Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Closed hearing for accused doctor

A Belfast psychiatrist is alleged to have taken, or attempted to have taken, financial advantage of a patient on a number of occasions

A fitness-to-practise hearing for a doctor accused of improper financial dealings will be held behind closed doors.

Belfast psychiatrist Dr Paul Miller, a former health adviser to ex-Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Iris Robinson, is alleged to have taken, or attempted to have taken, financial advantage of a patient on a number of occasions between 2004 and 2010.

The General Medical Council, which brought the case against Dr Miller, successfully applied for the entire hearing in Manchester to proceed in private.

The case before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) had been in legal argument since it first started on April 8.

In a statement the MPTS said a public minute of the hearing would be published at the conclusion of the hearing, which is scheduled to last until May 3.

The MPTS said: "All fitness-to-practise hearings are held in public, except in circumstances where the panel consider that the particular circumstances of the case outweigh the public interest in holding the hearing in public."

Dr Miller also faces allegations that he failed to maintain professional boundaries with the unnamed patient and also provided substandard care to the same patient.

He is currently subject to a string of conditions imposed on his registration in January 2012 following a complaint to the GMC over claims he could convert gay people to heterosexuality.

An undercover journalist posed as a patient and then passed on his findings to the GMC which is understood to be still investigating the matter.

In a 2008 interview broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster, Mrs Robinson - who has sparked controversy over her comments on homosexuality - referred to Dr Miller as "a very lovely psychiatrist" who worked in her then health office and through his Christian faith "tries to help homosexuals turn away from what they are engaged in".

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