Demo as doctor fights for career

April 25, 2005

Demo as doctor fights for career By Dave Black, The Journal A group which campaigns for carers and teachers who have been falsely accused of child abuse will today stage a demonstration as a North-East doctor faces a hearing which could end her career.Dr Camille San Lazaro goes before the General Medical Council (GMC) for a fitness-to-practice hearing which could lead to her being struck off the medical register.The consultant paediatrician examined alleged victims for the discredited Abuse in Early Years report published by Newcastle City Council in 1998, which wrongly claimed two nursery nurses were responsible for abuse of youngsters in their care.The two nurses – Dawn Reed and Christopher Lillie – won damages of £200,000 each from Newcastle City Council after High Court judge Mr Justice Eady declared them innocent of all charges and condemned the report during a six-month libel trial.Now Dr San Lazaro’s own career as consultant paediatrician at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and senior lecturer in paediatric forensic medicine at Newcastle University is on the line at the GMC hearing in Manchester.Campaign and support group Fact – Falsely Accused Carers and Teachers – will demonstrate outside the hearing to voice concern about the work of health professionals such as Dr San Lazaro.Fact was set up in Liverpool six years ago in response to Operation Care, a Merseyside Police investigation into alleged sex abuse in North-West children’s homes.Child-abuse charges brought against former Wolves football club manager Dave Jones as a result of the investigation were later dropped. Fact spokeswoman Gail Saunders said: “We have serious concerns about the lack of objectivity which child- protection professionals often employ in relation to child-abuse allegations.”Fact recognises this hearing as part of a succession of high-profile cases involving the GMC’s fitness-to-practice panel where the conduct of highly influential paediatricians, notably David Southall and Sir Roy Meadow, is being called into question.”It is our contention that child-protection work has been unduly influenced by a small number of professionals, including Dr San Lazaro, whose approach to the diagnosis of child abuse lacks objectivity and competence.”As a result, large numbers of devastating injustices have occurred in both criminal and family courts in relation to allegations of child abuse.”Our demonstration at the hearing will be on behalf of everyone else who has come up against Dr San Lazaro and her work.” Dr San Lazaro remained employed by Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust and the university after an independent review commissioned by her employers, but that decision could be overruled by the GMC.Today’s hearing will inquire into allegations that she provided a report to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board on allegations of sexual abuse at the Newcastle nursery which resulted in criminal charges being brought against the two workers.A GMC statement said: “It is also alleged that having been acquitted on all charges, the two workers brought libel proceedings against Newcastle City Council and a review team, during which Dr San Lazaro gave evidence on oath and agreed that the report contained various deficiencies, inaccuracies and inconsistencies.” The hearing continues until May 12….

Newcastle Journal

 

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