Doctor struck off for sexual misconduct

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A GP who grabbed a patient’s breasts in the presence of her young child, has been struck off.

Dr Colin Wilson was a partner at Oban’s Lorn Medical Centre when the assault happened in December 2017, a Medical Practitioners Tribunal heard.

Making its ruling on October 10 and suspending his name immediately from the medical register, the tribunal was of the opinion that a reasonable member of the public would ‘be appalled’ that a doctor could sexually assault a patient while her child was also in the consulting room ‘and not be erased (struck off) as a consequence.’

The patient, who had taken her three-and-a-half-year-old son to the surgery with a chesty cough, had also complained of having a sore throat.

In her witness statement she said Dr Colin Wilson examined her throat and then without warning, put his hand up her jumper and t-shirt cupping both her breasts over her bra. She said she could feel his fingers on her skin. ‘It was literally just a grab and then he then took his hand out of my clothes,’ she added. The tribunal concluded he did this without any clinical reason to do so and that his actions were sexually motivated.

The woman told her partner what happened when she got home and the next day  reported it to the medical centre, the police, NHS Highlands and the General Medical Council (GMC)

Dr Colin Wilson was detained and interviewed under caution, but was not charged with any offence. DNA taken from her bra was inconclusive.

Lorn Medical Centre was told on January 10, 2018, that he was no longer under investigation and he returned to work soon after.

The woman was ‘greatly upset and alarmed’ when she realised that he would be returning to work. As a result of the sexual assault she needed counselling.

The GP retired in 2020 after 35 years as a GP in the town but could still have returned to the profession.

Dr Colin Wilson did not give a statement or oral evidence at the tribunal but its members heard good character reports from colleagues, friends, patients and associates, and that he had no criminal, disciplinary or regulatory findings against him. He had also served as a medical advisor for the RNLI before stepping down at the same time as he retired as a GP.

Female colleagues and patients supporting him were shocked and surprised by the allegation. Dr Colin Wilson himself was also shocked and angry by it, the tribunal was told.

In her evidence, the patient – credited as a reliable, balanced and measured witness –  said as he had started to put his hand up her top she had pulled her t-shirt down asking, ‘do you need to?’. But bypassing her, he did it anyway. Going ahead without her consent constituted a failure of his duty as a doctor, the tribunal found.

Significant evidence was also heard about whether Dr Colin Wilson would have
been able to cup a breast despite holding a stethoscope and despite a hand deformity, but he would still have been able to make a grabbing motion, the tribunal was told.

The woman described how the GP had been ‘very clear’ during the consultation with her child, but said when putting his hand up her top and afterwards he would not use eye contact and was speaking in broken sentences.

Dr Colin Wilson was also found to have failed to adequately record the consultation in the woman’s medical records, only noting she had large tonsils that might need removing.

Through his legal advisor, Dr Colin Wilson had apologised to the woman during the tribunal, feeling that he may ‘not have adequately communicated’ with her.

The tribunal determined that the misconduct proved against him combined with the lack of adequate insight, reflection and remediation on his part was so serious that his behaviour was fundamentally incompatible with his continued registration as a doctor. He does have the right to appeal.

If you have experienced sexual assault, you can receive help and advice by visiting www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk