Doctor jailed for child sex offences fails to attend medical tribunal hearing from prison

Dr Salman Siddiqi / Maidstone Prison. Credit Kent Police / PA Images (Ref: PA-5384572)
Dr Salman Siddiqi, 45, is currently serving a custodial sentence at HM Prison Maidstone. Credit: Kent Police / PA Images

A children's doctor jailed for child sex offences at a Kent hospital has failed to attend the first day of a tribunal hearing which will determine whether he is fit to practise as a clinician again.

Paediatrician, Dr Salman Siddiqi, from Hornchurch in east London, sent an email along with a “bundle of documents” to the medical practitioners tribunal from Maidstone Prison, where he is serving a 28-month sentence.

In his email, Siddiqi said: “I am currently residing in HMP Maidstone… As a consequence of the restrictions imposed upon me secondary to my sentence, I don't have any physical or financial resources or electronic access to either self-represent myself or appoint a legal representative to represent myself before the respected panel members of the tribunal.”

Siddiqi previously admitted at Canterbury Crown Court attempting to meet an individual he thought to be a 14-year-old boy for sex at his doctor's accommodation at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (QEQM) Hospital in Margate, Kent, on 8 January 2023.

Siddiqi was working as a locum paediatric registrar at the QEQM Hospital in Kent at the time of his arrest in 2023. Credit: PA Images

In June 2023, Siddiqi was jailed for two years and four months for engaging in sexual communication with a child and attempting to arrange or facilitate the commission of a child sex offence.

The three tribunal panel members ruled to continue proceedings in Siddiqi’s absence, during the virtual public hearing held on Tuesday, 2 January, and attended by ITV News.

Official papers showed that Siddiqi had submitted a “detailed recent witness statement dated 4 December 2023” alongside a “significant bundle of documents” for the tribunal to consider.

Barrister Nigel Grundy, counsel for the General Medical Council, told the hearing: “At the time of commission of the offences, Dr Siddiqi was working as a locum registrar in paediatrics at the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate in Kent, which is part of the East Kent Hospitals Trust.

"He had been working at that hospital since about November 2022.

"The case was reported to the GMC by the [NHS] trust on 9 January 2023.”

In other cases it had been possible for prisoners to attend such a hearing by video, Mr Grundy added. But he wasn’t aware whether Siddiqi had made any attempt to do so.

Tribunal chairman, Kamran Choudhry, said: “Dr Siddiqi’s communications suggest that he anticipated that the hearing would proceed in his absence… The tribunal further determined that there is a clear public interest in proceeding with the hearing expeditiously.

"Accordingly, in accordance with rule 31 of the rules, the tribunal has determined to proceed in Dr Siddiqi’s absence.”

The tribunal continues.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...