A controversial Midlands doctor is to be investigated following claims by a Birmingham MP that he kept secret case files on children.
The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has ordered an inquiry into consultant paediatrician Professor David Southall, who works for University Hospital of North Staffordshire. It follows demands from John Hemming (Lib Dem Yardley) for the hospital trust to release case files for thousands of children.
Prof Southall was a prosecution witness in a number of cases in which parents were prosecuted. But Lord Goldsmith said there were concerns that proper disclosure of medical records may not have been made.
Doctors engaged as prosecution witnesses are obliged to reveal all their material to defence lawyers, including an index of any unused material. The review will go back more than ten years and will examine all 4,450 "special" files created by Prof Southall.
However, it will only look at cases where Prof Southall was a witness in criminal proceedings.
Last night Mr Hemming said the inquiry should go further and examine family court cases as well. Prof Southall was found guilty of serious professional misconduct in 2004 after accusing solicitor Sally Clark’s husband, Steve, of murdering two of their sons on the basis of watching a TV programme.
He is also the subject of a current General Medical Council hearing, after he was accused of 18 charges of tampering with medical records, keeping secret medical files and abusing his position in relation to four children.
He denies serious professional misconduct. The hearing has been adjourned until November.