Medical Council finds Dr Woods guilty of professional misconduct


Dr Moira Woods, who pioneered the treatment of child sex abuse in Ireland, has been found guilty of professional misconduct by the Medical Council.

She has been censured and conditions attached to her continued registration as a medical practitioner. The Medical Council will seek a confirmation of this decision in the High Court in 21 days.

In a statement Dr Woods said she was disappointed at the findings, and her work was motivated by the best interests of the children at all times. She added she was considering her position. She can appeal the decision to the High Court.

The Medical Council's decision followed an all-day meeting yesterday, which discussed a report from its Fitness to Practice committee. This followed an investigation of allegations from five families, first made almost 10 years ago, that they had been falsely accused in the 1980s of child sex abuse by Dr Woods, who was then director of the Sexual Assault Treatment Unit in the Rotunda Hospital. The committee's report was completed last December, and placed before the full council yesterday. It found Dr Woods guilty of professional misconduct in respect of 13 of a total of 55 allegations, relating to five children from three families. Allegations relating to six other children were found not to have been proved.

In its report the Fitness to Practice committee recommended that Dr Woods be censured, and that conditions be attached to her continuing to practise. These were that she undergo retraining recognised by the council, and only practise in the child abuse area in future as part of a multi-disciplinary team.

The Medical Council did not say if it would publish the report of the Fitness to Practice committee. It said each family involved in the inquiry would receive, within the coming weeks, an individualised report dealing with the section of the inquiry relating to its complaint.

In a statement issued on her behalf Dr Woods said she was disappointed by the findings, and added: "The Sexual Assault Treatment Unit at the Rotunda Hospital, founded in 1985 and of which Dr Woods was the first director, was a pioneering facility in the diagnosis and understanding of sexual abuse. Dr Woods is proud of her work at the unit and the positive role it played in the development of such services."