Chichester doctor’s fitness to practise ‘not impaired’

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A tribunal has found that a Chichester doctor’s fitness to practise is not impaired following accusations of him pursuing an ‘inappropriate sexual relationship’ with a patient.

The panel did find that Dr Bryan Ashton’s actions towards the woman ‘were inappropriate’ but ‘were not so serious as to amount to misconduct’.

It follows an eight-day tribunal last week where a Fitness to Practise Panel heard evidence against Dr Ashton, an A&E doctor at St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester.

Dr Ashton, 47, had been accused of pursing an improper emotional and sexual relationship with the patient between March 2009 and 2014.

Dr Ashton had been accused of having ‘non-consensual telephone sex’ with the woman, but the panel found that it was ‘not persuaded on the balance of probabilities that the alleged event took place’.

The panel were not persuaded that other accusations against Dr Ashton ever took place.

The pair did not ever have sex or kiss, the tribunal heard.

But in written findings: “The panel notes you accepted that you professional standards fell short and that you ought to have dealt with the issues which arose with Patient A earlier.

“The panel has determined that although this is inappropriate and may fall below the standards to be expected of a competent doctor it does not fall seriously below that standard.”

The report added: “Having determined that there is no serious misconduct, there is nothing on which to base a finding of impairment.

Your fitness to practise is therefore not impaired.”

The panel also found that Dr Ashton did not pursue an improper emotional relationship towards a second patient, and that his behaviour during the course of the consultation was not inappropriate.

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