Inquiry call over doctor's work at Broadmoor: Labour is demanding the suspension of a psychiatrist who is alleged to have breached mental health regulations. Sharon Kingman reports

LABOUR HAS demanded a public inquiry into allegations that a consultant psychiatrist at Broadmoor special hospital in Berkshire consistently breached mental health legislation designed to protect patients' rights.

David Blunkett, Labour's health spokesman, said the inquiry should also examine the role of the Department of Health in protecting the psychiatrist, Dr Kypros Loucas, and further allegations about his practices to be made in Cutting Edge, to be broadcast tonight on Channel 4.

The Independent on Sunday disclosed yesterday that, since being asked to retire early from Broadmoor, Dr Loucas has worked at Horton Hospital in Surrey, an NHS psychiatric hospital, and is working part-time at Wormwood Scrubs jail in west London.

Mr Blunkett said Dr Loucas should be suspended from his present post until the inquiry was completed. The protection given to Dr Loucas by Broadmoor's management and Department of Health officials and ministers, particularly Lord Skelmersdale, a former junior health minister, should be investigated, he said. The Independent has discovered that Dr Loucas was reported to the Department of Health and Social Security for giving patients in Broadmoor electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) without anaesthetic or muscle relaxant.

This report was made in 1979, six years before the Mental Health Act Commission - the watchdog body set up to oversee the working of the 1983 Mental Health Act - first started complaining to the Department of Health and Social Security about Dr Loucas, who did not retire from Broadmoor until 1989. He sometimes failed to seek patients' consent for treatment when the Act stipulated that he should have.

Mr Blunkett said: 'Following on from the exposes of the mistreatment of psychiatric patients at Ashworth and Rampton hospitals, these latest revelations are extremely disturbing.'

He said it was scandalous that Dr Loucas, 65, had survived so long at Broadmoor without investigation and is still employed within a government service, 'when serious doubts about his activities were well known to senior civil servants and government ministers for several years'.

Colm Byrne, a student nurse who witnessed Dr Loucas giving ECT without anaesthetic or muscle relaxant at Broadmoor in 1979, will describe what he saw on tonight's programme. It will also document the unpleasant withdrawal effects suffered by one of Dr Loucas's patients when Dr Loucas abruptly withdrew his medication, and the stories of patients who grew breasts after he gave them hormone treatments to curb their sexual urges.

ECT involves placing electrodes on the patient's temples and delivering an electric shock through the brain. It is normally given to seriously depressed people for whom no other treatment is effective. Each year, about 130,000 people have ECT. The electric shock causes muscles throughout the body to go into spasm. To prevent this, it has been usual since about 1960 to give patients a muscle relaxant before ECT. A general anaesthetic is also normally given so that the patient is unconscious during the convulsion and knows nothing of it.

Without muscle relaxant, the muscles can contract so strongly that the patient suffers crush fractures of the spine, dislocated hip and shoulder joints and other fractures. ECT given without muscle relaxant or anaesthetic is known as 'unmodified ECT'.

Tim Yeo, a junior health minister, said yesterday: 'We are confident that present arrangements allow for doubts about the performance of an individual clinician to be examined thoroughly. Nevertheless, when we have seen the programme, if we feel it necessary to look at our procedures again, we shall do so.'

Dr Loucas has refused to comment.

(Photograph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions