A PATIENT of a family doctor, twice convicted of kerb crawling, has spoken out to support him.

Dr Patrick Holmes, who works and lives in Middleton St George, near Darlington, was convicted for the second time last September for soliciting prostitutes in Teesside's red light districts.

Dr Holmes, 33, who is married, was first convicted of kerb crawling in March 2000.

At the weekend, The Northern Echo revealed that the General Medical Council had allowed Dr Holmes to keep his job after concluding he was not a risk to patients.

Dr Holmes had been suspended, but many of his patients had contacted the surgery calling for him to be reinstated.

One patient, Maria Hoy, of Middleton St George, said: "He is the best doctor I have had in 25 years - he is a brilliant man.

"What he did has nothing to do with his job. It does not affect how he can do his job."

Miss Hoy was ready to start a petition to get Dr Holmes reinstated if the GMC had not agreed he could return to work.

The surgery sent out letters to all his patients asking if he should be reinstated and there was overwhelming support for the doctor.

Miss Hoy said: "Everyone I have spoken to just wants Dr Holmes to come back to the surgery. He is a well-respected doctor and that is all that matters."