A Northern Ireland family doctor accused of sexually-motivated behaviour towards three patients was cleared of wrongdoing after it was claimed the women were involved in a “spectre of collusion” to sue him for damages.
Dr Kenneth Thompson (68) from Bangor, Co Down, was said to have had intercourse with one married mother during a string of sexual encounters at his surgery saying it was “therapy” to help her deal with a childhood abuse ordeal and that it would “save her marriage”.
He was accused of telling another woman to walk around her home naked, discussed her sex life with her husband, drew pictures of genitalia and talked repeatedly about oral sex.
A third woman claimed Thompson carried out intimate internal examinations upon her without a chaperone present and gave her four Viagra tablets from his briefcase after she complained of suffering from an abscess.
But at a General Medical Council hearing in Manchester, Dr Thompson was cleared of misconduct after a fitness to practise panel was told the women may have motivated by money to make the “implausible” allegations against him.
It was said all the women were probably known to each other, two were best friends and two were parents at the same primary school.
All three patients known as MC, EC and ST had even consulted with the same firm of solicitors to pursue a civil action against Dr Thompson, who ran a surgery in Belfast.
In dismissing the women's claims, panel chairman Dr Roger Ferguson told Thompson's lawyer Andrew Hockton: “You reminded the panel that, when considering whether there is sufficient evidence to find the facts proved, there are issues of credibility, reliability, vagueness and inconsistency to be considered.
“You submitted that where there are serious, multiple inconsistencies, they must undermine credibility and reliability,” he said.
Dr Thompson's lawyers said there were serious inconsistencies in the evidence which made the witnesses “unreliable”.
His suspension was immediately lifted.
In his determination Mr Ferguson said: “Although the panel made some allowances for the passage of time and the difficulty of giving evidence, it was not satisfied that the evidence presented, on the whole, was sufficiently consistent, reliable or credible.
“It is the panel's opinion that the General Medical Council has failed to establish a prima facie case against Dr Thompson,” he concluded.