Regulators who checked the qualifications of 3,000 Commonwealth country doctors working in the UK after a fake psychiatrist was exposed by the News & Star say all have genuine qualifications.

At a cost of almost £30,000, the General Medical Council (GMC) ordered checks on the primary qualifications of 3,117 doctors who came to the UK after gaining their qualifications in Commonwealth countries.

The trawl was prompted by the case of Zholia Alemi, who masqueraded as a psychiatrist in the UK for an astonishing 22 years.

The News & Star uncovered her life of deception after contacting the medical authorities in New Zealand, where the 55-year-old claimed she had qualified.

We revealed how she never completed her medical training.

It emerged that Alemi - latterly working with a dementia clinic in west Cumbria - was accepted on the UK's Medical Register in the 1990s with forged qualifications.

We investigated her background after she was prosecuted for trying to fraudulently inherit a vulnerable pensioner's £1.3m estate.

The GMC has now completed its review of Commonwealth route doctors who came to the UK in the same way that Alemi did.

The national review checked the primary medical degrees of such doctors, and confirmed that all hold genuine degrees.

The GMC completed the work with the Educational Commission For Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG).

The Commonwealth route - formerly available to doctors who qualified in certain Commonwealth countries - was abolished in 2003.

Una Lane, Director of Registration and Revalidation at the GMC, said: ‘It was very important that these checks were carried out to reassure the public about the qualifications of their doctors. We are confident that the robust checks we use today would identify anyone attempting to join the register dishonestly.

‘The case which prompted this review was exceptional, but it’s unacceptable that even a single person was able to join our register in this way, and we apologise for any risk arising to patients as a result."

She added that the GMC is now considering whether any further checks of any other groups of doctors may be necessary.

The GMC insists the new system for checking the credentials of foreign seeking to work in the UK is far more rigorous.

All such doctors must also sit and pass both parts of Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test or provide equivalent evidence of their medical knowledge and skills; and also provide a comprehensive employment history and references for the previous five years; and attend the GMC offices in person to undergo an ID check, bringing all original documentation.