Doctor ‘distorted diagnoses for local authorities’
A consultant psychiatrist is being investigated over claims that he distorted his assessment of patients to suit the demands of local authorities, it was reported last night.
Dr George Hibbert faces being struck off after he allegedly misdiagnosed parents as suffering from personality disorders, it is alleged. In one case, he is claimed to have concluded that a new mother, named only as Miss A, had bipolar disorder because the local social services department wanted her child to be adopted, according to the Daily Mail.
Lawyers acting on behalf of Miss A confirmed that they had been instructed to begin proceedings against Dr Hibbert and the local authority.
Paul Grant, of Bernard Chill & Axtell Solicitors, who represents Miss A, said: “We believe this distressing case may be the tip of a very big iceberg.”
John Hemming, the MP for Birmingham Yardley, who has raised concerns about Dr Hibbert in Parliament, said he had spoken to “three or four” other families who had had a similar experience. He has written to Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, demanding a full parliamentary inquiry. Referring to Dr Hibbert, Miss A said: “Nothing will ever make up for what he has done to me and my child.”
Mr Hemming told Parliament: “He [Dr Hibbert] is someone about whom a number of people have complained. I am told that at least one person has refused to work for him because of what she saw as his unethical provision of reports to suit the demands of local authorities.”
He added that experts such as Dr Hibbert, 59, were often little more than “the hired gun of the local authority”.
Dr Hibbert charged local authorities £6,000 a week for every family in his care and £210 an hour to read documents such as medical records. His company, Assessment in Care, made a profit of around £460,000 in 2007 from its arrangement with social services.
In a letter to Miss A, a GMC investigations officer said that Dr Hibbert “has now applied for voluntary erasure from the medical register”. “He has no intention of returning to clinical practice in the future,” the letter added.
A spokesman for the Medical Protection Society, the indemnity organisation for doctors, said professional confidentiality meant that Dr Hibbert was unable to comment on the allegations.