A senior medic has been suspended after running a clinical trial using sensitive medical information without permission of his hospital.

Miguel Martin Garcia, a band 8 physiotherapist at Liverpool Women's Hospital, used patient consent forms headed with the trust's branding and carted off boxes of patient records to a private practice.

His decision to avoid the process of obtaining research approval, a process which would have taken three to four months, blew up in his face when he reported his own research data missing.

Mr Garcia also used NHS follow up appointments to take readings for his study, designed to monitor the effects of Tecartherapy - involving the use of a medical device to heat up tissue beneath the skin.

However no-one at the hospital had approved the study or given the green light for Mr Garcia to take patient records off site.

Mr Garcia was caught out after scoring an "own goal" in the words of senior hospital managers, and reporting that two boxes of research data had gone missing.

On November 9, 2018, Mr Garcia recorded an entry on a hospital risk management system, called Ulysses, reporting that sensitive data had been lost.

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Liverpool Women's Hospital's head of information governance, Russell Cowell, told the panel he received an alert about the entry and went to speak to Mr Garcia, who told him "research information" was missing.

Mr Cowell asked if Mr Garcia had approval for the research, who assured him he did.

The panel stated: "RC (Mr Cowell) stated that following the conversation he remembered feeling that something was not quite right and that he had the impression that the Registrant was not being truthful."

Mr Cowell told the panel the missing information was a serious issue, describing it as "two box folders containing a significant amount of patient information from a gynaecological hospital".

He also told the panel how reporting the missing information exposed Mr Garcia's breaches of the rules - describing it as a "surprising" and an "own goal".

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An investigation revealed Mr Garcia had signed up patients without the trust's approval or knowledge.

The case was referred to the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS), which regulates health workers other than doctors, midwives and nurses.

A disciplinary panel found that Mr Garcia had not sought regulatory approval for the study and had breached patient confidentiality - although it noted that no harm had come to any patients.

A ruling from the panel stated: "The Panel was satisfied that these were extremely serious breaches of the Trust’s patient confidentiality and data protection procedures.

"The Panel was satisfied that as a senior practitioner, the Registrant would have been fully aware of the need to obtain informed consent from the patients for their data to be used and that he would have also been aware that it was crucial to obtain a data sharing or transfer agreement.

"Again, in the Panel’s view, the Registrant ignored these requirements.

"The Panel also noted that the Registrant accepted during the Trust investigation that he had physically taken patients’ medical records off-site to the private clinic.

"The Panel regarded these breaches of the Trust’s patient confidentiality and data protection procedures as serious...

"The Panel has found that the Registrant knew that it was completely inappropriate for him to use NHS resources for work that was not NHS treatment and that his actions in this regard were dishonest.

"In view of all of the circumstances, the Panel was satisfied that the Registrant’s behaviour amounted to serious professional misconduct that would rightly be characterised as deplorable by fellow practitioners and the wider general public."

Mr Garcia was suspended from practice for 12 months.

The ECHO approached Liverpool Women's Hospital for a comment.