A PSYCHIATRIST from Sheffield has been cleared of misconduct relating to the care of a teenage girl.
She harmed herself at school less than a week after being discharged from a specialist child care unit where she was being treated following previous suicide bids.
Dr Tony Livesey, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist, was accused of undermining the 14-year-old girl’s mental stability with his decision to remove her from the Oakwood Young People’s Centre at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield.
But the General Medical Council panel hearing decided there was insufficient evidence to prove the charges against him.
They found that although the discharge was ‘undoubtedly at short notice as far as her family was concerned’ – there was no culpability on his part.
They accepted the decision, which had the support of other medical staff at Oakwood, had to be taken because the relationship with the girl’s parents had broken down to such an extent her continued stay at the facility risked damaging the progress she had already made.
The panel said Dr Livesey’s evidence was ‘consistent and credible’ and rejected claims his behaviour was ‘rude, flippant and unprofessional’.
They also concluded there was no ‘direct link’ between a self-harming incident at school – when the teenager took an overdose of paracetamol – and the discharge from the centre less than a week before.
The panel said: “Patient A was exhibiting fairly obvious and typical behaviours of someone who self-harms before she was admitted to Oakwood.
“Therefore it was not unexpected that she might display the same behaviours following her discharge.”
A claim that the discharge was not consistent with the girl’s care plan was also rejected, since the panel said the nature of such plans is that they have to adapt quickly as the patient’s needs change.
The panel said: “Care plans need to change as events change in a patient’s care and need not be written or prescriptive documents.
“There is evidence that Patient A’s situation was evolving rapidly and that there was a risk of her mental health deteriorating if she remained at Oakwood due to the total relationship breakdown between the team and her family and the dissatisfaction with her care at that point.”