Physiotherapist Purnoor Bawa who is the owner of Riverview Therapies in Gravesend has been struck off. Mr Bawa was struck off after he massaged a patient’s bare breasts without her consent.
The victim had been involved in a car crash had been sent to Riverview Therapies for 10 sessions. She stopped going after five after she felt uncomfortable with the way Mr Bawa was acting.
A hearing at the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service heard how Bawa had, with consent, touched her left breast during their fourth session, but ten days later, in their next meeting told the patient to take off her bra and top before massaging both breasts.
The woman, who was called patient A throughout the hearing, had been accompanied by a family member for the first three sessions, before visiting on her own the final two times.
Traumatised by the ordeal, the patient referred the matter to Kent Police, explaining she had felt “groomed” by Bawa.
The statement to police said: “The more I thought about what had happened, the more this didn’t seem right… and I started crying, at which point I realised how much this had upset me.”
“His conduct was calculated and deliberate and he showed no insight into, or remorse for, the impact his behaviour had on Patient A” – Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service panel. When questioned by officers, Bawa denied all allegations and told police the woman was “not a normal patient,” but didn’t elaborate.
Bawa, who lives in Gravesend, moved to the UK from India in 2003 to complete a masters degree and was employed by various NHS trusts between 2005 and 2018.
He began his own private physiotherapy company with his wife, which treats people in Gravesend and Dartford, in 2017 after working around Kent for Physios R Us Limited – a company he set up with a friend in 2012.
In making its judgement, the panel stated members of the public and the profession would be “concerned to learn that a physiotherapist had been found to have engaged in serious and sexually motivated misconduct on two occasions”.
They added: “He (Bawa) had used his position as a physiotherapist to perpetrate sexually motivated conduct on a patient on two occasions, having gained her trust over the preceding three treatment sessions.
“His conduct was calculated and deliberate and he showed no insight into, or remorse for, the impact his behaviour had on patient A, nor on his profession or the wider community.”
The panel was unable to identify any mitigating factors which would enable it to impose a lesser sanction other than striking him from the register as it would undermine public and professional confidence in the regulator otherwise.