Physiotherapist stops work after inappropriate comments


Physiotherapist keeps his job after making inappropriate comments to female massage clients – from saying ‘I’ll get into you in more detail next week’ to commenting on another’s ‘exquisite quads’

  • Physiotherapist James Fenwick has avoided being expelled from work
  • Fenwick made inappropriate comments to a female customer during a massage
  • A tribunal concluded most of the comments had no ‘sexual motive’

A physiotherapist has escaped suspension after saying to a female client during a massage “I’ll get to know you more next week” and making “intense eye contact” with her all the time.

James Fenwick also asked the woman if “all her children were planned” and told her she looked “in good shape.”

He got off with only a suspension after a tribunal concluded that most of the comments had no “sexual motive” and the physio was in the habit of using “careless language”.

During a GGD hearing, Mr Fenwick was told that he is an independent physiotherapist and has had his own practice, Redcar Physiotherapy, since 2012.

In 2019, a complaint was filed by a customer of his, named only as “Service User A,” who claimed he made a series of inappropriate comments and comments during a session.

James Fenwick

James Fenwick has escaped lockout after saying to a female client during a massage, “I’ll dig into you in more detail next week” and making “intense eye contact” with her throughout.

She told the tribunal that Fenwick said he would “get deep into her next week” during a massage before pausing, looking at her and saying “work those calves.”

He also asked her if all three of her children were planned and told her she “looked in good shape” before asking if “the massage felt nice.”

The creepy physiotherapist then “jokingly” asked the woman if she would take her “brushed nails for James” to their next appointment.

The woman told the tribunal that Fenwick had stared at her during the massage and made “intense eye contact.”

The tribunal heard that Fenwick had also behaved inappropriately towards another woman, “Service User D,” by telling her she had “exquisite quads.”

At the end of the appointment, he “stood over” the woman as she lay and placed his hands on either side of her head in a “suggestive stance.”

However, the tribunal concluded that while the comments he made to “Service User A” were “highly inappropriate and intrusive,” they “appeared to have no sexual motives.”

In its conclusion, the tribunal ruled: “There is no doubt, in the opinion of the Panel, that both Service User A and Service User D were uncomfortable as a result of the inappropriate comments of [Fenwick] over the course of his respective treatments of them.

“The proven comments to service user A can be attributed to” [Fenwick’s] than the practice of using careless and inappropriate language.

‘The reference to, for example, ‘nails’ could be interpreted as an attempt by [Fenwick] to make a joke.

The reaction [‘you’re in good condition] appears to have been an inappropriate attempt by ‘Fenwick’ to compliment service user A on her successful weight loss.

‘The comment made’ [about whether her children were planned], while highly inappropriate and intrusive, it also seems to have no sexual motive…..

In short, inappropriate [the comments] where, in the Panel’s opinion, it cannot be said that these comments and the associated conduct were sexually motivated.’

However, as for the second woman, service user D, the panel concluded that the comments and his behavior were sexually motivated.

The tribunal continued, “The ‘proposed position’…considered by service user D could be a prelude to a kiss.

“The statement ‘exquisite quads’ was completely inappropriate and the panel cannot find a plausible explanation for either case, except to conclude that they were both sexually motivated.”

The tribunal found that Fenwick’s fitness to exercise had been compromised because he had displayed “limited insight into his conduct.”

It noted that the women involved said they felt they no longer wanted to be treated by male physical therapists.

It ordered Fenwick to be suspended for a period of six months to “gain full understanding and rectify his shortcomings.”