Eighteen doctors were struck off for sexual assault or rape in past four years

Authors: Abi Rimmer 

Publication date:  27 Feb 2018


Between 2014 and 2017 the General Medical Council struck off 18 doctors for sexual assault or rape, show figures obtained by The BMJ. The data, which the GMC provided in response to a freedom of information request, do not specify whether the victims of the assaults were patients or other doctors.

Of the 18 erasures, 16 followed Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearings for allegations of sexual assault: four in 2014, five in 2015, six in 2016, and one in 2017. The other two followed investigations for allegations of rape or attempted rape.

A doctor who has been erased cannot apply to be restored to the medical register for five years. At that stage the tribunal will have to decide whether the doctor is fit to resume unrestricted practice.

In addition to the 18 erasures, five doctors were suspended from the register after hearings for alleged sexual assault: one in 2014, two in 2015, and two in 2016. Another doctor was issued with a warning about alleged sexual assault but did not have a hearing.

The maximum suspension is 12 months. In deciding the length of the suspension the GMC considers the seriousness of findings of the investigation.

A warning is issued if a doctor’s behaviour departs significantly from the GMC’s Good Medical Practice but restriction on registration is not necessary. A warning used to remain on the GMC register for five years, but on 26 January it was reduced to two years.

The GMC also released data on the number of doctors who had been sanctioned after accusations of exposure or voyeurism. Between 2014 and 2017 four doctors were erased from the register after a hearing into such allegations, and two were suspended.

In addition, in 2017 one doctor in was erased from the register after a hearing into an allegation of “abuse of position of trust.”

Data obtained by The BMJ from the National Clinical Assessment Service, which advises employers on managing clinicians, show that from 1 October 2012 to 17 October 2017 the service received 222 requests for advice on cases where concerns had been raised about doctors’ sexual misconduct.

Abi Rimmer The BMJ

Cite this as BMJ Careers ; doi: