NHS doctor who grabbed female nurse by the throat and demanded her phone number gets suspended after claiming it was just ‘banter’
- EXCL: Married Dr who sexually harassed nurses said he was a ‘tactile individual’
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A doctor who held an NHS nurse by the throat and demanded her phone number has been suspended.
Dr Mubashsher Muhammed, who worked at an A&E unit in Stockport, was scolded for his ‘deplorable’ sexual harassment to two colleagues.
The incidents, which took place in early 2021, involved telling one to remove their mask to ‘see their face’ and repeatedly touching the face covering of the other, as well as inappropriate ‘massaging’ and pinching.
But the most serious incident involved a ‘frightening ordeal’, where the married Dr Muhammed encountered one of the nurses alone near the female staff changing room.
He placed his hand on her throat and kept her backed up against a wall while stating, ‘when are you going to give in and give me your number’.
Dr Mubashsher Muhammed was suspended from working as a doctor for 9-months after sexually harrassing two nurses at an NHS emergency department in Stockport
A medical tribunal panel suspended Czech-trained Dr Muhammed for nine months for his ‘sexually motivated’ behaviour.
Dr Muhammed, who described himself as a ‘tactile individual’, defended his actions as being in keeping with a culture of ‘banter’ on the ward, and that he had wanted to ‘fit in’.
The incidents with both nurses occurred in April 2021 at the Stepping Hill Hospital’s emergency department, part of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust.
Dr Muhammed, who also works at private hair transplant clinic Precision Hair Clinic in Macclesfield, Cheshire, had been employed temporarily at the trust to help shore up staff numbers.
One of the nurses, described in the tribunal documents as ‘Nurse A’, told of her sense of ‘dread’ at seeing Dr Muhammed in the staff changing rooms just before the throat-grabbing incident.
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In a written statement she added: ‘As I continued towards the female changing room, he stood in front of me and placed his hand around my throat, my back was against the wall at this point.
‘I recoiled, he did not, and with his hand still around my throat said, “when are you going to give in and give me your number”.’
She added how the incident had left her stunned and shaken.
Nurse A also described how she knew she should report the incident but waited three months due to a fear that she would not be believed and that doing so would ’cause her trouble’ professionally.
The tribunal accepted the fact the incident had occurred but added that it was an ‘opportunistic’ event, rather than premeditated plan on Dr Muhammed’s part.
‘Nurse B’ also detailed her own similar run-ins with Dr Muhammed, including how he had massaged her shoulders, pinched her waist, as well as laughed at her requests for him to stop.
She recounted how even mentioning Dr Muhammed’s wife was not enough to stop the inappropriate touching.
Dr Muhammed, in his defence, claimed Nurse B’s claims had been fabricated by her after he rebuffed her advances. But the claim was deemed ‘unlikely’ by the tribunal.
The tribunal also highlighted how the both nurses had told Dr Muhammed to stop the behaviour but he had treated the requests as a joke.
Both nurses, however, did acknowledge there was a culture of ‘banter’ on the ward.
The tribunal said, while not commenting if such a ‘banter’ workplace culture was appropriate or not, Dr Muhammed may have been ’emboldened’ by it.
Dr Muhammed stopped working for the Trust once the nurses raised the alarm about his behaviour.
In a written statement, he apologised for engaging in behaviour that led to the discomfort of his colleagues, and that he had overstepped.
He added that he recognised, with the benefit of hindsight, that his actions were wrong.
In one ‘frightening incident’ at Stepping Hill Hospital (pictured) the married Dr Muhammed held the throat of a nurse and demanded her phone number
The UK’s medical regulator the General Medical Council (GMC), who brought the case against Dr Muhammed, argued that a temporary suspension from their register, effectively banning him from working as a doctor, was the most appropriate action.
A GMC representative argued Dr Muhammed had subjected one of the nurses to a ‘frightening ordeal outside the changing room’ and his behaviour amounted to serious misconduct.
But Dr Muhammed’s representative argued that the incident was a ‘short-lived’ and ‘isolated incident’ where Nurse A had suffered no physical injury.
READ MORE: GPs will be urged to refer patients to life coaches instead of signing them off sick
Latest figures show a record 2.55million Brits are currently signed off on long term sickness leave. The worrying stats, published in May was blamed partly on back and neck pain caused by working from home. A rise in mental health problems among young people and long Covid were also among the factors behind the surge, according to experts at the Office for National Statistics
His defence also said Dr Muhammed had since attended courses on ‘professional boundaries’.
In a reflective piece submitted to the tribunal, Dr Muhammed wrote: ‘I will immediately limit the contact to clinical only and avoiding any form of banter, comments on others appearance and any form of unwanted contact.’
Dr Muhammed also described himself as a ‘tactile individual’ but vowed to only reassure colleagues verbally and not via touch in the future.
His representative added that no patients had been sexually harassed and Dr Muhammed didn’t touch the nurses’ breasts or ‘below their waist’, making it the ‘lower end of the scale of seriousness of sexual misconduct’.
He also urged the tribunal to consider the fact Dr Muhammed was the main breadwinner of his family when determining the sanction.
In their ruling, the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service slammed Dr Muhammed’s behaviour.
‘This was conduct that any professional would know was wholly unacceptable,’ they wrote.
‘More than that it could readily be described as deplorable.’
But the tribunal noted that his behaviour, while serious, only occurred during a two-month period.
They also pointed to 53 testimonials from colleagues, the majority of them female, speaking positively of his character.
The tribunal also said that Dr Muhammed, while the case had been ongoing, had continued to work as a doctor for two years without any further incidents.
They also considered the fact this sexual harassment had involved no contact with the nurses’ ‘sexual parts’, his attendance on a maintaining boundaries course, and of depriving the public of a ‘good doctor’ in their decision.
However, they added this did not detract from the seriousness of the behaviour described.
‘The incident outside the changing rooms was especially shocking,’ they wrote. ‘He caused Nurse A to be frightened.
‘She was obviously vulnerable and feared the consequences of raising a complaint.
‘He had seriously undermined the reputation of the medical profession as a whole.’
Describing their decision as ‘finely balanced between suspension and erasure’, they opted for the former.
The tribunal said the suspension would communicate the seriousness of the misconduct to both him and the wider profession as well as give the medic time for additional insight into his actions.
He has 28 days from the ruling to appeal the decision.
Dr Muhammed told MailOnline via his representatives, the Medical Protection Society, that: ‘I am disappointed with the tribunal’s findings and will be taking time to reflect on the outcome and consider my options.’
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘We do not tolerate sexual harassment, and we take all allegations of such harassment extremely seriously.’
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, where Dr Muhammed has been working since 2019, told this website he now no longer works there.
Precision Hair Clinic did not respond to requests for comment.
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