GP suspended for misconduct after inappropriate WhatsApp messages to vulnerable Hatfield patient
PUBLISHED: 13:38 15 January 2019
A doctor has been suspended for three months for inappropriately contacting and asking out a vulnerable young patient while working in Hatfield.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal found Dr Chikaodinaka Sandy Mbah, who at the time was a locum GP at Lister House Surgery in Hatfield, accessed the patient’s medical records to obtain her phone number then messaged her repeatedly on WhatsApp, including asking to meet for a drink.
He later met with the patient outside her mother’s house and made further contact after that meeting.
The patient had mental health issues and was grieving the loss of a grandparent.
A tribunal hearing determined Dr Mbah was guilty of misconduct and his fitness to practise impaired.
The patient made a complaint regarding Dr Mbah’s contact with her to Lister House Surgery in August 9, 2017, following a consultation with him in July 2015.
The day before making the complaint, she had contacted the surgery for an emergency doctors appointment but “felt very uncomfortable” upon being told it would be with Dr Mbah.
She declined the appointment, despite suffering “severe stomach pain” and bleeding.
The tribunal was told Dr Mbah had no convictions, cautions, history of misconduct or regulatory breaches and was “a person of good character who has no previous disciplinary matters recorded against him.”
It was noted that Dr Mbah “admitted he breached professional boundaries and pursued an improper relationship with the patient over some weeks.”
The tribunal also considered positive testimonials from former medical colleagues of Dr Mbah at Lister House Surgery.
One said: “He was professional and I had no reason to doubt his integrity and honesty.
“Many patients of mine provided positive feedback after he left our employment.
“I have no doubt as to Dr Mbah’s fitness to continue in his capacity as a medical practitioner.”
The tribunal acknowledged there was no evidence of Dr Mbah pursuing a sexual relationship, which would be considered “a more serious breach” of professional boundaries.
In determining its sanction, the tribunal gave “particular weight” to the fact the patient was vulnerable, but also took into account “the evidence that no other patient was affected”.
It accepted Dr Mbah’s remediation is “substantial” and considered it unlikely he would behave in a similar way.