Saturday, November 24, 2012

Why is doctor in GMC probe STILL being allowed to break up British families?

Psychiatrist accused of falsely diagnosing parents with mental health illnesses

The evidence of a psychiatrist accused of distorting reports to suit the needs of local authorities is still being used to remove children from their parents.

One mother faced the prospect of having a baby son taken away from her because of a report written by Dr George Hibbert six years ago - before the child in question was even born.

The doctor is at the centre of an investigation over claims that he falsely diagnosed parents with mental disorders to fit with the view of social services.

He has already offered to surrender his doctor's licence following the claims - but has been told the allegations are so serious he must face a public hearing.

Now the Mail Online has learned that his reports - for which he has been paid millions by local authorities - are still being used in the secret family courts against parents he labelled 'unfit'.

One woman, who can be named only as Miss C, had her two daughters taken away after she failed one of Dr Hibbert's controversial 'parenting assessments' in 2006.

In a bizarre report, he criticised Miss C for speaking to her elder daughter 'in an over-bright tone', vacuuming the floor 'in an agitated way' and even on one occasion, for 'overcooking the pasta'.

He also expressed concern that her youngest daughter, who was just two months old, spent too much time 'asleep, wrapped in blankets'.
Claims have been made by a woman known as Miss B, about how her daughter, now six, was taken away from her mother due to a report by psychiatrist Dr George Hibbert

Claims have been made by a woman known as Miss B, about how her daughter, now six, was taken away from her mother due to a report by psychiatrist Dr George Hibbert

He concluded she was 'unable to protect the children from harm' because she was 'preoccupied' by what other people thought of her.

As a result of the report, the mother was forced to endure the agony of having her two children taken away - and placed in the care of her abusive ex-partner.

'I couldn't believe it,' she said. 'They are everything to me. To have them taken away was awful for me but much worse for them. My eldest daughter was utterly traumatised.'

Determined to get her daughters back, Miss C fought a long legal battle and eventually won the right to care for her two daughters unsupervised for one day a week.

When she gave birth to another baby earlier this year, a parenting assessment found 'no concerns' about Miss C's ability to look after the child, who was 'happy' and 'contented' in her care.

But despite this, her local authority started proceedings to have the boy removed and adopted - citing Dr Hibbert's six-year-old report on her parenting capabilities as evidence she was an unfit mother. 'It was like being in a nightmare' she said.

'Everybody knows I'm a good mother. But Dr Hibbert's report is like a black cloud hanging over everything. It just seems so wrong that they could still have used his reports in court to take my baby away, even though he's being investigated and all these people have come forward.'

The General Medical Council is investigating a string of claims by women who say their children were wrongly removed as a result of Dr Hibbert's reports.

At least one former member of staff at his Assessment centre - Tadpole Cottage in Blunsdon, Wiltshire - is understood to have come forward in support of the parents.

Earlier this year, Dr Hibbert, an eminent psychiatrist who has lectured at Oxford and advised MPs on the family courts, offered to surrender his doctor's licence after being confronted with allegations that he had deliberately misdiagnosed patients with mental disorders.

But the GMC dismissed his request and has said it expects to hold a Fitness to Practise Hearing early next year. Dr Hibbert is now seeking permission of the High Court to challenge the GMC's decision to investigate one complaint that falls outside the usual five-year time limit for investigations.

Meanwhile a number of women have contacted a solicitors' firm in Manchester regarding civil claims against the psychiatrist.

In a statement, Dr Hibbert said: 'I have had one complaint referred to the GMC's Fitness to Practise Panel for a hearing, a complaint that relates to a case in 2007, but no hearing date has yet been fixed.

'There are other complaints that the GMC are investigating but their investigations in these other cases are at a preliminary stage and none of them has been referred to the GMC's Fitness to Practise Panel.'

Original report here

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