An investigation has been launched into whether a bogus doctor who practised for years in Cumbria ordered electroconvulsive therapy for patients.

The Scottish government’s chief medical officer has asked six NHS health boards to provide details of treatments prescribed by convicted fraudster Zholia Alemi.

One possible treatment prescribed by Alemi to patients during her time in Scotland is electroconvulsive therapy.

Prescribed by psychiatrists today to tackle mental health issues only in specific circumstances, the therapy involves sending electric currents through the brain to deliberately trigger an epileptic seizure.

In a letter sent last week to six Scottish NHS boards, Scotland’s chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood also requested records of any new diagnoses made by Alemi, as well as any new drugs prescribed by her.

Employed most recently by the NHS as a psychiatrist in Cumbria, her deception - which began in 1995 - was uncovered by the News & Star after Alemi’s conviction for fraud last year.

It came to light that the 56-year-old New Zealander had used an administrative loophole to evade strict background checks upon arrival in the UK, and pretended to be a qualified doctor for 23 years.

With some of those years spent working for the NHS across Scotland, the Edinburgh government is now examining the possibility that hundreds of mental health patients were administered a range of treatments under Alemi’s unqualified care.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran have confirmed that it employed Alemi as a locum for a year and a half in 2007.

During her time with NHS Ayrshire and Arran, she saw 395 general patients. Twenty four were detained by her under the Mental Health Act.

The board’s medical director, Dr Alison Graham told Glasgow newspaper The Herald ““We are in the process of reviewing all notes

“We would like to apologise for any distress this situation may have caused.”

Alemi also worked for NHS Borders for several weeks in 2003, and for a short time with former NHS board Argll and Cylde. NHS Tayside employed Alemi for a short period of time in 2009, and she was employed in Inverness by NHS Highland for six months in 2003.

Convicted by a Carlisle Crown Court in October 2018 of faking the will of a vulnerable elderly widow in an attempt to inherit a £1.3m estate, Alemi is now serving a five year jail sentence.

However the true extent - and impact - of her decades-long deception is now the focus of fresh investigations by police in Cumbria and in Scotland.

The revelation that Alemi successfully faked an NHS career as a psychiatrist for more than two decades also prompted the General Medical Council to begin checks of some 3,000 doctors working in the UK with foreign qualifications.