A doctor who wrote a fake sick note to help a patient cancel her expensive gym membership has been cleared of malpractice.

Fitness centres in Belgium regularly use inflexible contracts which can only be broken without penalty as a result of intervention from a doctor.

The Belgian Order of Physicians cleared the doctor of malpractice on the grounds he acted in his “social role,” The Guardian reported.

The doctor had admitted writing the note because he did not believe she had the money to pay for the contract, which cost €70-a-month (£60) and was due to run for 18 months longer. 

He told the watchdog he had a responsibility to help his patient, adding: “At these fitness clubs there are often really tight contracts that you almost can’t get rid of.”

However, the director of the professional association of gyms in Belgium branded the decision “unacceptable.”

“A doctor has to judge your health, not whether it was a good idea to conclude such a contract,” he said, according to The Guardian

“Will a doctor now judge your contract with your energy supplier, or with your internet provider?”