Well, in the last couple of weeks I attended a hearing for the GMC (General Medical Council) and gave evidence againgst a doctor whom I went to see as a teenager and was suffering from depression and self harming.
My GP had refered me to this consultant as he was 'a good friend' of his. I didn't much like my GP but I trusted him. My family knew I had self harmed but I was too embarrased to tell them I had been refered to a psychiatrist.
I went to the appointment alone in a clinic I had never visited before. I went into the room alone and Dr Andrew Clayton and I were alone throughout the appointment. Not once did he ask if I'd like a chaperone. He discussed why I had been refered to him and asked me if I was sexually active and how many times a week I had sex. Which I thought was odd.
Worse was to come. He then said that cancer could cause depression and he wanted to examine my breasts. I was horrified but I was young and too polite (??) to object so he examined my breasts. He never talked about treatment, councelling or anything else after the examination and said if I needed to come back to make an appointment or go and see my GP.
I got out of there as quickly as possible with no intention of ever going back. I wasn't about to tell my GP that his friend had examined me inappropriately. I decided if this was the way to treat a depressed teenager then I would have to face it alone and never asked for specialist help again.
I was put on antidepressants a year later after I could no longer cope with the symptoms but had been too scared to go to my GP in case he sent me to a specialist again. I never told anyone about what happened until years later.
In 14 years I struggled with the debilitating symptoms of depression and battled along myself as best I could, falling at the wayside occasionally and climbing the steep slopes out the pits I fell in. On my own, no help.
It wasn't until I was pregnant with my daughter that I had to go and see a psychiatrist. My GP (a different one) felt I was too ill to be treated under his care and got an urgent referal.
I was pleased to see it was a female doctor and I told her why I hadn't seen a specialist in all these years. She made a note of it and said I could report it if I wanted but it was up to me. I was desperately ill and heavily pregnant, I could barely get up in the morning I wasn't about to open that can of worms.
So I kept quiet. I hadn't the strength to fight it myself.
A few years later I got a letter from my psychiatrist asking if I would give evidence against Dr Clayton for a hearing of his employers, Southern Derbyshire Mental Health services, of which he was joint Medical Director from 1993-2006.
I and others gave our evidence against Dr Clayton, although I did not appear in front of the committee and he was suspended from the Trust in 2008, 5 years after I had told my psychiatrist of Dr Claytons misconduct toward me.
Dr Clayton was also found to have child pornographic images on his computer and sentenced to a community order with a supervision requirement for 3 years and a programme requirement(attendance on a sex offenders group work programme). He is on the sex offenders register for 5 years.
I thought that to be the end of it but then the GMC held a fitness to practice hearing of which I attended.
I also found out that the GMC held a hearing against the Trust Dr Clayton worked for to determine whether they could have done more to prevent Dr Clayton commiting these acts and protecting people. They were found not guilty and let off.
I reported him to a psychiatrist in 2003 and he wasn't suspended until 2008! They didn't do enough. I could have done more but I didn't know how to and thought I would be fighting this battle alone. My word against his and I didn't have the strength to do it.
I never once heard a good word said about Dr Clayton. The words 'pervert' 'nonce' and 'slimey' were only ever used. But that was just hearsay, albeit I agreed with the words I had no real evidence against him.
I heard yesterday he has been struck off the register. Yay!!! But he could still practice anywhere in the world and have access to children anywhere. It doesn't bare thinking about.
I suffered because of his actions on my own for 14 years until I was so ill I was nearly admitted to hospital. Maybe I wouldn't have gotten any better care with anyone else, maybe I would but I wasn't allowed the chance because I was too scared of the consequences. I have had to battle to get the treatment I was entitled to even after I was taken seriously by a lovely psychiatrist but that was at the hands of GP's.
It shouldn't have to be that way, for anyone.
If you think you won't be heard, shout louder. If someone abuses their position, report them. Don't do what I did and suffer in silence. It could cost you your life.