A GP who admitted to a disciplinary hearing that he ‘committed an explicit sex act’ at his Peel surgery, will face no action.
Dr Damian Smith told a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing he masturbated in front of a web cam in a consultation room.
The former Peel Group partner also admitted making a file of the recording and sending it to a third party.
He was arrested in January 2011 but was later released without charge.
Elizabeth Dudley-Jones, counsel for the General Medical Council (GMC), said police discovered the file on Dr Smith’s personal laptop after practice bosses raised concerns on New Year’s Eve 2010.
She added: ‘It is the GMC’s case that Dr Smith’s behaviour was indecent, inappropriate and his conduct was likely to bring the medical profession into disrepute.’
The panel was told Dr Smith later sent a letter of apology to the practice partners in which he said he was ‘shamefully sorry’ and that his actions were ‘utterly stupid’.
He wrote that the incident “could easily have been avoided” had he not taken his laptop into work.
In a letter to the GMC, the practice’s senior partner Malcolm Guild said Dr Smith’s clinical competence had never been called into question and there was no history of improper behaviour involving patients.
At the time of Dr Smith’s arrest, the Department of Health said: ‘The Peel Group practice would like to announce with immediate effect that Dr Damian Smith is no longer a partner with the practice.
‘We apologise for any inconvenience caused by this change but would like to reassure all his patients that they are registered at the Peel surgery and that their health care remains a priority to us.’
The doctor had worked for two medical practices in the south west of England during the last year. Both practices subsequently invited him to continue working for them but he distanced himself until the current proceedings were concluded.
Mr Smith’s counsel, Alan Jenkins said: ‘The publicity of the aftermath of the incident had shamed him and would remain with him for the rest of his professional life.’
Panel chairman Carrie Ryan-Palmer said the panel had noted the ‘significant and compelling testimonial evidence’ presented on Dr Smith’s behalf, which, ‘demonstrated that he was a good doctor who had continued to work safely and without any professional concerns’.
She added that he had always been ‘well regarded by patients and other medical professionals’.
The panel also noted that the doctor had ‘made contributions to the improvement and enhancement’ of the practices where he had worked since this incident and had ‘shown remorse’.
She concluded that, given the ‘exceptional circumstances and powerful mitigating factors’, no action should be taken on his registration.
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