Suspended sentence for NHS boss convicted of voyeurism

1818
Dr Jonathan Fielden
Dr Jonathan Fielden

A former top NHS doctor’s career was in tatters today (3 June) after a court heard how he secretly spied on a teenage girl as she took a shower.

Dr Jonathan Fielden, 55, of Regents Mews, Biddenham, a former deputy medical director and director of specialised commissioning at NHS England, was today given a suspended prison sentence after admitting a charge of voyeurism.

The 15 year old girl, who was naked, looked up to realise someone was watching her through a hole in the ceiling.

The court was told Dr Fielden’s registration to practice has been suspended by the General Medical Council.

During the hearing, it was said that work pressures had led the doctor to ‘self destruct.’

Judge Richard Foster sitting at Luton crown court told Fielden: “It’s tragic to see you, a man of such brilliance in your career, a hardworking man at the pinnacle of your career, responsible for a substantial part of the NHS budget, to fall from grace in the way you have because of what you stupidly did.”

The court heard that for some 15 to 20 seconds Fielden had looked through a hole in the ceiling to watch the girl under the shower at a private residence in Leighton Buzzard.

The anaesthetist admitted he had spied in the girl for his own sexual gratification. Judge Foster was told the offence had taken place at the house in early 2016.

At the time, Fielden was on a salary of £224,999 a year, making him one of the highest paid doctors in the country.

Prosecutor Kate Fortescue said that after realising someone was watching her take a shower, the teenager had been left deeply shocked and, for a number of months, couldn’t bring herself to take showers.

She eventually told other members of her family what had happened and, in December 2016, Fielden was arrested.

Miss Fortescue said he had watched the teenager for 15 to 20 seconds, and went on: “He looked down a ventilation pipe and watched her shower for his own sexual gratification.”

She said that, since the incident, Fielden had taken steps himself to address his offending behaviour by having counselling.

Judge Foster was told that when the girl’s mother found out what had happened, it had deeply affected her own mental health and she had been prescribed anti depressants.

The court was told that following the arrest of the doctor, his mobile phone was examined. Websites visited, said Miss Fortescue, featured underage girls and child sex abuse images.

But barrister Alexandra Felix said “He accepts he hit upon them while looking at adult pornography.”

Dealing with the offence, Miss Felix went on: “He accepts it shouldn’t have happened, but it did, but not because of any concerted effort to do it. Circumstances arose for it to happen.

“If he had diverted his eyes immediately, it wouldn’t have happened.”

She said Fielden had had a high pressure job and been under “particular stresses” which caused a “loss of judgment.”

Miss Felix added: “The destruction he has brought about on himself he accepts is of his own doing.” She described Fielden as “dedicated to his calling.”

Judge Foster sentenced the doctor to five months imprisonment, which he suspended for 12 months and ordered he carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

He was ordered to pay costs of £3500 and must attend 30 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days.

He was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and his name will go on the sex Offenders’ register.

Following his arrest Fielden, who had been privately-educated at Bedford School before going to Bristol University, was suspended and later resigned as deputy medical director and director of specialised commissioning at NHS England.

He had been Chairman between 2006 and 2009 of the Central Consultants and Specialists Committee of the British Medical Association.

Fielden led the Care Quality Commission team which inspected Hinchingbrooke Hospital in 2014.

According to the BBC, the hospital was put in special measures after being rated `inadequate’ by the CQC.

He was appointed director of specialised commissioning at NHS England in October 2015. Subsequently, he was reckoned by the Health Service Journal to be the 49th most influential person in the English NHS in 2015.

Detective Constable Louise Granger, investigating, said: “This type of offence is unacceptable and can have a huge impact on the victim, so I’m glad that Fielden pleaded guilty and took responsibility for his actions.

“I’d like to praise the victim for having the courage to come forward and reporting this to us.

“I hope this encourages anyone who may have been the victim of a sexual offence or sexual abuse to report it to us.

“We take reports of all sexual offences seriously, whether they are recent or not, and will do our utmost to investigate these cases thoroughly and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

If you have been the victim of any form of sexual offence, you can receive support and guidance from Bedfordshire Police and partner agencies.