A leading psychiatrist faces extraordinary claims he deliberately misdiagnosed parents with mental disorders – decisions which meant their children were taken away from them.
Dr George Hibbert faces being struck off over his conclusions that hundreds had ‘personality disorders’ after assessing them at his private family centre.
He was paid hundreds of thousands of pounds by social services for the reports which tore children from their parents – many of them young mothers. He is now being investigated over shocking suggestions he distorted the assessments to fit the view of social services. In one case, he is alleged to have wrongly diagnosed a ‘caring’ new mother – named only as Miss A – with bipolar disorder because her local authority wanted the baby adopted.
After being confronted with this allegation, Dr Hibbert offered to surrender his licence to practise as a doctor rather than face a General Medical Council inquiry.
But his request has been rejected by the GMC which says there are still ‘unresolved concerns regarding his fitness to practise’. He will now face a full fitness to practise hearing.
Yesterday John Hemming MP, who has raised concerns about Dr Hibbert in Parliament, described the claims as shocking.
The Lib Dem MP – alerted by a whistle-blower – said he had since spoken to ‘three or four’ other families who said the same had happened to them.
He has written to Justice Secretary Ken Clarke demanding a full parliamentary inquiry.
Mr Hemming said: ‘He 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.
‘Much of the decision making in care proceedings rests on reports from experts such as Dr Hibbert,’ he told Parliament.
He added that supposedly independent experts such as Dr Hibbert, 59, were often little more than ‘the hired gun of the local authority’.
The lack of transparency over such experts was leading to ‘thousands of miscarriages of justice in care proceedings’.