A DOCTOR who slapped a suspected overdose patient in Ayr Hospital before telling colleagues "that felt good" has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Dr Ziyad Al-Janabi, who has worked as a speciality doctor in emergency medicine at University Hospital Ayr since February 2018, had been accused of misconduct, and fitness to practise hearings held by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) ended last week.

The alleged misconduct took place on the evening of May 23, 2020 - a busy Saturday night in the A&E department of the hospital, during the early stages of the pandemic.

The doctor was working in what is known as the ‘Red Resus’ area, used for patients who are very unwell and, at that time, used to treat those who were suspected of having Covid-19.

The patient involved had been admitted following a suspected drug and alcohol overdose and had become "agitated and combative", according to an MPTS report.

The patient's behaviour was described as "challenging to manage" and he was said to have lashed out at staff before the incident.

Dr Al-Janabi administered sedation and left the room before returning when the patient became agitated once again.

The patient was described as a "large man" in the report and three members of hospital staff had struggled to restrain him before Dr Al-Janabi managed to place him onto a trolley.

Staff had called for Dr Al-Janabi, who was allegedly observed to shake the patient and shout at him in an inappropriate manner. He was also allegedly observed to slap the patient and say, "that felt good".

Dr Al-Janabi admitted that he said "that felt good", or words to that effect, and although the MPTS panel also found two of the other allegations proved they declared his fitness to practise was not impaired.

The panel found that Dr Al-Janabi shook the patient's head but judged that he did not shout inappropriately at him.

Referring to the comment made by the doctor after slapping the patient, the report said: "The tribunal accepted that Dr Al-Janabi’s motivation was to lighten that atmosphere.

"Whatever Dr Al-Janabi’s motivation for making the comment, the words he used compounded rather than alleviated the situation.

"Others in the room considered that there was nothing that Dr Al-Janabi should feel good about given what had just taken place.

"The tribunal accepted Dr Al-Janabi’s account that following the overall sequence of events, he had experienced a general feeling of relief after an extremely physically and mentally challenging experience."

The report said the doctor has completed a series of professional courses since the incident in an effort to address the concerns raised, while his legal counsel said the "chance of repetition of his behaviour was nil".

The doctor's representatives said it was clear from the findings that his actions were "not aggressive or harmful" and that his comment after slapping the patient had simply been a "misguided attempt to lift the mood".

The report concluded: "Dr Al-Janabi had intervened to calm a situation in the way that he thought best, in the interest of patient and colleague safety.

"The tribunal was satisfied that Dr Al-Janabi’s first concern had been Patient A’s safety and the safety of staff in the room.

"The purpose of the shaking and the slap, neither of which had been aggressive, had been to get Patient A’s attention in order to prevent harm to himself and others.

"In that context... the tribunal concluded that Dr Al-Janabi’s actions could not be said to have caused Patient A harm."

The tribunal concluded that Dr Al-Janabi’s actions did not meet the threshold for a finding of misconduct.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran confirmed that Mr Al-Janabi "remains employed" by the health board.

Dr Crawford McGuffie, medical director, said: "He has fully co-operated with the organisation throughout the investigation and tribunal process.

"To respect and maintain employee confidentiality, no further information will be provided at this time."