A psychologist has been suspended for preparing a botched report on a man charged with sexual offences and falsifying parts of her CV.
Dr Claire Evans-Williams, who practised in Tayside and Fife, carried out assessments on an individual facing serious criminal charges despite not being properly qualified to do so.
She failed to obtain papers relating to his medical history or the proceedings he was facing in court and relied solely on information provided by him and his family.
She went on to advise that the man, known only as Service User A (SUA), was at low-risk of re-offending, exposing the public “to a serious risk of harm”.
In a CV submitted as part of her reports on the man in July 2017, Dr Evans-Williams wrongly claimed she was a “consultant clinical psychologist” and said she had held senior positions at NHS Tayside which she had not.
Her case was referred to a disciplinary hearing of the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service (HCPTS).
The panel suspended Dr Evans-Williams for four months after finding her fitness to practise was impaired.
Dr Evans-Williams, 38, was employed as a clinical psychologist with NHS Tayside but left after 15 months.
She went on to found a private practice in St Andrews called the Autism Academy, which provided diagnostic and therapeutic services to autistic adults.
The tribunal heard she was contacted by the father of a university student who had been charged with multiple offences of a sexual nature.
He asked her to carry out a report on his son to establish if he was on the autistic spectrum in the hope that it would avoid a criminal conviction.
Dr Harry Wood, a consultant clinical psychologist who was an expert witness in the case, said Dr Evans-Williams used her own risk assessment tool for the report, which would not be understood by fellow professionals, and called her findings “inappropriate and flawed”.
In a written decision, the HCPTS panel said: “The registrant acted outside her scope of practice in accepting instructions, carrying out a clinical forensic assessment (CFA) of SUA and completion of a clinical forensic assessment report (CFAR) in respect of Service User A.
“The panel noted the lack of skill, expertise and experience the registrant had in this area of clinical practice and determined that her conduct demonstrated a significant and serious falling short of the standards expected of a registrant.
“The panel noted the evidence that it was unsafe to rely solely on information from SUA and his family alone, in circumstances where the purpose of the report was to avoid criminal proceedings.
“It was hoped by the family that the criminal proceedings would be referred on to a diversionary disposal of the case that would avoid Service User A receiving a conviction.
“The panel considered it was extremely concerning and serious that the registrant had not utilised an appropriate risk assessment tool.
“The registrant had effectively invented her own tool without reference to anyone. This meant that the assessment of Service User A as at low risk of re-offending, an assessment to be relied in the judicial process, was not properly measured.
“This had the potential to expose both the public and Service User A to risk with serious consequences. The panel determined this conduct was very serious and amounted to misconduct.”
Dr Evans-Williams stated on her CV that between August 2016 and March 2017 she had been the lead clinical psychologist within Forfar Community Mental Health Service – a position that did not exist. She also falsely stated she had been the personal development coordinator for NHS Tayside’s psychological services division.
The panel also found she was not entitled to call herself a “consultant clinical psychologist” given her limited experience.
An NHS Tayside spokesman said: “Dr Evans-Williams has not been employed by NHS Tayside since March 2017.”
Help support quality local journalism … become a digital subscriber to The Courier
For as little as £5.99 a month you can access all of our content, including Premium articles.