holiday flight.
Dr Varma was travelling from Manchester to Cyprus when the emergency appeal went out two hours into the flight.
He has also previously rushed to the aid of a heart attack victim in a packed supermarket in Ormskirk, Lancashire, close to his parents' home.
Dr Varma added: "The wife of the man whose life I saved on the holiday flight did not care whether I had been on Blind Date or not.
"And I've had supportive comments from members of the public.
"When people have heard why I'm not working, they've been outraged.
"What's really frustrating is, when I read in newspapers of people waiting for ages in casualty, and I keep thinking 'I could do something to help, if they'd let me'. And I'm sure patients would think the same."
His case will be heard at an employment tribunal in Liverpool in June where he is making a claim for constructive dismissal and race discrimination.