ALLEGATIONS against a doctor who was accused of sexual misconduct whilst working in Barnsley Hospital theatres have finally been thrown out following a series of investigations.
Muhammad Khan, an orthopaedic surgeon, claimed he was the victim of a ‘conspiracy’ having been sacked over the incidents which three complainants alleged took place as far back as 2012.
Following a medical tribunal in February 2019 - which concluded in July the following year - and a successful High Court appeal in March 2021, the case had been re-sent to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) to formally quash the three nurses’ allegations.
The three complainants in the case - referred to as Miss A, Miss C and Miss D - accused Dr Khan of a raft of sexually-motivated contact and comments.
Miss A was a staff nurse, Miss C a senior theatre practitioner and Miss D an assistant technical officer who often worked with Dr Khan in operating theatres.
However, the Chronicle can reveal the long-running case has now concluded, with no facts found proven, and no impairment on Dr Khan’s ability to work.
A report, compiled by the MPTS, said: “There have been a number of internal and external legal processes which have generated multiple statements, court transcripts and decisions.
“In particular, there was an internal disciplinary investigation, a disciplinary hearing, an appeal against the decision of the disciplinary panel, employment tribunal proceedings and criminal proceedings in the crown court.
“Mr Khan was charged with sexual assault against Miss D and was acquitted at trial.
“Where the credibility of a witness for the General Medical Council has been called into question, as it has in this case, the tribunal will need to take this into account, however on its own does not mean that that witness has not told the truth in evidence before the tribunal.
“Following the successful appeal to the High Court and the quashing of the findings at first instance, the totality of the allegations were referred back to the case examiners for reconsideration.
“The tribunal considered its earlier decision and reflected as to whether the circumstances remained the same, or so similar as to lead to the same conclusion.
“It also reminded itself of its duty with respect to the overarching statutory objectives, in that these were serious allegations and generally should be heard in order to protect the public interest.
“This had formed a central plank to its previous decision - the earlier facts, in summary, were that Miss C had lied, and later admitted that she had lied, in witness statements and in oral evidence to both the tribunal and the MPT hearing in 2019.
“It was at that hearing under cross-examination that she finally admitted her lies.”
Dr Khan qualified in South Africa in 1984 and became a specialist orthopaedic surgeon in 1992, working full-time at Barnsley Hospital three years later, rising to the position of clinical director in his field.
In response to the allegations, he told the hearing that it stemmed from separating two of the complainants whilst performing surgery.
He added: “I do not like people talking in theatres or loud music as it distracts us from the patient and the job at hand.
“I mentioned Miss A’s disruptive private conversations during operations on several occasions and eventually requested that she was separated so that only one of them was in my theatre at any one time, to reduce the risks to patients.
“Both were upset with me for being separated.”
Dr Khan’s character testimonial bundle and ‘thank you’ cards and letters from past patients were put forward in his defence.
“The tribunal also took into account Mr Khan’s denial of the allegations, and also noted that the GMC had not provided any supporting evidence from any other witnesses who would have likely been present during the alleged incidents,” the report added.
“It was highly likely that colleagues at least would have witnessed incidents.
“Further, the tribunal had not received any evidence to prove that Mr Khan had a propensity to strike others.
“It had received evidence in the form of many testimonials that Mr Khan behaved in a respectful, calm and professional manner.
“A colleague he had worked with for 20 years specifically commented that she had never seen him behave in an aggressive or inappropriate way.
“The tribunal has considered each outstanding paragraph of the allegations separately and has evaluated the evidence in order to make its findings on the facts.”