927 doctors and surgeons 'have criminal record, including child porn and sexual assault offences'

 

Nearly 1,000 doctors and surgeons have criminal records including child porn and sexual assault offences, it was reported today.

Some 927 physicians with convictions are practising, the General Medical Council (GMC) revealed in a Freedom of Information response to the Daily Mirror.

The figures showed that 25 doctors had convictions for actual bodily harm and three for grievous bodily harm, while three were caught in possession of indecent images of children.

There were also two convictions for causing death by dangerous driving, two of drug trafficking, and two of cruelty to children.

Other offences included attacking their partners, harassment, weapon possession, threats to kill, perverting justice, fraud, kerb-crawling, forgery and theft, as well as driving offences. The largest category, at 296, was for being drunk at the wheel.

None of those treated by the 927 physicians has been informed.

Niall Dickson, GMC chief executive, said: "Our job is to protect patients by ensuring that only doctors who are fit to practise are able to do so.

"The number of licensed doctors with criminal convictions is extremely small and in the vast majority of cases these doctors are either subject to restrictions on their practice or are struck off the medical register."

The GMC reportedly attempted to introduce an automatic block on doctors who are on the sex offenders register but were told by lawyers that this would breach human rights.

Under current law, cautions and convictions for doctors have to be examined by their governing body, but in many cases the GMC allows them to continue practising while issuing a warning or temporary suspension.

The body said that some doctors with convictions did have restrictions imposed, while individual NHS trusts are also free to take action against them.

Roger Goss, founder of campaigners Patient Concern, said: "Patients should be made aware if their doctor is found guilty of serious criminal offences that could affect their care and be allowed to make up their own minds if they want to risk being treated by them."

PA

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