HEALTH chiefs have sought to reassure patients of a Chester GP convicted of downloading almost 17,000 indecent images of children.

Dr Anthony Bland, who worked at the Fountains Medical Practice on Delamere Street, pleaded guilty to seven charges, five of which related to images and one to possessing extreme pornography.

He also admitted one count of attempting to incite a girl aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity.

At Chester Crown Court on Friday, Bland was sentenced to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years, and must undertake a sex offenders programme.

NHS England and NHS West Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group issued a joint statement today (Tuesday, March 6).

It states: “We want to reassure patients seen and treated by Dr Bland that the police have confirmed that none of the charges brought against him relate to his patients or any of his roles as a doctor.

“Upon his arrest in January 2017, we took immediate action to suspend Dr Bland and he has not had any contact with patients since then. He has been removed from the list of GP Performers and can no longer work as a GP.

“We understand that these charges may be upsetting for local people. If you would like to speak to someone, please get in touch with the NHS England Contact Centre on 0300 311 2233.”