§ Mr. Blunkett
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what plans she has to investigate allegations of professional misconduct by Dr. Kypros Loucas while he was working at Horton hospital in Epson, Surrey, and the circumstances in which he was appointed to the post; and if she will make a statement;
(2) what plans she has to review the powers available to the Mental Health Act Commission; and if she will make a statement;
(3) when her Department first became aware of the Mental Health Act Commission's concerns over possible breaches of the Mental Health Act 1983 by Dr. Kypros 776W Loucas while he was employed at Broadmoor hospital; what representations her Department received from the commission on Dr. Loucas's activities at Broadmoor hospital; and if she will make a statement;
§ Ms. Lynne
To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many past Secretaries of State were approached through their private offices about Dr. Kypros Loucas and his treatment of psychiatric patients;
(2) if she will now set up an independent inquiry into the activities of Dr. Kypros Loucas with a view to publishing a report;
(3) to how many internal Department of Health inquiries Dr. Kypros Loucas consultant psychiatrist has been subject;
(4) what action has been taken against Dr. Kypros Loucas following the Mental Health Act Commission's reports to her Department.
§ Mr. Yeo
The Mental Health Act Commission first expressed concern to the Department about compliance by Dr. Loucas with part IV of the Mental Health Act in 1985. This and subsequent reports by the commission were followed up by the Department with local management at Broadmoor hospital and with the local hospital board. Ministers were involved as necessary and the commission was kept fully informed of the action being taken, which concluded with Dr. Loucas's early retirement from Broadmoor in 1989. In that year the commission stated in its third biennial reportthe Department of Health has remedied the situation in a way which fully satisfied the Commission's insistent call for official action".
It is not clear that the reported events demonstrate an inadequacy in the Mental Health Act 1983 or in the powers of the Mental Health Act Commission, but we are ready to consider any proposals for changes in this area. We do not believe that a general inquiry into these matters would serve a useful purpose, but we are considering whether any steps need to be taken on particular issues raised.
The decision to employ Dr. Loucas at Horton hospital was taken by the Riverside health authority. We have received a copy from the authority of the report of its internal inquiry into the death of a patient at Horton in 1990 and we are considering urgently whether this calls for any further action.
Questions relating to the professional conduct and competence of doctors are for the General Medical Council to consider. We have drawn the council's attention to the allegations about Dr. Loucas and will do all that we can to assist any investigation that it may decide to undertake.