The Irish Times
Consultant psychiatrist suspended from job takes High Court proceedings
By Aodhan O’Faolain
July 23, 2018

Psychiatrist Peadar O’Grady

Psychiatrist Peadar O’Grady

A consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist suspended from his job for more than three years has brought High Court proceedings aimed at halting a “flawed” investigation and allowing him return to work.

Dr Peadar O’Grady, the court heard, rejects any claims against him of alleged serious professional misconduct over referral practices concerning patients to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMS) for Laois/Offaly.

Dr O’Grady, based in Portlaoise, says he is being scapegoated in respect of under resourcing of the services and claims, due to the severe restrictions, he prioritised the most severely ill or at-risk patients. He is subject of an investigation being undertaken by Acrux Consulting Limited on behalf of his employer, the HSE, which suspended him on full pay in May 2015.

The complaints against him arose from an ADHD initiative undertaken by the service which identified a number of cases where clinical reassessments were undertaken. Dr O’Grady’s diagnoses and assessments of those cases were severely criticised, resulting in an investigation process.

Dr O’Grady generally only accepted referrals in cases which were severe, complex and persistent, his counsel Oisin Quinn SC told the court on Monday.

Mr Quinn, instructed by solicitor Shane MacSweeney, said the investigators have prepared a preliminary report into the allegations. The investigation is flawed, has been conducted in breach of fair procedures and the preliminary report had made conclusions without any expert evidence to support the investigator’s findings, counsel said.

Second investigation
In addition, Dr O’Grady believes the three-person team that carried out the investigation was biased against him and he has concerns how the matter was commenced and moved forward. This is the second investigation to which Dr O’Grady has been subject since his suspension, counsel said.

The investigations concerned broadly the same matters and Dr O’Grady was “fully exonerated” following the first investigation, he said. No meaningful steps to advance the second investigation were taken until after his client was exonerated by the first investigation, he said. There are also interpersonal difficulties between Dr O’Grady and his superior who has made the complaints against him, counsel said.

The two doctors have different professional views about how readily children and adolescents with ADHD should be prescribed medication, he said.

The findings of misconduct against Dr O’Grady will be submitted to the HSE who will impose a sanction and Dr O’Grady fears for his employment, counsel said.

In his action against the HSE, Dr O’Grady seeks various orders including quashing the preliminary report of investigation, preventing the HSE proceeding with the investigation and injunctions lifting his suspension. He claims the preliminary report is null and void, was prepared in breach of fair procedures and his continued suspension is unlawful.

Permission to bring the action was granted, on an ex parte basis (one side only represented), by Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Monday and the matter was returned to November.


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Peadar O’Grady