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Doctor not struck off for recording sex act in surgery
2:16pm Friday 5th October 2012 in Health
No action will be taken on the registration of a Hampshire-trained doctor who performed a sex act in front of a webcam in his consultation room.
Shortly after seeing patients in his morning surgery, Dr Damian Smith, 37, performed the sex act at his desk for a girlfriend who was viewing online.
Police later recovered a video file of the incident entitled ''Me In Surgery'' when they examined the hard drive of his computer, a medical disciplinary panel heard.
In the video dated December 31, 2010, Dr Smith sat at his surgery desk at the Peel Medical Centre on the Isle of Man with the lights out.
He identified himself on camera as a doctor and then turned it round for a quick tour of the room.
Dr Smith, who graduated from the University of Southampton, continued his conversation which became sexually explicit and then removed his trousers before performing the sex act.
A fitness to practise panel was told the doctor was sacked by his fellow partners at the practice but no criminal charges were brought by Isle of Man police. He confessed to his colleagues that he was ''utterly stupid'' and was ''shamefully sorry''.
Appearing at a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) hearing in Manchester, Dr Smith admitted committing an act of a sexually explicit nature, creating an electronic recording of it and then transmitting it to a third party.
His counsel, Alan Jenkins, said the incident was an ''entirely private moment'', albeit in the workplace of a surgery, as his door was locked.
The panel ruled his fitness to practise was impaired after saying he ''demonstrated a significant lack of judgment and integrity''.
Elizabeth Dudley-Jones, for the General Medical Council, argued Dr Smith should be suspended.
Mr Jenkins countered that the only reason the recording was discovered was due to a police investigation which did not lead to him being charged with any offence.
He said Dr Smith did not work for a year following the incident and during the period of the police inquiry was suspended by an Interim Orders Panel for six months.
The doctor had worked for two medical practices in the south west of England during the last year. Both practices subsequently invited him to continue working for them but he distanced himself until the current proceedings were concluded.
Mr Jenkins submitted he was a good and safe doctor who had shown remorse and insight.
The publicity of the aftermath of the incident had shamed him and would remain with him for the rest of his professional life, he said.
In conclusion, panel chairman Carrie Ryan-Palmer said: ''The panel noted the significant and compelling testimonial evidence presented on your behalf at this stage, which demonstrates that you are a good doctor who has continued to work safely and without any professional concerns and that you are, and always have been, well regarded by patients and other medical professionals.
''The panel noted that you have made contributions to the improvement and enhancement of the practices where you have worked in the time since this incident. It also noted that you have been frank and open with your employers and work colleagues about the incident which has given rise to these proceedings and considers that you have shown remorse.''
She added that Dr Smith had gone to the lengths of appointing a personal advocate and mentor who told the panel the doctor had felt great remorse and had learned lessons.
Ms Ryan-Palmer continued: ''The panel considers that you have shown insight into your behaviour and that the risk of any repetition of this incident is very low.
''Accordingly, the panel has determined that, given the exceptional circumstances and the powerful mitigating factors in your case, making no direction against your registration is an appropriate and proportionate response. The panel therefore determines that it is not necessary to take action on your registration.''