A family doctor was cleared of smacking a woman’s bottom and commenting on her son’s ‘man boobs’ after concerns were raised over the reliability of the patient’s evidence.
Dr Amit Banerjee was accused of sexually motivated behaviour towards the mother-of-six on five occasions between 1995 and 2008 at his practice in Stockton.
The GP, from Wynyard, denied the allegations and has been vindicated by a panel at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester where he was accused of misconduct.
The allegations have been hanging over him since 2009 when the patient complained that he deliberately smacked her bottom when she was being weighed and told her “he’s nearly got bigger ones than you” after examining her overweight teenage son’s chest.
He was suspended by the PCT in 2010 as a result of the claims and quizzed by police who did not bring any charges.
Dr Banerjee was also said to have conducted an inappropriate internal examination, told the patient to take her knickers off and groped her breasts, on separate occasions.
The GP admitted to conducting the consultations, which he said he has no specific memory of, but maintained that all his actions would have been clinically necessary.
Several of the original allegations were dropped at an earlier stage after the panel decided there was insufficient evidence to make a decision on the facts and the medic has today (Thurs) been cleared of the rest of the serious charges.
“The panel had considerable concerns about the reliability of some of Patient A’s evidence. Her accounts were often contradicted by the contemporaneous medical records,” said Dr Malcolm Phillips, panel chair.
“During her oral evidence, Patient A admitted that she had driven without a licence and without insurance.
“Earlier, she had denied the date of a consultation on the ground that she remembered driving to it and that she could not have driven at that date as she had not passed her test at the time.
“However, under cross-examination, she later admitted that she was driving for some years despite being unlicensed. In the Panel’s judgment, Patient A was not truthful in her evidence, has shown a disregard for the law and was not reliable in her reconstruction of events.
“Her evidence was, in many respects, confused and she had difficulty remembering dates and events, while claiming to have a recollection of specific details.
“The Panel found this improbable. The Panel continues to have considerable reservations about the weight that can be put on her evidence.”
But Dr Banerjee has admitted that he failed to record an internal examination with Patient A in 1996 and the panel found he failed to record a breast examination the following year.
The GMC alleged the GP did this to conceal the consultations ever took place, but the panel ruled that they were clinically justified although his record keeping was inadequate.
The panel must now decide, on the basis of the facts found proved, whether Dr Banerjee’s failings amounted to misconduct and if so whether his fitness to practise is impaired as a result.
Elizabeth Dudley-Jones, for the GMC, said: “On behalf of the GMC I do concede that this panel is unlikely to find impairment based on the facts found proved or admitted by the doctor.
“We do submit that it is a matter ultimately for this panel to consider to issue a warning for several incidents of a lack of record keeping.”
Dr Banerjee retired last year and his practice has since merged with several others to form one central development in the town’s Clarence Street.
The hearing continues.