A doctor who trained in Falmouth before going on to work at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, West Cornwall Hospital and later Cape Cornwall Surgery in Penzance has been suspended for six months after he began a relationship with a patient and then tried to conceal it.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service has ruled on a series of allegations involving Dr Roger Kurz, finding his fitness to practise to be "impaired by reason of serious misconduct."

As a result, the tribunal decided to suspend Dr Kurz from the medical register for six months, saying this would "send a message to the medical profession and to the wider public that such misconduct is not acceptable", as well as "reflect the seriousness of the misconduct."

The suspension would also provide Dr Kurz with an "opportunity to develop further insight into his misconduct and remediate appropriately," it added.

It will come into effect 28 days after notice was served, on August 27, unless an appeal is lodged.

The tribunal, which began in December last year before resuming last month for its conclusion, related to a series of allegations dating back to 2016 and 2017.

Dr Kurz qualified in 2010 and joined the GP Training Scheme in Falmouth in 2016. He was initially employed as a GP Speciality Level 2 trainee doctor at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro, before moving to a placement in August 2016 at the West Cornwall Hospital in Penzance.

He later began a 12-month Speciality Level 3 GP registrar post at Cape Cornwall Surgery in Penzance in August 2017.

The tribunal found, and Dr Kurz admitted, that while as a trainee GP at the Cape Cornwall surgery he had begun an improper emotional relationship with a patient, with the intention of pursuing this further if mutually agreed.

This led to the pair meeting at his home, where they kissed and cuddled, and it continued in a similar way for the next two weeks.

One allegation, subsequently proven, was that on one occasion he asked if he could take her blood pressure, and when she said it was not necessary, he said: "I was wondering what effect my presence had on it" or similar words.

He sent her a message saying “Sweet dreams, you are wonderful company. X” after she had left his home, and in another message, about a cabin, he said: "The cabin sounds like a lovely option, we’ll have to take advantage of it sometime soon."

The tribunal concluded that Dr Kurz had breached "fundamental tenets of the profession" by beginning an improper relationship with a patient and then being dishonest in concealing the relationship from his colleagues.

As a result, this "fell so far short of the standards of conduct reasonably to be expected of a doctor as to amount to serious misconduct."

The tribunal found that while the patient was not vulnerable when the relationship began, Dr Kurz had accepted that the way in which it ended had resulted in her becoming psychologically vulnerable, and that there had been a risk her mental health could deteriorate.

It acknowledged that the relationship with the patient was over four years ago, for a limited period of time, and that there has been no repetition, but they found "little evidence of full insight or remediation".

It therefore determined that Dr Kurz’s fitness to practise was impaired, and a suspension necessary on the grounds of public protection, else "confidence in the medical profession would be undermined."

The tribunal also heard a second element, in which Dr Kurz admitted from the outset that his record keeping regarding a separate patient was poor, and he had not appropriately recorded the reason for not wanting to treat the patient's high level of potassium.

The tribunal found proved that Dr Kurz did not arrange for appropriate treatment and had not followed the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust's policy, but said there was "serious mitigation" in that the doctor had "sound rationale" for this and subsequently went on to administer treatment instructed by another doctor, despite being in disagreement. It was later concluded that Dr Kurz’s diagnosis had been correct.

Nevertheless, the tribunal said it received clear expert evidence that his actions "did fall seriously below the standards expected of a reasonably competent GP trainee."

Evidence was heard that Dr Kurz’s actions had "potentially fatal consequences", and while the patient had not come to any harm, there was a risk.

The tribunal found that the decision to not to arrange appropriate treatment in line with Trust policy was serious misconduct, but that Dr Kurz had taken clear steps to remediate his misconduct in this case and had developed good insight into his actions at the time.

It was therefore satisfied that this clinical failing was "highly unlikely to be repeated".

It concluded that Dr Kurz's fitness to practise was not impaired over this, as "any reasonable and well-informed member of the public would also be reassured by the steps taken by Dr Kurz."

This included taking part in project at a hospital on the Isle of Wight to improve record keeping, and he had explained to the tribunal that since this he had "reflected on his own record keeping and can now see a distinct difference in the structure and thoroughness of the records he previously made and those he makes now."