Doctor cleared of wrongdoing

First published in News by

NO EVIDENCE of wrongdoing was found against physchiatrist Dr George Hibbert, following a hearing into allegations of malpractice this month.

Dr George Hibbert, who cared for hundreds of parents and their children at the Tadpole Cottage assessment centre in Blunsdon, faced accusations he failed to provide good clinical care to a patient between June and September 2007.

Dr Hibbert had fought the allegations and in 2012 even offered to surrender his licence to practice in exchange for an inquiry launched by the General Medical Council to be dropped.

Last year the path was opened for a High Court challenge to the inquiry after a judge found there was sufficient evidence to dismiss the allegations.

A Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service fitness to practice hearing later set between February 17 and 28 in Manchester found no evidence to prove the claims put forward by the GMC.

The allegations being brought for Dr Hibbert to answer included the failure to provide good clinical care to a patient.

It was also alleged that he failed to adequately consider a differential diagnosis, discuss his treatment and care of the patient with the consultant responsible for the patient’s care, and prepare a care plan in advance of the patient being discharged from Tadpole Cottage.

Dr Hibbert’s actions were also claimed to have been misleading and dishonest in that he informed a nurse at St George’s Hospital that the patient had left Tadpole Cottage of her own accord, when he knew this to be untrue.

It was further alleged that he submitted a final report to the court which did not provide an accurate account of the patient’s discharge.

A GMC investigation was launched after a woman in her 30s alleged Dr Hibbert wrongfully urged her three-year-old toddler be removed from her care by social workers.

After a three month stay at Dr Hibbert’s medical centre, the child was taken into foster care before being returned to the mother a year later after a judge ruled it was in the baby’s best interest.

Allegations he failed to discuss his treatment and care of the patient and to consider differential diagnosis were subsequently withdrawn by the GMC.

The rest were ‘found not proved’ by the tribunal. Regarding the allegation that Dr Hibbert lied about the fact that the patient in question left Tadpole Cottage of her own accord, a report in MTPS’s findings stated: “It could be said that Patient A left Tadpole Cottage ‘of her own accord’.”

The panel heard that her behaviour had been disruptive and that she had made various threats such as she would “smash the place up” if she was made to stay. At the termination of her assessment, Patient A was not forcibly removed but left with her solicitor of her own volition.

“The Panel considered your (Dr Hibbert’s) evidence to be credible. It did not consider it at all likely that you would have told staff nurse Horton that Patient A had left of her own accord in an attempt to conceal the termination of her assessment.”

The GMC declined to make a comment.

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