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Jail doctor advised to stay away

A PSYCHIATRIST who gave patients electric shock treatment without anaesthetic and who breached mental health legislation while employed at Broadmoor special hospital has been advised not to turn up for work at Wormwood Scrubs jail, writes Sharon Kingman.

The doctor, Kypros Loucas, has worked as a visiting psychiatrist at the prison since being asked to take early retirement from Broadmoor in December 1989. Last week, his career and practices were the subject of a Cutting Edge programme on Channel 4, which the Department of Health has referred to the General Medical Council. The council regulates doctors' fitness to practise and has the power to strike them off.

A spokesman for the Home Office said yesterday: 'Dr Loucas is not visiting the prison while the allegations contained in the Cutting Edge programme are being investigated by the GMC.'

Last week, Tim Yeo, Under- Secretary of State for Health, said the Department of Health would do all it could to assist any GMC investigation.

A GMC spokeswoman said the council was able to launch its own investigation, even in the absence of a specific complaint.

Cutting Edge, together with the Independent on Sunday and the Independent, alleged that Dr Loucas sometimes failed to seek patients' consent for treatment when the 1983 Mental Health Act said that he should. He also failed to seek second opinions on some patients' treatments when those patients refused or were unable to give their consent. Sometimes, instead of seeking a second opinion as required, he abruptly withdrew medication.

Twenty-Twenty Television, which made the programme, obtained statements from patients that they had been given electro- convulsive therapy without anaesthetic or relaxant, which can cause patients to break bones.