A psychologist who had clinics in Blackpool has been handed a 12-month suspension for misconduct after he had an affair with a patient.
John McCarron, who worked at Spire Fylde Coast Hospital for more than a decade, slept with a female patient on two separate occasions last year.
He also sent inappropriate messages to the woman, who was his patient from May 2012 until February 2013.
Mr McCarron, who was employed by the Lancashire Care NHS Trust but held private clinics across the North West, worked at the hospital on St Walburga’s Road from 2003 until March of this year. The patient was not treated on the Fylde coast.
A four-day hearing into his conduct was held in private to spare the embarrassment of the anonymous complainant.
Mr McCarron was charged by the Health Care and Professions Council (HCPC) with sending sexually explicit emails and texts to his married client.
The HCPC Conduct and Competence Committee found there was sufficient proof to support the allegations.
It also found that he set his client “homework” to reflect upon her “sexuality and sexual interests” but ruled that his instructions did not amount to inappropriate therapy.
The texts and emails were sent over several weeks in March and April last year, after Mr McCarron had stopped treating the complainant. The pair had sex twice, both times in March 2013.
The HCPC panel ruled that the entire hearing should be held in private to protect the identity of the main witness in the case.
Chairman Brian Wroe said: “This hearing will be heard in private. Our reasons for that concerned the protection of the identity of the witness and associated with the health issues of the witness.”
HCPC solicitor Julie Norris noted the “legitimate public interest in knowing what is happening” because of the “serious allegations”, but applied for the witness’ evidence to be private because she is “traumatised and embarrassed” and does not wish the events to “be laid open in public”.
She said: “The witness would wish this entire hearing to be in private and if you are able to factor that in please do.”
Ms Norris added that there may be “practical hurdles” in holding the hearing partly in public and partly in private.
A spokesman for Spire Healthcare said: “We can confirm John McCarron practised at Spire Fylde Coast Hospital from 2003 to March 2014. The patient was not treated at our hospital.”
While a consultant psychiatrist for the former Blackburn, Hyndburn and Ribble Valley Community Mental Health Team, Mr McCarron was rebuked by his ruling body in 2007 after telling a patient to “pull yourself together” and branding another a “waste of space”.
He was found to have insulted his patients and behaved in a way that would be detrimental to their health.
Finding that Dr McCarron had not intended to insult clients but that the effect of his approach had been insulting, the 2007 committee reprimanded him and ruled he had breached its code of conduct.