A doctor who encouraged two mothers to have their baby sons circumcised by an insufficiently experienced surgeon was found guilty yesterday of serious professional misconduct.

Dr Michael Harbinson referred the boys – one aged six months – to his colleague Peter Silverstone, the General Medical Council (GMC) was told. Mr Silverstone failed to anaesthetise either boy adequately and both ended up screaming.

Dr Harbinson, who had known Mr Silverstone for several years, paid him out of his GP fund-holding budget.

Dr Harbinson, of Rowlands Gill, Tyne and Wear, denied the charge. The GMC's professional conduct committee ruled that he could continue in practice, but subject to a condition he undergo retraining from his post-graduate dean for 18 months.

The committee will today consider a charge of serious professional misconduct against Mr Silverstone, a retired gynaecologist and obstetrician of Newcastle upon Tyne, who denies the allegation.

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