A DOCTOR who downloaded child porn and was then allowed to observe clinics at Kidderminster Hospital has again failed to get back on to the medical register.

Dr John Rumbold will remain struck off for a further 12 months after a standards board ruled that "it would not be in the public interest, in the interest of the profession, or indeed in your own interest" to allow him back to work.

The Bordesley Green, Birmingham, resident was suspended in August, 2003 after his 2002 conviction for downloading between 100 and 200 images - mostly of girls aged between four and 14. He was suspended for a further eight months last June.

The disgraced doctor was featured on the front page of the Shuttle/Times & News last year after it emerged he had been allowed to "observe" clinics at Kidderminster Hospital to keep his medical knowledge up to date during his suspension.

Dr Rumbold had, however, stopped attending the clinics - which did not involve children - because of "adverse publicity surrounding the case", a hearing of the General Medical Council's Fitness to Practise Panel was told this month.

Patients were not told of his convictions, of 12 counts of making indecent images.

Dr Rumbold paid to access websites, the GMC was told in 2003, which "may have been in relation to a difficult family background". His motivation was "not primarily one of sexual gratification".

He was convicted at Birmingham Crown Court in December, 2002 and received a three-year community rehabilitation order and was placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for five years.

The chairman at this month's GMC hearing heard how his mother's terminal illness and a back complaint had hampered progress on the Sex Offender's Treatment Programme, which he had now rejoined.

Panel chairman, Ralph Bergmann, said members noted "you have gained insight, that you have a continuing commitment to practise as a doctor and that you fully appreciate the gravity of your actions".

Mr Bergmann, however, went on: "In the circumstances it (the panel) has determined that it would not be in the public interest, in the interest of the profession, or indeed in your own interest, to allow you to return to unrestricted medical practice at this time."