Dr Richard Smith suspended for 12 months over patient affair

Dr Richard Mark Smith Image copyright Pat Isaacs
Image caption Dr Richard Smith was in a sexual relationship with one of his patients, the tribunal heard

A former hospital consultant, who had a sexual relationship with a patient, has been suspended for 12 months.

Dr Richard Smith, 53, also lied during a hospital trust investigation into his conduct, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service heard.

Dr Smith was working at Bristol's Southmead Hospital's renal unit when he began an affair with a woman, known as Patient A.

The tribunal ruled his fitness to practise was "impaired by misconduct".

The "gravity of Dr Smith's misconduct" and deceit "would not be tolerated" and the tribunal, sitting in Manchester, suspended him for the maximum period.

Image caption A complaint was made to the hospital trust in 2012

Patient A was in Dr Smith's care between 2008 and 2012. He began a consensual sexual relationship with her in 2012, the hearing was told.

This continued until her husband found out and made a complaint to North Bristol NHS Trust, in October 2012.

The tribunal heard Dr Smith and Patient A discussed how to respond to the trust's investigation and agreed to deny there had been a sexual relationship.

The denials continued until February 2013, when Dr Smith's wife found out about it and Patient A told him she was planning to tell the trust about the sexual nature of their relationship.

Dr Smith's contract with the trust was then terminated in May 2013.

In making its ruling, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, said: "It is the panel's view that, given the seriousness of your misconduct, the maximum period of suspension is necessary to maintain public confidence in the profession and to uphold proper standards of conduct and behaviour."

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