Hospital doctor who touched nurse must be struck off, says High Court judge

Brian Farmer, PA
·2-min read

A hospital doctor who repeatedly touched a nurse in an “unwanted, non-consensual, sexually motivated” fashion must be erased from the medical register, a High Court judge has ruled.

Mr Justice Chamberlain concluded that Dr Christian Hanson, a specialist in emergency medicine who worked at Rotherham General Hospital, was given a lenient penalty by a Medical Practitioners Tribunal of the General Medical Council.

The tribunal had in September decided that Dr Hanson had committed misconduct in the “form of unwanted, non-consensual, sexually motivated behaviour” towards the nurse.

Members decided that his fitness to practise was impaired and imposed a 10-month suspension.

But Mr Justice Chamberlain has upheld an appeal by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.

Lawyers representing the authority said the tribunal had failed to recognise the seriousness of Dr Hanson’s conduct, and failed to impose a sanction which provided sufficient public protection.

They said  Dr Hanson’s name should have been erased from the register

The judge, who is based in London, announced his decision in a ruling on Friday after considering the authority’s appeal at a High Court hearing earlier this month.

He heard that Dr Hanson had approached the nurse in June 2018 while working at night.

The nurse was “relatively newly qualified” and Dr Hanson was in a position of authority, said the judge.

He said Dr Hanson’s conduct had “involved persistent and repeated touching”.

“Although the tribunal recognised that the misconduct found proven… was serious, it failed to recognise how serious,” said the judge, who is based in London, in his ruling.

He added: “He was a tall man; she was a small woman.

“He was many years her senior. He approached her at night, when he knew she would be alone.

“He deliberately guided her into a room away from others.

“His conduct on the way to the room and inside it was not limited to inappropriate remarks. It involved persistent and repeated touching, which was sexually motivated, and continued after she had made clear she considered it inappropriate and pushed him away.”

The judge said the nurse suffered “significant distress” and had been off work for several weeks.

“This was a calculated and deliberate abuse of power which foreseeably caused real harm to a fellow healthcare professional,” the judge added.

“Someone who has engaged in conduct of this kind poses a danger to the health, safety and wellbeing of the public (which includes co-workers), unless there is a proper basis for concluding that the conduct is unlikely to be repeated.”

He went on: “ Suspension might potentially have been appropriate if there had been strong mitigation providing a basis for concluding that repetition was unlikely, but no such basis was advanced or apparent.”