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Psychiatrist accused of dishonesty for prescribing drugs to a patient under a false name

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 19 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1036
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

    The psychiatrist brother of the United Kingdom’s shadow chancellor of the exchequer is facing charges of dishonesty at the General Medical Council for trying to obtain antipsychotic drugs for a cocaine addicted friend under a fictitious name.

    Adam Osborne, younger brother of George Osborne, who is expected to become chancellor if the Conservatives win the coming general election, is accused of misconduct that could see him struck off the medical register.

    The allegations came to light when the woman, a 21 year old prostitute named only as Miss B, arrived at Manchester Royal Infirmary’s emergency department in May 2008 after experiencing a psychotic episode. She said she had been given quetiapine, used to treat schizophrenia, by Dr Osborne.

    She refused to be admitted to a psychiatric ward and instead phoned Dr Osborne, then a senior house officer at Wythenshawe hospital in Manchester. She went there and he tried to get her haloperidol and lorazepam from the hospital pharmacy by using a false name, a GMC fitness to practise panel was told.

    Bernadette Baxter, counsel for the GMC, told the panel: “Miss B didn’t want her name on the drugs and would not give her name. Likewise, Dr Osborne didn’t want his name on the drugs so they resolved to make up a false name.”

    But the attempt failed because the fictitious name did not show up on hospital records. Dr Osborne then obtained the medicines for her at a pharmacy near his home using a private prescription.

    Sean Lennon, a clinical director at the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust, told the panel: “My concern was that a young person was apparently acutely unwell and that this was a mental disorder [and] that she had medicines which had been prescribed by Dr Osborne.

    “My concern was that he was managing the care of someone outside his competence and I had anxieties then about what the implications might be for the care of other patients.”

    Dr Osborne, 33, tendered his resignation from Wythenshawe Hospital and was later dismissed for gross misconduct. He was suspended from practice by an interim order of the GMC but in February 2009 he was allowed to resume practice with conditions.

    He is also accused of prescribing the contraceptive pill for his girlfriend and the anti-smoking drug Zyban for a member of his family, despite the rule of good medical practice that doctors should not prescribe for family or friends except in an emergency.

    Dr Osborne now works as a psychiatrist at the John Howard Centre, a mental health unit in Hackney, east London. He admits prescribing the drugs and failing to note that fact in the individuals’ medical records or to tell their GP. But he denies that his actions were misleading or dishonest, or that his current fitness to practise is impaired.

    The hearing continues.


    Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c1036

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