Thursday, March 16, 2006

Psychiatrist Pervert in Ireland

The Sunday Times March 12, 2006
Banned doctor working in Dublin
Kate Butler and Dearbhail McDonald

A DISGRACED psychiatrist banned from working in Britain is now operating a part-time private practice from a Dublin hotel.
John Harding Price, 74, was struck off the medical register in Britain five years ago after three female patients made allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Unable to practise in Britain, he moved to Ireland and worked as a locum doctor in psychiatric hospitals in Clonmel and Kilkenny.

The doctor has been investigated by the Irish Medical Council, the regulatory body for doctors, following a complaint by an Irish patient. A teenager from the southeast — an anorexia sufferer who was sexually abused as a child — complained that she had been abused by the British doctor. The council held that Harding Price was fit to practise, allowing him to continue to treat patients in Ireland.

Last week The Sunday Times tracked him down to Dublin’s Portobello hotel where he was making arrangements to meet patients. “I come over when I’m asked to see somebody,” said Harding Price, who claimed he is being given referrals by Irish doctors. “I’m old enough now that I’m not going to sell up home and travel around setting up camp. My wife and I find Ireland civilised and pleasant.”

Harding Price’s arrangements have alarmed mental health campaigners. “People are appalled that he’s allowed come here having been struck off by the General Medical Council (GMC),” said John McGuinness, a Kilkenny TD. “Some families are quite disturbed that he’s back in Ireland. He is still in contact with them in a way that’s unacceptable to them — he’s quite sinister and mischievous in that way.”

The Irish Medical Council has been criticised for allowing Harding Price to practise in Ireland, but it says its hands are tied. Three years ago the Supreme Court ruled that doctors struck off in another country are free to practise in Ireland unless the council holds its own inquiry. The court ruled that the absence of oral testimony from complainants deprives a doctor of a fair hearing.

The GMC is allowed to use fitness-to-practise judgments in other countries to prevent a doctor from practising in Britain. The Irish Medical Council found Harding Price guilty of misconduct last year, but only for a breach of confidentiality.

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