A LONG-SERVING senior doctor has been suspended for three months after he undermined an allegation of sexual abuse from a child.

At a hearing by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service doctor John Matthews was accused of misconduct.

Prior to the allegations, Dr Matthews became a Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 1990, and has worked as a GP in Wallsend, Newcastle, since 1991.

Between 2010 and 2018, Dr Matthews was also the Clinical Chair of North

Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group.

The tribunal, published this week, found that he failed to consider the possibility that a minor – known as patient A – was being sexually abused and attempted to undermine potential allegations of sexual abuse regarding Patient A.

It was alleged that Dr Matthews’ motivation for undermining any potential allegations made by Patient A was due to his personal relationship with Patient A’s parents, Patients B and C.

It was claimed he was aware that Patient A had been bedwetting, having vivid nightmares, experiencing significant behavioural disturbances, and had a background risk of abuse.

He was also accused of not considering that there was an underlying possibility of sexual abuse because he had a personal relationship with Patient A’s parents between July 2016 and March 2017.

It was found Dr Matthews failed to make a referral to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (‘CAMHS’) for Patient A in October 2015.

In August 2016, Dr Matthews called Children’s Social Care at Patient B’s request and explained that any allegations that may have been made by, or were to come, regarding Patient A were malicious.

However, Dr Matthews expressed Patient B’s opinion as if it was his own during this call.

The initial concerns were raised with the General Medical Council (GMC) on 15 September 2017 by Dr Matthews’ responsible officer.

This followed an investigation on behalf of North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group, which was undertaken after Patient A alleged Patient C had sexually abused her.

The tribunal noted that Dr Matthews, in his witness statement, stated that he ‘felt at the time that [he] was keeping an open mind and that we were appropriately exploring all causes of bed wetting; physical and psychological causes were being investigated in parallel’.

The report stated: "The tribunal had regard to the seriousness of its findings and the time it considered Dr Matthews needed to further remediate and reflect on the matters it had found proved and the impact the events would have had on Patient A. It found that a period of three months would mark the seriousness of its findings, send a signal to the medical profession and the public, and allow Dr Matthews the time to reflect and attend any courses or complete other professional development work that may assist him in his remediation and insight."