A GP who had a “sordid and despicable” affair with an “exceptionally vulnerable” patient has been struck off by a High Court judge.
Dr Robert Stone, 62, who worked at Hellesdon Medical Practice in Norwich, admitted having a two-and-a-half year sexual relationship with the woman.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service suspended him for 12 months last year instead of striking him off.
But the judge said that did not give enough consideration to patient safety.
Mr Justice Robert Jay said the “only appropriate sanction” was a striking off order.
Dr Stone admitted having had sexual trysts with the patient “on numerous occasions” in a consulting room at the practice.
Although he knew she was depressed and potentially suicidal, he sent her “sexual and personal” texts, the court heard.
The court was told Dr Stone suffered from a “health condition” that made him “less able to resist acting in this way”.
He said he was remorseful and he accepted that the affair was “sordid and despicable”.
His behaviour was “massively wrong, hurtful and destructive”, he said.
The patient was said to have “initiated” the relationship and Dr Stone had “referred himself” to the General Medical Council (GMC).
‘Remorse and shame’
The tribunal panel decided to suspend him in August 2016 after reading “glowing testimonials” from his friends, family and colleagues.
It said he had shown “genuine and profound remorse and shame” and that striking him off would be “disproportionate”.
But the GMC challenged the tribunal’s decision, insisting that Dr Stone must be removed from the register.
Mr Justice Jay said the tribunal had given too much weight to the GP’s personal mitigation.
He said the tribunal’s decision not to strike him off also “failed adequately to protect the public”.