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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 June, 2004, 14:12 GMT 15:12 UK
Murder theory doctor resumes job
Professor David Southall
Professor Southall denied serious professional misconduct
A consultant from north Staffordshire, who the General Medical Council said abused his professional position, is set to return to work.

Professor David Southall was criticised for claiming a man murdered his sons after watching him on a TV programme.

A GMC panel ruled his actions were inappropriate and irresponsible and will decide in August whether he should be struck off.

Until then he will be allowed to continue to practice.

Professor David Southall accused Steve Clark of the murders on the basis of a TV documentary.

Mr Clark's wife, Sally, was convicted in 1999 of murdering her two sons Christopher and Harry.

But that conviction was quashed when new medical evidence showing the babies died of natural causes was accepted at a second appeal hearing in January 2003.

Leading expert

The paediatrician had defended his actions during the seven-day hearing and denied serious professional misconduct. He also said that he still believed Mr Clark may have killed his two sons.

Mr Clark, who lodged the complaint against the professor, told the GMC hearing last week that he had thought the allegations against him were a "sick joke".

The chairman of the GMC panel criticised Professor Southall at the hearing on Tuesday.

Professor Southall, based at North Staffordshire Hospital in Stoke, is one of Britain's leading experts on Munchausen's Syndrome By Proxy, a condition which apparently drives parents to harm their own children in order to win attention.

The hospital says Professor Southall will be back in work next week as a consultant paediatrician.

He will be allowed to practice until the GMC decides in August whether the accusations he made against Stephen Clarke add up to serious professional misconduct and should be punished.

However they say he will not be doing any child protection work in the meantime.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Vicky Young
"Professor Southall could be reprimanded or struck off"



SEE ALSO:
GMC rules against paediatrician
15 Jun 04  |  Health
Clark doctor 'made quantum leap'
14 Jun 04  |  Health


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