A Christian podiatrist has been found guilty of misconduct towards patients he thought were gay.

Steve Hardie, of Peterborough, was found to have treated those he thought were gay less favourably.

A two-day professional hearing at the Health Professions Council in London found that his fitness to practise had been impaired and he was given a one-year-ban.

The panel heard that Mr Hardie was “rude and obnoxious” to two men he believed were a couple, failed to treat a man he deemed “effeminate” and asked a colleague to treat a patient he believed to be gay.

Elspeth Metcalfe, chairman of the HPC panel hearing the case, said: “The registrant’s attitude towards patients and colleagues of a homosexual orientation has been, and continues to be, unacceptable and highly offensive both to the persons concerned and to the wider public.”

The incidents took place while Mr Hardie was working for Peterborough Community Services NHS Trust between 2005 and 2009.

The panel said there was no evidence that he had failed to attend a training session because he thought the trainer was coming on to him.

A representative from Peterborough Community Services told the hearing that Mr Hardie had cited his Christian faith as a reason for his actions.

Mr Hardie now works in private practice.

BBC News reports that his representative Sarah Weaver told the panel today he had not had a single complaint since leaving the NHS and “accepts that he must treat all patients irrespective of his beliefs”.