Acccording a Press Release on PRLEAP MP’s have requested information. The release states:-
Have you or a member of your family been accused of MSBP/FII? Do you know of someone who has? Have you been threatened with an accusation of MSbP / FII?
If so, a cross-party group of Members of Parliament needs your help.
According to a 104-page report forwarded to the DfES Minister Beverley Hughes, innocent parents are being falsely accused of abusing their children and threatened with having them taken into care. The report highlighted a number of harrowing cases in which parents seeking help have been falsely accused of ‘Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy’ or ‘Fabricated or Induced Illness’ (MSbP/FII). These supposed conditions apparently involve people fabricating illnesses in their children in order to gain attention.
The next stage of this parliamentary initiative is to obtain figures and indications from non-government agencies and others on the number of cases of supposed MSBP/FII cases in the UK. It may be that large numbers of parents are being put through the misery of a wrongful suspicion of a clinically-unproven MSbP diagnosis.
MSbP-type cases can include instances where parents of children with genuine medical conditions are suspected of ‘causing’ their children’s problems. This can mean that real medical problems are dismissed as imaginary, exaggerated, ‘behavioural’ or the result of poor parenting skills.
The cross-party group of MPs (the MSBP/FII Group) includes members from all three parliamentary parties. It seeks the review or withdrawal of the official government guidelines issued nationwide to social workers, police and teachers. These DfES guidelines disregard reputable professional opinion. They contain no acknowledgement that MSBP/FII has been the subject of immense dispute both in the medical and social work professions. The MPs are concerned by huge geographical variations in the number of families being placed under investigation by social workers. In 2003, 264,000 parents faced “initial assessments” by social workers. The cross-party group will be making representations over the MSBP/FII issue at ministerial level.
MSBP first came to prominence as the theory of Professor Roy Meadow, a paediatrician who was struck off the Medical Register last year and later reinstated by the High Court after extensive public criticism of his work. The General Medical Council (GMC) is appealing against this decision that experts in general cannot be disciplined by regulators over courtroom evidence. Meadow gave misleading statistical evidence at the trial of Sally Clark, who served nearly four years in prison before her convictions for murdering her two young sons were quashed in 2003. Meadow’s theory that some cot deaths were actually murder was discredited.
Members of the cross-party group conducting this investigation include Earl Howe, a shadow health minister; Jon Cruddas, the Labour MP for Dagenham; John Hemming, LibDem; Nick Gibb, MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton; and Tim Boswell, the Tory member for Daventry.
Damian Green, a Tory frontbench spokesman and member of the group said: “You have the possibility of huge injustices arising through the inflexibility of these guidelines which are based on questionable theories.” He believes that the guidelines are promoting overzealous attempts to find MSBP.
The Cross Party Group research team is particularly interested in hearing from local groups, or agencies, or individuals, who act as ‘collection points’ for individual MSbP-type cases or who know of more than one case. So far a score of groups and other authorities with first-hand experience of this area have provided information. If you or a member of your family has been falsely accused of MSBP/FII, or if you know someone who has, please contact the One Click Group or telephone 020 8748 1081