UK psychiatrist Anthony Baker's sordid past spurs call for overhaul of child protection system
April 3, 2012
A TOP psychiatrist hired to assess teenagers was once suspended for forcibly kissing a vulnerable young patient.
The man is still practising but this revelation by the Sunday Express has led to calls for an overhaul of the child protection system.
MP John Hemming said councils and courts were “playing fast and loose with the lives of vulnerable young children” and demanded more rigorous checks on the background of the experts they commissioned.
Dr Anthony Baker, 64, is currently used by several large local authorities, including Kent County Council, to assess children in their care. He also assesses the mental condition of their parents as part of care proceedings. He was visiting professor at Kingston University in Surrey between February 2010 and February 2011.
However, Dr Baker has appeared twice before the General Medical Council’s fitness to practise panel, accused of inappropriate behaviour towards young women patients.
He was cleared in 1998 when the burden of proof was “beyond reasonable doubt” but found guilty of an incident 10 years later after the GMC had moved to a “balance of probabilities” threshold.
There is no suggestion he has acted inappropriately since.
The 2008 hearing concerned “an extremely vulnerable and young patient” who was in his care between 2004 and 2006.
The minutes of the GMC hearing state: “You do not dispute that at the end of this consultation, shortly before Christmas 2005, you held Patient A’s head in your hands and ‘went to kiss’ Patient A. You have admitted that you ended up kissing Patient A on the face.
“You told the panel that you had intended to kiss her forehead. The panel has noted the inconsistencies in your letter of explanation to the GMC and it is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that Patient A’s recollection is more likely to be credible and accurate.
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“She told the panel she had been drinking prior to the consultation and that when you went to kiss her she moved her face away from you as she did not want you to smell the alcohol on her breath.
“The panel accepts Patient A’s evidence that she did not tilt her head upwards towards you, as you have stated. For these reasons, the panel has found that you tried to kiss Patient A on the lips.
“The panel is clear that trying to kiss a young, vulnerable patient on the lips is clearly inappropriate, not in her best interests and below the standards expected of a consultant psychiatrist.”
Dr Baker now runs the Ashwood Practice in Woking, Surrey, where he assesses children in foster care and provides expert witness advice to family courts. His practice has a contract with Kent County Council and was also paid several thousands of pounds by West Sussex County Council and West Berkshire Council last year.
He has declined to comment.
Source: Ted Jeory, "Sordid past of council's child care psychiatrist," Sunday Express, March 25,2012.
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