A major inquiry into the case of two psychiatrists who indecently
assaulted female patients has criticised mental health authorities
for failing to “consistently or comprehensively” record the
prevalence of abusive behaviour among staff.
The inquiry’s report this week recommended that patients should
have a “clear and well-publicised” point of contact if they wanted
to raise a concern or make a complaint about a mental health or
social care worker.
And it said the NHS should set up an expert group “to consider what
boundaries need to be set between patients and mental health staff
who have been in long-term therapeutic relationships”.
It said a code of ethics for social care and mental health staff
detailing what is and what is not acceptable would be a “valuable
and useful tool for the profession”.
Michael Haslam was convicted on four counts of indecent assault in
2003 and William Kerr on one count of indecent assault in
The report said health professionals had “ignored warning bells”
about the abuse of female patients in the Clifton Hospital in
Former patients made 67 disclosures about Kerr’s behaviour to NHS
staff, but not one prompted an investigation.
The first was made in 1965, the year Kerr joined the hospital. Kerr
had left a job in Northern Ireland the year before over allegations
of inappropriate sexual conduct. At least 10 allegations were made