Practitioner barred from hospital wards

A MENTAL health law practitioner is taking legal action after he was “effectively banned” by hospital administrators from seeing his clients.

Wigan lawyer Marshall Ronald, who claims his legal aid practice is “being shafted”, was barred from using his own dictation equipment by management at Ashworth Hospital.

Colin Dale, director of professional development at the psychiatric hospital, decided to limit Ronald's access to clients after patients alleged that he had used a “listening device” in the hospital and eavesdropped on their conversations.

But Ronald, who denies the allegations, said alternative equipment provided by the hospital was “not up to broadcast standard. I use state of the art technology. It is important when dealing with mentally ill patients that everything is carefully recorded”.

Ronald, who has over 150 clients at the hospital, is seeking counsel's advice from Professor Anthony Bradley with a view to a judicial review. He is also considering a separate action for restraint of trade. “My legal aid practice is being fundamentally shafted. My associates are allowed to see clients but I am effectively barred from the hospital. It is the theatre of the absurd,” he says.

A spokeswoman says the hospital is looking into the allegations.