Doctor Faces Adoptions Scandal Axe George Hibbert
A WEALTHY psychiatrist who faces being struck off over claims he deliberately misdiagnosed parents to please social workers once tried to persuade a committee of MPs to make his techniques a national standard, the Sunday Express can reveal.
Porsche driving Dr George Hibbert is under investigation by the General Medical Council over claims he falsified psychiatric reports on parents so he could rake in business from local authorities.
It is claimed he misdiagnosed parents with mental disorders so that social services could persuade judges to issue care orders.
It is thought many children have been taken away from their natural parents and adopted with new families for life in what could be one of Britain’s biggest scandals.
Dr Hibbert’s Assessment in Care business earned hundreds of thousands of pounds by charging councils around the country £6,000 a week for each parent in his care.
The Sunday Express, which has led the way in exposing dangers of relying on single expert witness testimony in court proceedings, can now reveal that such was his confidence in his lucrative work that he supplied evidence to the Justice Select Committee two years ago.
He and family solicitor Jill Canvin, who lives with him at his country home in Wiltshire, produced a dossier for MPs in August 2010 in which they boasted the merits of their methods.
They said the Government would save £125million a year if it adopted their Tadpole Parenting Assessment software, named after their Tadpole Cottage assessment centre.
They said their techniques should be the basis for a national standard for social services so that delays and administration in the family court system could be reduced.
“We have a proposal which would provide a rational basis for [Court] Guardians to reduce their workload,” they said, adding: “This would be achieved by enabling social services to make more consistent, reliable and fair assessments of parenting.”
They told MPs that their recognition of the “poor” standard of social services was “endorsed” by Barnardo’s , which was at that time headed by Martin Narey, who is now the Coalition’s Adoption Tsar and acclaimed by David Cameron.
Dr Hibbert and Ms Canvin said their methods should be run in a pilot scheme that would test the IQs of parents and monitor their behaviour.
They sell their Tadpole Parenting Assessment via their website.
As a result of the GMC investigation, a lawyer acting for a mother known for legal reasons as ‘Miss A’, who had her child removed after she says she was misdiagnosed with bipolar by Dr Hibbert, now believes a massive class action against the Government is in store.
Paul Grant, of Bernard Chill & Axtell Solicitors, said he had already been contacted by several other parents who have been allegedly misdiagnosed by experts like Dr Hibbert all over the country.
He said: “This is a wider problem than just one case. These experts start out as clinicians but then they seem to get corrupted by money and the commercial opportunities.”
Lib Dem MP John Hemming has through the pages of the Sunday Express previously called for a national inquiry into the use of single expert testimonies in court proceedings because he believes they can be “hired hands doing their masters’ bidding”.
Neither Dr Hibbert nor Ms Canvin could be contacted, but a spokesman for the psychiatrist at the Medical Protection Agency, the indemnity organisation for doctors, said professional confidentiality meant Dr Hibbert was “unable to comment on allegations raised in relation to care of a patient”.