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Physiotherapist suspended over libellous allegations on website

2 December 2009

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Unfounded and libellous allegations on a website have resulted in a physiotherapist being suspended for three months by a conduct and competence committee at the Health Professions Council (HPC).

It had heard that John Spencer, from Manchester, used his “Branson pickle” site to accuse a GP of planning to send patients to Virgin Healthcare clinics in exchange for money.

Mr Spencer was head of therapies at Virgin when the firm began negotiations to provide services at a surgery where the GP was the managing partner.

The HPC said that Mr Spencer inappropriately obtained, copied and distributed documents belonging to Virgin Healthcare and also made libellous claims against the GP, damaging his reputation and that of the medical profession.

The GP had told the panel: “I was concerned that people would think that there was no smoke without fire and it would shake people’s confidence in my integrity.”

Mr Spencer also wrote open letters to the prime minister, the Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury, which he posted on the site.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Health Professions Council

Related story: “Branson pickle” blogger faces misconduct charge