Physio banned over his lewd behaviour

Queen Victoria Centre, Morecambe

Queen Victoria Centre, Morecambe

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A physiotherapist who claimed his penis fell out of his Y-fronts in front of a student has been struck off.

Andrew Gardner, who was an advanced physiotherapist at the Queen Victoria Centre in Morecambe, was in a treatment session with Student A on May 7, 2013, when he allowed his penis to be exposed.

Andrew Gardner asked the 21-year-old about her personal life and suggested they go on holiday together, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) heard.

He also asked a colleague about her sex life with her husband, asking whether she used sex toys.

A professional standards panel found his actions, including touching a student during treatment, were sexually motivated. Andrew Gardner had been employed by Morecambe Bay NHS Trust since 1992.

While he was on sick leave in 2013, he received physiotherapy treatment from Student A, a first year physiotherapy student on placement at the Queen Victoria Centre (QVC), over a period of five weeks.

Andrew Gardner proposed that Student A treat him in order to further her education, and her treatment was directed by him, including the movements of his leg.

Student A told the panel that Andrew Gardner was wearing loose fitting underwear with a hole in the front and his penis became completely exposed for approximately 30 seconds when she lifted his leg up and out to the side. She said that she was traumatised by the event, and that when it happened, she looked away and there was no talking.

The panel concluded that Andrew Gardner had decided to wear loose fitting underwear which he would have known as an experienced physiotherapist could expose his penis.

The Panel found that Andrew Gardner intentionally left his penis exposed for a period of time in order to obtain sexual gratification.

The panel also found that Mr Gardner’s touching of Student A’s waist, arm and buttocks , repeated touching, was avoidable.

Although Andrew Gardner expressed remorse , the panel decided there was a real risk of him repeating his sexual misconduct which could bring the profession into disrepute in the future.

In his defence, Andrew Gardner suggested medication could have caused side effects, but no evidence could be found to support this.

HCPC determined that Andrew Gardner’s name should be removed from the register because of the nature and gravity of his sexualised 
behaviour in the workplace and the ongoing risk of repetition.