A doctor whose persistent harassment was labelled “disgraceful” has not been found to warrant a permanent suspension from the medical profession.
Dr Clive Kelly, an experienced specialist in rheumatology, who has worked at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, repeated his harassing behaviour over a course of six months, and abused his position of power and influence over a vulnerable woman due to her mental health.
The doctor of over 40 years previously admitted 40 allegations like to the harassment of a woman (known as Miss B), while also accessing the medical records of a second person (known as Mrs A) without their consent.
The tribunal found Dr Kelly repeatedly harassed Miss B via email, messages, an incident at a hotel and through third parties. Ceri Widdett, for the GMC, submitted that Dr Kelly had abused his position of power and influence over Miss B, who had looked to him for support.
Ms Widdett said Dr Kelly’s “disgraceful pattern of behaviour and disregard for the consequences of that behaviour meant that his actions amounted to serious misconduct”.
His actions were found to be a “serious breach” of good medical practice and did not admit in full his dishonesty or harassment at the outset of the tribunal hearing.
Read more: Dr Clive Kelly’s ‘disgraceful’ harassment raised by medical panel
However, Dr Kelly says he has taken comprehensive steps to remediate and reflect on his conduct. He has apologised to Miss B and Mrs A for his actions, and the distress he has caused, at a very early stage and again during the hearing, demonstrating remorse and acknowledging his mistakes.
A report from MPTS tribunal chairman Lindsay Irvine read: “The Tribunal noted that it had found that the mitigating factors in this case outweighed the aggravating factors.
“This included the considerable testimonial evidence the Tribunal had received that demonstrated Dr Kelly is a highly regarded and well-respected doctor who has provided support for colleagues, patients, members of his community and refugees, and is an important contributor to research at a national level.
“The Tribunal had also found that the alleged actions were out of character.”
It also noted that there were no patient safety concerns and it had not been suggested the harassment was predatory or sexually motivated. It also noted his dishonesty was not prolonged or sustained and was an isolated incident.
And a prolonged period of suspension was also ruled out by the tribunal.
“It therefore found that erasing Dr Kelly’s name from the medical register would be disproportionate and determined to impose a period of suspension on his registration,” it added.
Instead, it found a suspension period of six months was sufficient and “would mark the seriousness of Dr Kelly’s actions and give Dr Kelly time to fully remediate and gain full insight, whilst not depriving the public of a skilled and valued doctor for longer than is necessary.”
“Given these considerations, the Tribunal determined not to impose a review of Dr Kelly’s practise at the end of his suspension,” it concluded.
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