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Home Dartford News Article
A former Dartford GP who had a sexual relationship with a patient came within “a hair’s breadth” of being struck off the medical register, a tribunal has ruled.
Dr Andrew Patrick Doyle, of The Orchard Practice in Tower Road, was suspended for the maximum period of 12 months after being found guilty of serious misconduct.
The GP’s behaviour with the woman, identified only as Patient A, included exchanging sex texts and sharing violent and sexually explicit reading material with her.
A tribunal heard this included books of a sadomasochistic nature, which he published on the internet.
One, entitled “The Devil’s Daughters”, was later found at the patient’s home.
The fitness to practise hearing, held by the Medical Practitioners’ Tribunal Service, also heard the GP handed the woman a knife and asked her to kill him.
He also admitted lending the patient money, buying her a shirt as a gift, kissing and cuddling her on one occasion, giving her lifts in his car and visiting her home on several occasions for non-clinical reasons.
The GP also prescribed the same patient, who died of breast cancer last year, excessive quantities of insomnia medication zopiclone between January 2008 and August 11, and the painkiller codeine between May and August 2011.
Dr Doyle also admitted prescribing morphine in inappropriately high quantities when combined with her other medications between July and August 2011.
He also failed to inform psychiatric colleagues treating the woman of the quantities of opiate medication being prescribed to her, and failed to seek advice in relation to such prescriptions.
Dr Doyle became a partner at the surgery in 1995 but did not become the woman’s doctor on an exclusive basis until 2005.
It was alleged he embarked on a sexual relationship with the woman between September 2010 and August 2011.
This was denied by the GP and the MPTS ruled that such a relationship only occurred between May 2011 and August 2011.
He also disputed that he prescribed the woman the painkiller pentazocine when it was not clinically indicated between July and August that same year, and that charge was withdrawn by the GMC during the hearing.
The independent hearing by the MPTS found that Dr Doyle breached “good medical practice” in relation to both his improper emotional relationship and clinical care of the woman.
“You have an awareness of the deplorable nature of your past behaviour” - Dr Surendra Kumar
The General Medical Council argued the appropriate sanction was “erasure” of Dr Doyle from the medical register.
However, the panel ruled that he was a “good doctor” and not a “sexual predator”, and the public interest would be best served by suspension.
Chairman Dr Surendra Kumar told the GP, who admitted being “out of his depth” with the patient: “The panel accepts that you are not a sexual predator, and that your insight and expressions of remorse indicate that you do not have a harmful, deep-seated personality or attitude problems.
“You have an awareness of the deplorable nature of your past behaviour.”
Dr Kumar also said that in deciding the length of suspension, it considered Dr Doyle’s misconduct to be at the “very serious end of the scale”.
She added: “The panel considers that your serious misconduct brought you within a hair’s breadth of erasure.”
Dr Doyle can appeal against the decision, although his suspension will remain in force until the outcome.
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