AN artificial limb expert has been given a warning by his professional body after a series of complaints that he bullied and sexually harassed colleagues were proven against him.
Benedict Doree was brought before the Health and Care Professions Council for a fitness to practice hearing following accusations that he made a number of inappropriate sexual comments towards a female colleague and drove his car at a male colleague.
The prosthetist, who was based at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, was fired by his employer Otto Bock following an internal disciplinary hearing when the allegations first came to light in May 2011.
The allegations against him that were found to be proved included that he:
*Drove his car at a colleague in a car park, causing him to roll over the bonnet;
*Called a colleague names and verbally abused him, including saying he had a photo of the man's wife and making lewd comments;
*Unzipped his trousers, laid on his back and made suggestive comments to a female staff member while thrusting his pelvis upwards;
*Opened his legs, pointed to his crotch and made a lewd comment to the same woman;
*Grabbed her head and thrust his pelvis towards her face at least three times;
*Gestured behind her as she bent over, as if simulating sex.
Allegations found not proven by the panel were that he took a photo of a woman colleague while she was in a hoist sling with her legs apart during a demonstration, drove his car at a colleague who was cycling and glared and made chicken noises at a colleague.
The panel’s report said: “The panel acknowledge that these were serious matters. However given the time period since the events in question and the positive testimonials from current colleagues, the panel is of the view that a caution order would be an appropriate sanction to mark such conduct and to address the wider public policy issues.
“Such an order would serve as an appropriate reminder to the registrant of the need to maintain high standards of behaviour in his professional life.
"The panel is aware that a period of three years is the benchmark for a caution order. The panel considers that a period of five years would be sufficient to address the severity of the conduct and the wider public interest.
“The panel is of the view that conditions of practice would not be practical, given the nature of the conduct and that suspension would be punitive and disproportionate in all the circumstances particularly where there were no issues with patient interaction.”
The panel decided to impose a Caution Order for a period of five years.
They heard that there had been no other allegations made against him in the course of his very lengthy career and he is now employed by RSL Steeper’s limb fitting unit in Hull, where there has been no issues reported.
Doree, from Ingleby Barwick, near Stockton, denied all the allegations.