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Lawyer welcomes verdict as doctor is found guilty of 23 sexual assaults

Leading healthcare lawyer welcomes guilty verdict of East End doctor found to have assaulted 23 women

Manish Shah Credit: Vickie Flores/​LNP/​Shutterstock

10 December 2019

A leading healthcare abuse legal specialist has welcomed the guilty verdict in the case of Manish Shah, an East London doctor who sexually assaulted 23 women during unnecessary checks between May 2009 and June 2013.

Alison Millar, head of the abuse team at Leigh Day has said that she is keen to know whether any concerns were raised about Shah’s clinical practice or conduct towards patients in the past given the number of patients affected by his actions.

The Old Bailey heard how Shah preyed on patients’ cancer concerns to carry out invasive intimate examinations for his own sexual gratification, being found guilty today (10 December 2019) of 25 counts of sexual assault and assault by penetration.

Shah will be sentenced for the offences on 7 February.

Prosecutor Kate Bex QC told the trial: "He took advantage of his position to persuade women to have invasive vaginal examinations, breast examinations and rectal examinations when there was absolutely no medical need for them to be conducted."

One of Shah's patients told the BBC: "He would say you need to have these sexual health tests, to make sure you're safe - you never know if somebody goes with somebody else even though you might have a safe partner," she said.

"He was just encouraging the tests along when I didn't think anything of it, I thought if a doctor suggests it you pretty much go along with it.

"He just duped so many people. He used our weaknesses and fears and took complete advantage. But not one time did I actually think he was doing anything untoward."

Alison Millar, partner and head of the abuse team at Leigh Day who is experienced in representing men and women who have been abused in a healthcare setting, said: “We all need to trust healthcare professionals to act in our best interests and it is absolutely abhorrent that Shah has breached this trust, by engendering and then exploiting health concerns in his patients for his own advantage and gratification.

“I would like to know whether any concerns were raised about his clinical practice or conduct towards patients and I hope that this is being fully investigated, given the number of patients affected by his actions. I know from previous cases that it is often very difficult for a patient to challenge the advice or actions of a doctor due to the imbalance of knowledge and power, and when a concern about potential misconduct is raised it is vital that organisations take this seriously and investigate. Sadly, in my experience this does not always occur.

“In other cases, survivors of abuse in a health care setting have also told us that it then made them absolutely terrified of any future medical examination. Support needs to be put in place to enable those affected by Shah’s actions to start to recover from their experience and to access health care in future in a safe and supportive way.”

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