GMC clears doctor to practice

A DOCTOR who was censured for having sex with a patient he was treating for depression will not face further action, the General Medical Council ruled yesterday.

A DOCTOR who was censured for having sex with a patient he was treating for depression will not face further action, the General Medical Council ruled yesterday.

Anthony Leeper, 50, was told by the GMC in February 2004 he would have to work under supervision for two years after he admitted serious professional misconduct.

He had been a partner at Hardwicke House Surgery in Sudbury when he had an 11-month affair with a patient known as Mrs A.

The GMC's Fitness to Practise panel decided yesterday the conditions on his registration will be allowed to expire next Friday, after which he will be free to resume unrestricted practise. He has worked since May 2004 at the Grove Surgery in Thetford, Norfolk.


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The review hearing told him: “The Panel has already found that you have complied with all the conditions imposed.

“It welcomes the fact that you have attended today and has concluded that you accept the gravity of your wrongdoing.

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“Applying the principle of proportionality, and having regard to the public interest ... the Panel has determined that it is sufficient to conclude the case and make no further direction.

“Accordingly the existing period of conditional registration will be permitted to expire on 10 March 2006.”

The GMC's decision not to strike him off the medical register - as it would have been “disproportionate” - was subsequently referred to the High Court.

It ruled the popular family GP should have been suspended “to send out the right signals to the profession and to the public”, and the professional conduct committee had been “unduly lenient” when it decided only to impose conditions.

But it found there was no need at that time to impose any suspension as Dr Leeper - described as “an excellent doctor” - had just started in practice again and it would not be in the public interest to remove him.

The original hearing was told the affair began after he became emotionally traumatised following the breakdown of his marriage.

He had left his wife, the mother of his four children, in July 2001 and, in October 2001, his girlfriend told him she was pregnant.

His affair with Mrs A started in March 2002 after he invited her to come back to the surgery after hours.

She had joined the surgery with a history of depression and had been taking Prozac.

He had suggested counselling after she told him of emotional and domestic problems and anxiety. His affair with the patient was exposed when he was caught with Mrs A in his car on private land.

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