The doomed firm behind Norwich's NHS walk-in centre hired a top doctor charged with child sex offences before its collapsed - and continued to work with him beyond his conviction.

Robert Varnam, at the time one of the most senior GPs in the NHS, has been struck off after admitting to possessing more than 200 indecent images of children.

In May last year, Varnam pleaded guilty to making the indecent images of children - including two Category A images - having been first arrested in 2020.

However in April 2023, a month before his conviction, One Norwich Practices enlisted his services as an "improvement and leadership coach".

The arrangement then continued until mid-July that year - meaning he continued to work with the firm for two months after admitting to the offences. 

Sarah Ambrose, former chairman of the collapsed firm, told the BBC she had only recently become aware of Varnam's convictions - adding he had "deliberately misled the organisation".

She added that Varnam, who was placed on the sex offenders' register, had not engaged in any clinical roles or come into contact with patients during his time at the firm.

She said he had instead been employed "to provide organisation advice" which was "highly valued and appreciated".

Mrs Ambrose also said Varnam had made the organisation aware he was suspended from the General Medical Council - but that had claimed this was due to a "serious and significant health issue".

She said: "At the time of his engagement we were not aware of the charges that had been made against him.

"It would have been totally inappropriate to engage him if this information had been available to us at the time."

Eastern Daily Press: Councillor Lucy Galvin

Lucy Galvin, leader of the Green group at Norwich City Council, said "serious questions" had to be answered about Varnam's employment at ONP.

The organisation announced its collapse in October last year and has now wound down, with the walk-in centre now being run by North Norfolk Primary Care.