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GP guilty of misconduct but has 'suffered enough'.

The British Medical Association's former Scottish Secretary was found guilty yesterday of serious professional misconduct over sexual encounters with a male patient.

But the General Medical Council's professional conduct committee decided not to take any action against Dr Brian Potter, 48, a divorced father-of-three from Edinburgh, for the incidents at the patient's flat and in his surgery.

The GMC said there was no proof in the patient's allegations the doctor had tried to silence him with money and that Dr Potter had threatened to kill himself if the patient made a public complaint.

The patient, described as Mr D, alleged Dr Potter carried out sex acts while treating him for back pain at his home in 1991.

The professional conduct committee said these activities, which the doctor admitted but said were consensual, amounted to improper behaviour and abuse of the doctor's professional position.

Professor Peter Richards, chair of the committee, said: 'Dr Potter has been found to have abused his professional position with a patient in 1991 through an improper relationship.

'Any doctor who pursues a sexual relationship with a patient abuses his position. The committee has judged Dr Potter to have been guilty of serious professional misconduct,' he said.

But he said Dr Potter had suffered enough and no punishment was appropriate except to recommend he does not return to work until his health advisers confirm he is fit to do so.

The GMC had heard that Mr D, now 41, had attempted to blackmail Dr Potter for pounds 30,000 after the incident.

Mr D was convicted in 1999 at Edinburgh Sheriff's Court to 30 months jail for the blackmail and is appealing against the conviction.

The blackmail caused Dr Potter, who was in a fragile and 'vulnerable' state at the time of the sexual encounters following the breakdown of his marriage, irreparable damage and the collapse of his career.

Dr Potter went to the police to tell them about the blackmail knowing a criminal trial would destroy his own career.

He was among the very highest of practitioners in Scotland as the BMA's Scottish secretary and extremely vulnerable to the kind of publicity which resulted from the criminal trial in 1999, Adrian Whitfield QC, defending, told the hearing. Dr Potter is unemployed and on a back-to-work scheme taking home pounds 160 every two weeks.

'All this happened because he took the honourable course of going to the police when blackmailed,' Mr Whitfield said.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 31, 2001
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