Inquiry into psychiatrist sought

THE Department of Health is asking the General Medical Council, the body which regulates doctors' fitness to practise, to examine allegations that a Broadmoor psychiatrist breached mental health legislation, writes Sharon Kingman.

The psychiatrist, Dr Kypros Loucas, is said to have failed to seek patients' consent for treatment in accordance with the Mental Health Act 1983 and to have used electroconvulsive therapy without anaesthetic or muscle relaxant.

Dr Loucas took early retirement from Broadmoor in Berkshire in December 1989, but has since worked at Horton Hospital in Epsom, Surrey, a National Health Service psychiatric unit managed by Riverside Health Authority.

He now works at Wormwood Scrubs prison, west London.

Referring to Dr Loucas's retirement, Virginia Bottomley, Secretary of State for Health, said yesterday that the department had already taken action on the issue of patients' consent to treatment. She is asking for a report from Riverside Health Authority.

Judi Clements, director of Mind, the mental health charity, has written to Mrs Bottomley suggesting that failure to comply with some parts of the Mental Health Act, such as treating someone without their lawful consent, should become a criminal offence.