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Lawyer's warning after police investigate alleged GP abuse

Warnings after police launch investigation into doctor accused of sexually assault during pre-employment medicals for Barclays Bank

Posted on 03 December 2013

Lawyers have warned of the dangers of unnecessary examinations after a doctor was accused of sexually assaulted hundreds of young women during pre-employment medicals for Barclays Bank.

Police are investigating the allegations against Dr Gordon Bates, who died in 2009 aged 73.

Dr Bates carried out examinations for a number of clients in Fenham, Newcastle.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: "We have taken more than 20 statements so far and we are currently working to establish the circumstances of each one." 

A Northumbria Police spokesman told MailOnline: "We can confirm we are currently investigating a number of reports of sexual assault dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.  

"The allegations have been made against a man who is now deceased and we can confirm it relates to medical examinations carried out on behalf of a private company."

Emma Jones from the Human Rights team at law firm Leigh Day has represented several clients who have taken action after being abused by a medical professional, she said:

“Whilst this type of abuse by a medical professional is rare it is probably more common than a lot of people realise. In the cases where we have represented women who have been the victims of assault, in each case the doctor has relied upon their professional status to exert power over their victim.

“Aside from the feelings of guilt after an assault, it is often self-doubt and shock about what has happened that prevents individuals from coming forward. They are often left thinking ‘did I imagine that? Surely, a person in that position would not assault me’.

“Both women and men should be aware of any medical examination which they believe is not relevant for their condition.

“Before any examination the medical professional should be able to explain the reason for the examination. If it is an especially intimate procedure then a chaperone (another medical person) can be requested and should be provided without complaint.”