The official register of medical practitioners had called for an Ipswich doctor to be struck off for groping a nurse before his suspension was lifted, it has emerged.

Dr Narendra Kochar, a consultant gastroenterologist and hepatologist, was suspended after a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing last November found that he had touched a nurse’s breast and made sexual comments to her while working at InHealth in Ipswich in 2021.

At the initial hearing, the regulator General Medical Council (GMC) requested that Dr Kochar be struck off.

(Image: GMC)

A GMC spokesperson said: “The GMC submitted that Dr Kochar’s practice was impaired, and during the sanctions stage of the hearing, the GMC submitted that the tribunal should erase his name from the medical register to declare/uphold standards and to maintain public confidence in the medical profession.

“Our counsel submitted that Dr Kochar’s sexual misconduct in the midst of a patient procedure was fundamentally incompatible with continued registration.”

However, the independent medical practice tribunal panel concluded “the public should not be deprived of an otherwise competent doctor” and instead issued a six-month suspension in December, which was lifted last week.

At his determination hearing, Dr Kochar said there were cultural differences between India, where he undertook his medical training, and the UK.

Going forward, he pledged to "never be part" of a culture of misogyny and predatory behaviour.

(Image: Google Maps)

In 2020, Dr Kochar, who qualified in 1991, was found not guilty of sexually assaulting three NHS patients during medical examinations at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

It was alleged that, during a colonoscopy, Dr Kochar touched the genital area of one victim, and touched the breast of another during an abdominal examination. A third victim alleged multiple assaults across 13 appointments.

The gastroenterologist and hepatologist has always denied the allegations.

Dr Kochar also faced a separate Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing last year over an allegation he pressed and rubbed his erect penis against a patient while examining her in an Edinburgh hospital in 2008.

He claimed the allegation was vindictive because he had reduced the patient’s medication.

The doctor was cleared of wrongdoing.

The GMC said it investigates all concerns raised but could not provide further details of previous tribunals.

InHealth did not respond to a request for comment, and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, where Dr Kochar previously worked, declined to comment on the matter.