This was said to be a “coping mechanism” to deal with the burden of additional work he had taken on after returning to the practice following a period of absence. A GP who listed “M Mouse” among hundreds of bogus patients has escaped suspension after a tribunal decided it was his way of coping with his workload.Dr Andrew Thomson fiddled appointments over a five-year period but avoided sanction after a medical tribunal highlighted his “propensity for overwork”.He was warned that the “exceptional course” adopted in the misconduct hearing by the medical practitioners’ tribunal in Manchester did not reduce the seriousness of his conduct at the Academy Health Centre, in Forfar, Tayside.But the panel said powerful mitigating factors and witness evidence that he was an “outstanding, dedicated and conscientious GP” had led them to take the unusual step, despite a finding that his fitness to practise had been impaired.The tribunal resulted from a General Medical Council investigation which arose from concerns raised in 2014 when Dr Thomson was the executive partner at the medical centre.The hearing was told he deleted appointment slots from his diary and filled numerous gaps with “ghost” patients when he was actually available for consultation. He admitted creating one appointment in the name of “M Mouse”, but the tribunal accepted his explanation that it was an IT-training inspired moniker and it would have been obvious that it was not a real patient.The GMC had called for Dr Thomson to be suspended, saying it believed public confidence would be undermined if any other sanction was imposed.But the tribunal said it was satisfied that a finding of impairment alone was sufficient to maintain public confidence in the profession.The tribunal panel Robin Ince said testimonials provided to the hearing were “consistently positive”, adding: “The tribunal acknowledges that you still have a propensity to overwork.”However, it is reassured that you have gained sufficient insight to utilise the support mechanisms which are available to you and that you have the insight to discuss any problems in dealing with your workload with those around you.”Such safeguards will protect against the possibility that you might otherwise resort to further misleading or dishonest behaviour.”Dr Thomson and Brechin Health Centre, where he now works, made no comment on the tribunal findings. The GP said everyone would know M Mouse was not a real patientCredit:Cascade News Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.