A Toronto doctor has been charged with three counts of sexual assault involving three different female complainants.

In a news release issued Thursday, Toronto Police allege the women were under anesthetic and undergoing surgical procedures in hospital when the sexual assaults took place.

This allegedly happened at North York General hospital between August 2007 and last month. The hospital has a number for patient inquiries -- 416-756-6271.

"The accused has been an anesthesiologist since 1981, and has worked at North York General Hospital, 4001 Leslie St., for the past 28 years," police said, although hospital officials later said the accused is actually an anesthetist.

The accused has also worked at a number of other Toronto hospitals. "Investigators will be working with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario to determine if there are any other victims," police said.

No allegations against Dr. George Doodnaught, 61, of Toronto have been proven in a court of law. He was granted bail on Wednesday. His next court date is set for April 1.

Police say they think there may be more possible complainants, and are asking anyone who can assist their investigation to contact them at 416-808-4040.

Hospital responds

Bonnie Adamson, the hospital's president and CEO, said the doctor is not working at this time, and that the hospital is co-operating fully with the police and the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

She said everyone at the hospital is "shocked and devastated" by the allegations. But Adamson also noted that only one doctor is involved and patients should feel safe there.

She said the police have asked them to not discuss certain details about the case or the accused.

The first complaint came in mid-February, she said.

Dr. David White, the hospital's acting chief of staff, said the operating room is one of the safest and most secure in a hospital. Patients are rarely alone in those circumstances, he said.

"In my over 30 years as a family physician, I can tell you this is an extremely unusual situation," he said.