- A married heart doctor who tried to kiss a nurse has returned to medical practise
- Dr Syed Akbar, 43, approached the victim while showing her photos of his family
- The nurse was made to feel 'awkward and uncomfortable' by the cardiologist
- The incident occurred at Sandwell General Hospital, in West Bromwich
A heart doctor who tried to kiss a senior nurse as he was showing off family pictures of his wife and two children has been deemed fit to return to medical practise after he apologised profusely for his 'terrible and unprofessional' behaviour.
Dr Syed Akbar, 43 told the woman she looked 'young and attractive out of her uniform' before pulling her towards him so their faces were close to each other.
The unnamed nurse - known as Nurse A - said she felt 'awkward and uncomfortable' over her encounter with Dr Akbar at Sandwell General Hospital in West Bromwich near Birmingham where he was working as a middle-grade registrar in clinical research in cardiology.
Police were alerted to the incident on February 4 2017 but it is believed no criminal action was taken against him.
Akbar himself initially denied wrongdoing but later admitted making a pass at the nurse saying: 'I just could not control myself. I embarrassingly admit wholeheartedly that all the allegations made against me are correct.'
Last year the doctor who was an on-call Clinical Research Fellow in the Cardiology Department was banned from treating patients for 12 months after a disciplinary panel found him guilty of sexually motivated misconduct and said he had caused the nurse 'significant distress.'
But at a review hearing held last week at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester, Akbar who since attended various courses addressing his behaviour was given all the clear to return to unrestricted practise after he provided four statements of 'reflection' wishing he had been more 'co-operative' with the 2019 tribunal.
He said: 'I apologised to Nurse A for what she had to experience during the 2019 Tribunal and for my actions. For a moment in my life, I let my guard down and indulged in a completely unwanted incident. I have learned my lesson the hard way and I do not want to repeat it again.
'I want to prove I am a nice person and a trustworthy colleague - and that my past mistake was just a momentary lapse and a bad patch in my life from which I have learnt and moved on. I understand the depth of my error and have reflected upon my actions. They were terrible and unprofessional.'
The incident began when Akbar struck up a conversation with Nurse A telling her how 'young' and 'different' she looked out of her usual clothes after she attended their shared office on a Saturday morning in civvies to catch up some work.
As he was discussing his family and showing his colleague photos of his wife and children on his desk, he placed his arms around her shoulders then pulled their lower bodies and faces together and attempted to kiss her.
Nurse A said: 'He was perched on a desk and I was stood close to him by the filing cabinets. He put his arms around the top of my shoulders and sort of touching towards the centre of my back. It was quite a firm grip. My arms were scrunched up as he put his arms around me, then I really pushed back.
'He pulled me towards him so that our faces were extremely close, our lower bodies were in contact, he looked me straight in the face and was looking directly at me and that made me feel as though he was going to kiss me.'
Nurse A immediately told her husband about the incident and reported what had happened to a senior colleague later that day. She was unable to officially report the matter to her trust until the following April due to 'work pressures' and a period of ill health.
She added: 'We'd had a major event within the department at our trust. I was thinking about how I going to approach taking my statement forward. But seeing as though they were dealing with a major event, I didn't want to add burden to their stresses.
'I then went on holiday at the end of February for two weeks and during which time I was actually unwell and didn't return to work until mid-March. I didn't change my account at all.'
During his police interview, Dr Akbar said he was surprised to see Nurse A out of her uniform so he said that he couldn't recognise her because she was in different clothes. He said he had a conversation with her for about ten to fifteen minutes and that at the end of the conversation she touched him. He initially claimed Nurse A's account was incorrect.
But in a character reference for Akbar, an emergency medicine physician who works with him said: 'He has expressed regret for his actions and does not intend to ever repeat this unethical and unprofessional act again. My impression is that Dr Akbar genuinely regrets his behaviour. '
Revoking Akbar's suspension, tribunal chairman Graham White said: 'Dr Akbar has been out of clinical practice for three years now but he is an experienced doctor with no clinical performance concerns in the past.
'He has maintained his medical knowledge and skills, engaged with e-learning and completed a clinical attachment where he received a satisfactory reference from his clinical supervisor.
'The steps taken by Dr Akbar in terms of remediation and maintaining his skills are positive and represent a clear commitment to resume practice safely.'