The Medical Council handed down its harshest punishment ever by striking a doctor off the medical register indefinitely for having sex with and living with a psychiatric patient for nine years. The council said the reason for the severity of the sentence was that the offence by Win Yu, previously a medical officer in United Christian Hospital's psychiatry department, was at the 'high end of gravity'. 'The fact that the offence was committed on a particularly vulnerable psychiatric patient further aggravates the offence,' council chairwoman Felice Lieh Mak said. 'It is common for a psychiatric patient to develop a relationship and feelings for their doctor. Doctors cannot take advantage of these feelings, especially for sexual relations. This is a very basic principle of a doctorpatient relationship,' she said. The council said it took an 'unprecedented move' to remove the doctor's name from the general register of medical practitioners with immediate effect upon its publication in the Gazette because the defendant 'poses a danger to the public and the immediate removal is necessary for the protection of the public'. It also ruled Dr Win could not be returned to the register for 10 years. Dr Win was found guilty on 10 of 15 counts of professional misconduct. The council found him guilty of two charges of improper relations with the woman, known only as patient A. He was also found guilty of other offences including improperly accessing patient records, failing to keep prescription records and failing to deal properly with drugs returned by patients. But he was cleared of four other charges of improper relations with four female patients. The council's severest sentence previously was a five-year suspension in a case in which a patient died, Professor Lieh Mak said. Dr Win said he would consult his lawyer about whether to appeal. In its decision, the council said Dr Win had maintained sexual relations with patient A from 1997 - when he was 47 and she 27 - to 2007. He claimed his doctor-patient relationship with her had ceased by the time they started having sex because he had left United Christian Hospital by then. But the council found that he attended to her even when he left to work at other hospitals, specifically at Kwai Ching Hospital in 1998. He at first claimed they started living together only in 1999, but changed his story when patient A produced photographs of them together dating back to August 1997. Patient A was admitted to United Christian Hospital after attempting suicide because of a failed marriage. She said she and Dr Win started having sex soon after the hospital discharged her in April 1997. She initially refused, but Dr Win gave her drugs that rendered her weak and powerless, the council said. In April 2006, she complained to the hospital about Dr Win accessing her medical records, which led the hospital to open an investigation. Dr Win resigned that June before he could be brought before a committee of inquiry for gross misconduct. He was also found guilty of improperly accessing the records of patient A three times and another patient twice, and failing to keep proper handwritten prescription records of two other patients.