19 March 2021

Dr. Richard Freeman struck off the Medical Register

Dr. Richard Freeman has been struck off the Medical Register, after the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) found that misconduct during a six year period when he acted as Team Doctor to British Cycling and Team Sky had impaired his fitness to practice. The MPTS said that Freeman’s behaviour around the ordering of Testogel in 2011 is ‘fundamentally incompatible’ with continued registration, and erasure is ‘the only sufficient sanction which would protect patients, maintain public confidence in the profession and send a clear message to Dr. Freeman, the profession and the public that his misconduct constituted behaviour unbefitting and incompatible with that of a registered doctor’. 

The MPTS was critical of Dr. Freeman for ordering Testogel in 2011; lying to UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) about it; lying to a psychiatrist; being untruthful to the MPTS; and for using private information held about professional colleagues ‘in order to facilitate his fabricated account’. In finding him guilty of ordering Testogel which he knew or suspected would be used to improve a British Cyclist’s performance, it had already criticised him for falsifying documents in order to cover up his Testogel order.

Dr. Freeman’s contention was that the Testogel had been ordered for Shane Sutton, former Head Coach at British Cycling and Team Sky, to treat erectile dysfunction. The MPTS found nothing in Sutton’s medical records to suggest that he had ever been treated for such a condition. 

It also discounted the idea that Testogel could have been ordered by Sutton to improve his sex life. However, it didn’t examine the idea that he may have claimed to have needed Testogel to treat erectile dysfunction or to improve his sex life in order to obtain it for cyclists. Dr. Freeman’s lax medical records meant that it couldn’t.

Sutton denied suffering from erectile dysfunction and denied bullying Dr. Freeman to order the Testogel. However, as reported, the MPTS also cast doubt upon his credibility as a witness.

Dr. Freeman told the Mail On Sunday that he ordered the Testogel for Shane Sutton, and denies ordering it believing or knowing that it was to improve a cyclist’s performance, despite the MPTS ruling. UKAD has charged Dr. Freeman with possession of the Testogel; and for tampering with doping control after telling UKAD he had ordered it by mistake.

The MPTS hearings, which began a month late on 5 March 2019 and finished over two years later, were only designed to assess whether Dr. Freeman’s ability to practise medicine had been impaired. Following its conclusion in the affirmative, UKAD may decide to probe why British Cycling and Team Sky tolerated his malpractice for so long. 

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