A Canberra doctor who hugged and kissed a female patient has been banned from treating women for up to 18 months after being found to be a "real risk to females".
Mohamed Helmy, a general practitioner who formerly practised in Conder, was reprimanded by the ACT civil and administrative tribunal this month after it formally found his behaviour amounted to unprofessional conduct
He will only be allowed to practice at an approved location and will not be allowed to treat female patients for either 18 months or six months after he has completed an education course.
Dr Helmy must also be supervised by another doctor for 24 months.
The medical board alleged that Dr Helmy inappropriately hugged and kissed a female patient during a consultation in March 2016, and in doing so had exploited the power imbalance between doctor and patient.
The tribunal also heard three women had been concerned enough with Dr Helmy's behaviour to take their complaints to the police or APRHA.
Dr Helmy disputed his actions had a sexual intent, although he admitted to returning his patient's hug as she left his surgery and kissing her on the cheek.
But the medical board said whether there was sexual intent or not his behaviour was clearly inappropriate.
"[The medical board] also referred to the findings by the tribunal that whatever the actual intention of the practitioner, the conduct admitted by the doctor including hugging, handholding and kissing was clearly contrary to the code of conduct and, whatever the doctors intention, amounted to sexual and intimate conduct that was clearly inappropriate," the tribunal said.
"The board correctly pointed out that in this case, whilst none of the witnesses came forward to give evidence, the tribunal was satisfied that three women, unknown to each other, all felt that they had been inappropriately dealt with sexually and were sufficiently discomforted to inform the police and AHPRA.".
Dr Helmy opposed the length of the gender ban but the tribunal found the time period would not be "intrinsically oppressive".
"It will mean that the practitioner might have to wait for at most about 18 months before he can treat females unaccompanied," the tribunal said.
"Given the real risk to females revealed by our findings, we are of the view that this is not an excessive period and is necessary to protect the public.
"The combination of education, continuous supervision before and after the gender restriction, and the time away from treating females at all should be an effective means of providing for public safety and providing support for the practitioner to establish a practice armed with the guidance and learning provided by the supervisor and the education."
A relationship banned under traditional law.
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