Doctor is guilty of misconduct

A RANBY doctor has been reprimanded for serious professional misconduct.

At a General Medical Council (GMC) Committee hearing, Dr Paul Scarrow admitted videotaping consultations with a female patient without her knowledge and consent.

The incidents happened on two occasions between June and July 2001, at his former private Silhouette Clinic at Ranby.

Dr Scarrow's reasons were that he believed the patient had an "ulterior motive." He had also been informed by the GMC of a possible complaint.

In the committee's findings, it stated that Dr Scarrow had breached his patients trust, privacy, and most importantly failed to obtain the patient's consent in making the covert recordings, according to the GMC's publication "Good Medical Practice."

It also highlighted that Dr Scarrow would have had access to 'Making and Using Visual and Audio recordings of Patients' a guide published by the GMC in 1997.

The Guidance states that, "Before making an audio or visual recoding of a patien,t you should ensure that the patient knows about the recording, is aware of its purpose and consents to it."

In the findings it said: "The committee have been told that you undertook these recordings without consent because you believed the patient had an ulterior motive in coming to see you.

"You wished to protect yourself, as you had been informed of an allegation that your clinical practice had been called into question."

"The Guidance, however, did not make exception for covert recording in such circumstances."

It added: "The videotaping was premeditated and took place on two occasions, but at that time you did not discuss your decision with a colleague or, indeed, seek legal advice on this issue."

It was noted, however, that the patient later gave consent to video recordings on 10th July, this year.

In summing up the report, it said: "The committee have an important duty to protect the public, maintain public confidence and to regulate the professional conduct of registered practitioners."

"We have therefore concluded that it is appropriate to record our strong disapproval of your conduct."

"Further, we found that your behaviour, though reprehensible, did not warrant the imposition of the more severe sanctions at our disposal and, exceptionally, we have determined to conclude the case with a reprimand."

"The committee hope that you have insight into your failings and that there will not be a repetition of this behaviour."