UK doctor, 44, who grabbed 21-year-old student nurse’s breast in UK is cleared to treat patients again
A disgraced doctor who molested a student nurse on a hospital ward and then tried to blame the incident on ‘cultural norms’ has been passed fit to treat patients again.
Married father-of-two Imran Qureshi, 44, grabbed the breast of the 21-year-old student nurse and told her he wanted an affair after he saw her as ‘sexually available’ because she had previous boyfriends.
The student nurse, known only as Miss A, was said to be ‘shaken up and distraught’ after reporting how locum senior house officer Qureshi grabbed her chest for two seconds before trying to ‘make light’ of it and then becoming aggressive.
But although Qureshi admitted he had made a ‘misjudgement’, he said ‘cultural norms’ were different in the UK compared with his native Pakistan and he had failed to spot a proverbial ‘red light’ warning him to stay away from the victim.
The student nurse claimed she found it difficult to trust male colleagues following the incident and said it had affected her studies.
Dr Imran Quereshi has been declared fit to practice, despite having been convicted of sexual assault in 2016 at Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester after grabbing a 21-year-old student nurse’s breast while at work
In June 2017 Qureshi was suspended from medical practice for 12 months after he offered a ‘sincere deep-hearted apology’ to Miss A and insisted it was a ‘moment of madness’ and ‘short, brief touching.’
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But after his suspension ended the following year he was made subject to various workplace restrictions which led to him not getting any jobs in medicine for almost five years, leaving him ‘deskilled’.
This month at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester a panel deemed Qureshi’s fitness to practise was no longer impaired after hearing he had undertaken seven locum shifts at hospitals in Luton, Beds and Stoke-on-Trent since a review hearing in August 2021.
GMC lawyers had earlier warned seven locum shifts was ‘not sufficient’ enough for Qureshi to be no longer labelled ‘deskilled.’
The assault took place at Trafford General Hospital in Davyhulme, Greater Manchester, on June 3 2015 when the 21-year-old Muslim student – who was on a work placement – said Qureshi seemed ‘excited to see her and well within her personal space’.
At around 3pm, the student nurse asked the doctor to retrieve some patient notes to which he replied: ‘I don’t want to get it yet; I want to spend some time with you’.
Counsel for the General Medical Council, Rebecca Vanstone said at an earlier hearing: ‘He told Miss A she was beautiful and asked whether she had a boyfriend.
‘He then said he was not happy in his marriage and wanted an affair.
‘Shortly afterwards the student nurse was in the ward kitchen when he entered the room and closed the door behind him.
‘He asked whether she had a thyroid problem before feeling her neck.
‘She was backed into the corner when the registrant touched her chest at the top where her breasts start.
‘She said he put his fingers there for a few seconds before she pushed them away.
‘Miss A says she held her hand up to signal for him to move away and told him he was a disgrace.
‘He asked for a hug and she refused but he did it anyway.
‘Then he grabbed her right breast for a few seconds.
‘Miss A said he was laughing and trying to make light if the situation and then became aggressive and said that friends do what he was trying to do.
‘Miss A reported the incident about an hour later to a friend who told her to inform her mentor and she did so.
‘The mentor describes the account given to her and said she appeared to be nervous, shaken up and distraught.
‘Miss A says she was prescribed sleeping tablets because she was struggling to sleep and since she had been wary of male doctors.
‘She took three weeks off work which could delay her qualification.
‘She feels that the incident impacted her reputation.
‘She is a young unmarried Muslim woman.
‘Dr Qureshi did say he saw Miss A as being sexually available because she had previous boyfriends.
‘He described the incident being a misjudgement by him and says the cultural norms are different in the UK from Pakistan where he’s from.
‘He mistakenly formed the impression Miss A was romantically interested in him.’
In 2016 Qureshi was sentenced at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester to a 12-month community order and was ordered to sign the Sex Offender Register for five years after he was convicted of sexual assault by a jury.
He lost subsequent appeals against his conviction.
At the latest tribunal hearing, Qureshi who has attended courses on maintaining professional boundaries said: ‘My confidence as a doctor has returned since I have undertaken the locum shifts.
‘I feel I am on the right track and have received positive feedback from colleagues and a patient during my locum work.
‘Further conditions would make it difficult to secure a medical post.’
Qureshi submitted a character reference from one doctor at Luton and Dunstable Hospital who said: ‘He has had a long break from medicine; however, with competent clerking he could learn quickly.’
A consultant added: ‘We found him to be reasonable given his experience in the NHS.’
In lifting restrictions imposed on Qureshi, MPTS chairman Nathan Moxon said: ‘It was evident Dr Qureshi had made several attempts to secure a medical post or voluntary clinical attachment.
‘However, on a number of occasions, his applications were unsuccessful as a consequence of the conditions upon his registration and also as a result of the criminal conviction.
‘As a result of locum shifts he obtained positive references and during the seven days that he worked he has undertaken various hands-on clinical responsibilities, much of which was supervised by those that have provided references.
‘The evidence provided by Dr Qureshi was sufficient to show that he does not pose a danger to public safety due to de-skilling and that he had adequately maintained his clinical knowledge and skills.
‘The Tribunal placed weight on the fact that Stoke had been sufficiently satisfied by Dr Qureshi’s performance that it offered to extend his shifts by a further three days.
‘It was also reassured by the fact that Dr Qureshi is not qualified to undertake a role above SHO (Senior House Officer) level, and therefore any job he obtains would as a consequence involve significant overview from more senior medical professionals.
‘The Tribunal sees no reason why such restrictions should continue and revokes them with immediate effect.’
Qureshi is due to have a workplace appraisal in July.
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