A Stroud doctor who inappropriately formed a relationship with a “vulnerable” patient and handed her a private prescription of valium has avoided suspension.

Dr David Smith, a full-time GP at Locking Hill Surgery, also inappropriately accessed the patient’s medical records when she was no longer in his clinical care, the medical practitioners tribunal found.

The tribunal found Dr Smith privately prescribed the patient, who had a mental health condition and is identified as Patient A, diazepam which is used to treat anxiety and seizures, and later failed to tell Patient A’s new GP he had done so.

A report said Dr Smith avoided suspension due to him “learning much from the experience of this case” and has carried on working at the surgery now under supervision.

It found Dr Smith pursued an improper emotional relationship with the patient, and carried on the relationship after she registered with a new surgery, between July 2014 to July 2017.

The report said Dr Smith made “unsustainable promises” to the patient such as he “would never leave her ” and he “would always be there for her”.

Concerns were raised by Patient A’s new GP, identified as Dr B, who asked for advice from the local medical committee in November 2017.

A document said the tribunal avoided handing Dr Smith a suspension because: "Dr Smith was throughout guided by a mistaken though genuine belief that he was doing his best for Patient A and to assist her."

As part of the conditions imposed on Dr Smith, he has to be supervised during 40 per cent of his clinical time to avoid repetition, the report said.

Senior partner at Locking Hill Surgery, Dr Ewart Lewis, said: “Locking Hill Surgery is committed to the highest standards of care and acting in the best interests of our patients.

“Dr Smith accepted the allegations relating to an inappropriate emotional relationship with a patient and referred himself to the General Medical Council (GMC) in early 2018.

“He has co-operated fully with the subsequent investigations carried out by NHS England, the GMC and undertakings relating to the continued monitoring of his practice and his personal development.

“We would like to reassure our patients that no other patients or practice staff were involved.

“Whilst Dr Smith’s actions crossed the professional boundary between doctor and patient, there was no sexual element to the allegations. However, his actions fell well short of the professional conduct this practice expects.

“Following the outcome of the Tribunal Hearing, Dr Smith will continue to practice at the surgery under supervision and with conditions prior to a follow up hearing in 18 months’ time.

“I am satisfied that the arrangements we have in place are robust and that Dr Smith will continue to provide excellent care to all his patients at the surgery.”