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Pharmacist receives warning about maintaining professional boundaries

By news team

A pharmacist alleged to have behaved inappropriately with young female assistants has received a warning from the fitness-to-practise committee of the General Pharmaceutical Council after allegations of sexually motivated conduct were found not proved.

At its meeting on 30 August 2012, the committee looked into the case of Mohammed Khalil Jamil (registration number 2064873). Against him were allegations of misconduct while he was working as a locum in Scotland in July and November 2009. It was alleged that he behaved improperly with young female assistants working at the pharmacy on six occasions. In respect of each incident, the GPhC alleged that his behaviour was inappropriate, contrary to professional standards and sexually motivated.

Mr Jamil was present at the inquiry and was represented by Graham Southall-Edwards, of the Pharmacists Defence Association.

Mark Millin, case manager, appeared on behalf of the GPhC.

Mr Jamil admitted the allegations inasmuch as his behaviour was inappropriate and went beyond professional boundaries but denied that his actions were sexually motivated. Having heard and weighed the evidence, the committee was unable to find the allegations of sexual motivation proved on the balance of probabilities.

The committee heard that since the incidents Mr Jamil had attended two training sessions on maintaining professional boundaries. He had also consulted a psychiatrist as to whether he was or is suffering from some sort of psychological disorder. The answer had been negative.

The chairman, Patrick Milmo, QC, said Mr Jamil had done this because he felt that the source of his problems, which had led him into trouble in 2009, was his restrictive background with little social life and perhaps none at all outside his own community. "He lacks social skills and had little knowledge of how one could be friendly with working colleagues but at the same time maintain professional boundaries. . . . He was unable to distinguish between friendliness and over-familiarity. He did not know or understand what degree of friendliness was acceptable within a working environment."

The chairman added that, since 2009, Mr Jamil had worked mainly in hospitals and there had been no complaints about his conduct. Indeed, there had been a number of testimonials, many from women, that were highly complimentary about his talents as a pharmacist, his commitment to his profession and the impeccable manner in which he conducted himself.

"We do not consider there is any serious risk of the kind of conduct which has led to his appearance before this committee being repeated," the chairman said. "In the circumstances we do not find the registrant's fitness to practise is impaired."

However, the committee decided to hand Mr Jamil a warning, which was "necessary for the purpose of emphasising to the registrant the crucial requirement of exemplary behaviour by a pharmacist towards those working in or visiting the pharmacy".

Mr Jamil's warning was in the following terms: "You must ensure that you maintain proper professional boundaries in the relationships you have with colleagues, patients, the public and other individuals that you come into contact with in the course of your professional practice, that your behaviour, conversation and demeanour toward others is correct and appropriate at all time, that you are conscious of and take care to allow appropriate space to colleagues and others, and that you avoid physical contact with them."

The chairman warned that a failure to act in this way and observe the terms of the warning in future could have serious and adverse repercussions on his future ability to continue the practice of his profession.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11110185

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