Child Expert Answers Allegations

A paediatrician facing accusations of acting inappropriately and causing distress to a bereaved person has begun answering the allegations. Professor David Southall is appearing before a General Medical Council Fitness to Practise panel. The doctor worked at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London before moving to the North Staffordshire Hospital. He was cleared of one charge of serious professional misconduct regarding the privacy of a woman known as Mrs D.

The panel heard there was ‘insufficient evidence’. Earlier in the hearing the panel heard a mother, Mrs H, claiming Professor Southall had created or was creating a file called ‘SC’ which contained original hospital records on her son, who was referred to Professor Southall at the Brompton Hospital. Mrs H had spent several years trying to find the information on the file.

On Friday, Professor Southall explained the purpose of creating special case files saying patients could be “dangerously unwell” and develop difficulties. “We needed a system to find out quickly what was going on with the child,” he said.

In 2004, Professor Southall was found guilty of serious professional misconduct after accusing solicitor Sally Clarke’s husband Steve of murdering his sons, on the basis of a television programme.

The hearing continues.