Has A Doctor Been Suspended For Being Too Thorough?
In an article in the Daily Mail on Friday, 21st January 2000, it was reported that a child psychiatrist, Dr. David Foreman, had been suspended over fears he wrongly prescribed Ritalin to 150 children. They had been diagnosed as suffering from ADHD at the Abbey Hulton Clinic in Stoke-On-Trent and were having their cases reviewed.
The article provoked many calls from distraught parents to Support Groups up and down the Country.
We decided to investigate this disturbing story further. What we discovered was that far from casually handing out Ritalin to children who showed signs of hyperactivity, the clinic, with Dr. Foreman in charge, carried out one of the most thorough and comprehensive diagnostic procedures, we have ever come across.
Not only were several recognised rating lists completed for each child referred to the clinic but behaviour was very carefully monitored in appointments and if necessary several sessions of play therapy. All agencies involved with the child were also called upon to provide information and input. All this was carried out prior to reaching a decision regarding a diagnosis, which was done in a group session with the Consultant. The diagnostic procedure was also the subject of a very detailed study, which has been validated amongst others by Manchester University. Click here to download a copy of that study in Microsoft Word format (66Kb zipped).
The clinic not only carried out this stringent diagnostic procedure but in addition provided much needed back up to the families of diagnosed children. An in house Support Group was set up and other agencies were actively involved in all aspects of supporting the families.
This kind of support in the UK is not the norm, with many sufferers receiving a diagnosis, being just left to "get on with it".
Bearing in mind the clinic's procedures had been so highly endorsed, the only conclusion would appear to be that Dr. Foreman and his team were guilty of nothing more than being too thorough i.e. costing too much money.
If this transpires to be the case then it has very wide and serious implications for the whole of the Health Service. Are Doctors going to be forced into providing only a superficial service to save money, fearing their positions if they investigate cases too deeply?
Simon Hensby for adders.org
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