Creswell: GP had sex with patient at surgery

Creswell Medical Centre
Creswell Medical Centre

A family doctor had sex with a female patient at a medical centre while other consultations took place in adjoining rooms.

Dr Maurice Ripley now faces being struck off after being found guilty this week of serious misconduct at a medical tribunal.

Dr Ripley also paid for the female patient to have breast implants and then threatened to rip them out when the relationship turned sour.

He began the affair with the woman after she came to see him at Creswell Medical Centre.

Rosalind Emsley-Smith, for the General Medical Council, told the panel: “The patient started to see Dr Ripley in a professional capacity from September 2009.”

“During those initial consultations, Dr Ripley would flirt with her, telling her she looked good for her age and asking if she worked out and if she lived alone.”

“He asked for her phone number, gave her personal information about himself, told her he was separated from his wife and that he and his wife had relationship problems.”

The ‘flattered’ patient gave Ripley her contact details and he began to send her saucy texts, the panel heard.

During ‘review appointments’ at the surgery Ripley gave her presents and they began to go on dates, the hearing was told.

“The doctor did use his professional position in relation to her pursue a relationship with her in the context of doctor patient consultations and in the context of his professional life,” Miss Emsley-Smith said.

“During at least one review they had sex in the consultation room at the surgery, during surgery hours,” she added.

“The patient had concerns about the relationship and suggested she should get another doctor.”

“He discouraged her, stating it would mean he would never have the opportunity to see her.”

“Dr Ripley texted her a number of times a day and the texts were sexual in nature.”

“She ended the relationship in March 2010, but he continued to message her.”

The woman then received a series of emails in November 2010, which discussed another ‘tangle’ he had with his professional regulator.

Ripley was banned from working for three months by the GMC in May 2009 when it emerged he had been prescribing himself with addictive drugs for seven years.

The GP wrote out the scripts for powerful painkillers and sedatives in the names of elderly patients at his Nottingham surgery to avoid paying the fees.

He admitted taking the drugs himself after a partner at his Bulwell practice alerted Nottingham Primary Care Trust.

Ripley was allowed to return to work in August 2009, but conditions on his practise were not lifted until November 2010.

“At the end of January or the beginning of February 2012 the patient heard again from Dr Ripley by text,” said Miss Emsley-Smith.

“This text informed her he had received a letter asking for £15,000, which he assumed was some kind of blackmail letter.”

Ripley said he thought it had been sent by her ‘crack-head boyfriend’, referring to her estranged husband, who he knew to have schizophrenia, the panel heard.

A string of threatening messages followed, one of them which read: “I have done so much for you. How could you repay me like this?”

In other messages Ripley allegedly claimed he had paid a ‘four-figure sum’ for somebody to kill her husband and said ‘he would never walk or talk again’ if he found out it was him who sent the letter.

Miss Emsley-Smith said: “The patient was really very scared having received those messages and felt unable to stay in her own home.”

One message stated: “I will rip your implants out if you don’t reply.”

She called police and Ripley was arrested.

He admitted sending the messages during interview and accepted a caution for harassment, but said he had no intention of carrying out the threats, the panel heard.

The panel, chaired by Dr Vicki Harris, found that Ripley used his professional position to pursue an improper emotional and sexual relationship with a patient between October 2009 and March 2010.

Dr Harris said: “Patient A has described being flattered by Dr Ripley who disclosed personal information to her and exchanged text messages. This progressed on to dating and the giving of gifts and money.”

“Patient A also stated that she had sexual relations with Dr Ripley on a number of occasions.”

In her witness statement Patient A recalled: “We mainly had sexual intercourse at his house; we did have sexual intercourse at the Cresswell Surgery in Dr Ripley’s consultation room.”

He was further found guilty of sending inappropriate emails to Patient A between November 24 and 25, 2010 and sending inappropriate and abusive text messages in January and February, 2012.

Dr Harris added: “The panel noted the unchallenged mobile phone forensics report prepared in relation to the analysis of the text messages.”

“The report shows that the text messages were sent from Dr Ripley’s mobile to Patient A.”

“Dr Ripley admitted sending them when he accepted a police caution in relation to them.”

“The panel noted that the text messages contained threatening and abusive language.”

“The text messages sent were entirely inappropriate for anyone to send, let alone a medical practitioner.”

The panel must now decide if his actions amount to misconduct and if his fitness to practise is impaired as a result,

If the decision goes against Ripley he could face being kicked out of the profession.

The hearing continues.