Richard Freeman had requested an adjournment to assist with COVID-19 vaccinations ©Getty Images

Former British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman saw a request to adjourn his medical tribunal to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations turned down, prior to the General Medical Council beginning to sum up its case.

Freeman’s tribunal has been hit by numerous delays, with the case having originally been due to start in February 2019.

The former British Cycling and Team Sky doctor gave evidence in November, with the tribunal resuming on Friday with both parties starting to deliver their closing submissions.

According to the BBC, a request from Freeman’s lawyers to adjourn the case to enable to him to assist with COVID-19 vaccinations was rebuffed.

"Having carefully considered the submissions made by the doctor's legal representatives and the General Medical Council, and taking into consideration the stage the hearing has reached, a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) decision-maker decided that the hearing should go ahead as planned," an MPTS spokesperson told the BBC.

The General Medical Council had reportedly expressed concerns that a delay would mean the hearing would not conclude "until sometime in autumn 2021 at the earliest."

Freeman was claimed to be "extremely disappointed" his request had been rejected.

"In March I answered the plea for doctors to return to frontline NHS duties," he said, according to the BBC.

"Whilst being personally disadvantaged by not attending the tribunal, I will continue to work as a GP and supervising our local COVID vaccination hub."

A decision in Richard Freeman's medical tribunal is due to be reached in March ©BBC
A decision in Richard Freeman's medical tribunal is due to be reached in March ©BBC

Freeman has admitted to 18 of 22 charges brought against him by the General Medical Council.

This includes ordering a shipment of testogel, a substance that is banned both in and out of competition, to British Cycling and Team Sky headquarters in Manchester in 2011.

He denies the central charge that he placed the order "knowing or believing" the banned substance was intended to be administered to an athlete.

Freeman has alleged he was bullied into ordering the testosterone by Shane Sutton, the former British Cycling and Team Sky coach, claiming that it was ordered to treat the Australian for erectile dysfunction.

Sutton has denied Freeman’s claims.

General Medical Council lawyer Simon Jackson, summing up their case, argued Freeman was prepared to break anti-doping rules to succeed and was attempting to take advantage of bulling allegations made against Sutton.

"The General Medical Council’s case is that Dr Freeman didn’t just push up to the line – the title of his book, the stripe on the team jersey," Jackson said, according to the Guardian.

"Instead, the General Medical Council submits he crossed the line and went way beyond it.

"In naming Mr Sutton he was taking some advantage opportunistically of the various bullying allegations laid against Mr Sutton.

"We submit there is a pattern of lies – lies that Dr Freeman uses when necessary to protect himself."