Psychiatrist Keith Broadbent, suspended for sex with patient, suspected of additional affairs with patients (no kidding...)
November 27, 2011
Three of the women, described as vulnerable, have since died and inquests held into their deaths last year returned open verdicts.
Keith Broadbent, 60, developed a pioneering NHS therapy service helping women with severe emotional problems.
But he was struck off the register in March after being found guilty of having a sexual relationship with one of his patients, which began about six months after he became her therapist.
A panel hearing in his absence found him guilty of regularly giving her money, buying her expensive gifts, including a laptop, before she moved into his north London home.
The panel also heard evidence that he had given "financial assistance" to other patients.
It is feared that he may have had affairs with other women patients as the NHS trust that employed him has not investigated all those he treated at the clinic.
Mr Broadbent was dismissed by Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust for gross professional misconduct in February last year – a month after the woman told a community psychiatric nurse about the relationship.
After he was suspended by the Health Professions Council, he was arrested by police following an allegation that he had harassed the woman with hundreds of texts and phone messages after their affair ended.
Mr Broadbent, who worked for 25 years at the Oscar Hill Clinic, Highgate, north London, denied harassment. After his suspension he admitted that he had a relationship with another patient, but refused to go into details.
The Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust has handed detectives files on seven of his women patients. All were diagnosed with serious emotional problems.
One of the women, Cynthia Lewis, 24, was found dead last December in bed at her flat in Kentish Town.
She had been there for a week and it was not possible to establish a cause of death due to decomposition.
The inquest was told Miss Lewis – who had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and post traumatic stress disorder – had a history of self-harm and suicide attempts. She had been due for an appointment at the clinic when she was found dead.
A sexual relationship between Mr Broadbent and ''patient A'', a 30-year-old woman, started after she told him she had developed feelings for him in an email.
He replied that he "felt the same way" and said he wanted to "kiss and hold her".
The panel heard how the relationship quickly developed and the two would "kiss and cuddle, and talk about dinner", during one-to-one therapy sessions. But within months the woman was struggling with the "lies and secrecy". She felt that "the relationship was wrong and that Mr Broadbent had violated her trust", the hearing was told.
After telling him she had disclosed the relationship to her nurse, the patient claimed in a statement that Mr Broadbent said: "I will be crucified."
She then had to be admitted to a crisis centre for special treatment and was said to be utterly distraught over what Broadbent had done.
Broadbent used a form of treatment called dialectical behaviour therapy on the majority of his patients.
It is used for vulnerable people with complex emotional and behavioural problems such as recurrent suicide attempts, self-harm, binge eating, paranoid thoughts and drug abuse, who do not respond to conventional treatment.
Patients treated in the three-year programme are often highly traumatised and many have suffered childhood abuse and neglect.
A spokesman for Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust said it has been "fully involved with police from the outset".
Wendy Wallace, the chief executive of the trust, said the consultant had "gone to great lengths to hide his behaviour".
The trust referred the consultant to the Health Professions Council after the patient made her allegations.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Camden police is investigating possible offences committed while patients were in the care of a man in his 60s, a former medical professional.
"We continue to liaise with Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust over the allegations."
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