Dr Mohammed Shaffiullha is an Independent Expert who offers psychiatric assessments and advice to Carter Brown on a case-by-case basis.
What is your role at Carter Brown and how long have you been part of the team of Independent Experts?
Mohammed shared: “I’m an Independent Expert Witness in the field of general psychiatry and I have been with Carter Brown since 2020.
I work with individuals from the age of 18 years and their families, providing advice and recommendations on various psychiatric-related issues and conditions, which are conducted both remotely and face-to-face.”
What made you choose Carter Brown?
“I was initially introduced to Carter Brown by my mentor, Dr Jaffer Qureshi, and after conducting my own research I found out that Carter Brown is the UK’s leading independent provider of psychologists, psychiatrists, and other experts in various specialities, which is something that really appealed to me. I have also got to meet with other independent experts whilst working at Carter Brown which has been great.
I think the main reason for choosing Carter Brown is because of the company’s reputation, the training offered to experts and most importantly, the team, who are highly efficient.“
Could you provide us with a broader definition of the types of assessments/categories of assessments that you complete?
Mohammed said: “As a psychiatrist, I conduct a range of assessment categories in various specialities. These include but are not limited to:
- General adult
- Learning disability
- Child adolescent
- Forensic neuropsychiatry
- Substance misuse
- Personal injury
- Family law cases
- Criminal injury
- Domestic abuse
- Occupational health
- Fitness to plead
- Fitness to stand trial
- Extradition cases
- Capacity and deprivation of liberty assessments
- Employment cases
“My role also consists of conducting psychiatric assessments on patients suffering from acquired brain injuries, neurological diseases, dementia, and other mental health difficulties, who may put themselves or others at risk of harm. In addition to this, I also see clients in prison, solicitor’s offices, and business meeting rooms, mainly in Birmingham and in other parts of the UK.”
What is the main driver in your line of work?
My main driver is to assist the court in reaching the best outcomes for vulnerable individuals using my independent expert opinions. I also help the legal team understand the complex information and provide a sense of clinical objectivity to assist the court in reaching its final decision. I believe my advice and recommendations can help keep families together by doing what’s best for each individual.
Finally, protecting children in the context of family proceedings and supporting vulnerable patients who might benefit from hospital admissions or may need support in the prison system is a big driver for me professionally.
What is the most challenging aspect of being an Independent Expert?
I believe the most challenging aspect of the role is when the independent expert’s conclusions contradict the client’s case or another expert’s opinion. It is also challenging to maintain the ability to recognise bias, both conscious and unconscious, which can influence an expert’s opinion. The challenge is to master the skill of overcoming these biases, which is integral to upholding an expert’s credibility.
Could you give us a few examples of positive outcomes from cases you’ve been involved in within Carter Brown?
Generally, I give advice and recommendations according to what I believe is right for that individual. I have been involved in cases where I believe the parents should have been given more time to develop their parenting skills before the children were taken away by the authorities and made appropriate recommendations to support the parents in those specific cases.
There have also been situations where patients have been imprisoned for a crime committed as a result of a mental illness, and I have made recommendations to transfer patients to a psychiatric hospital for treatment in response to that.
I have also diagnosed mental health conditions, which were not previously diagnosed in individuals who were unaware of what they were suffering from, so in my field, I have seen a range of many positive outcomes.
Do you have any advice that you would share with other independent expert colleagues that want to join the Carter Brown service?
I genuinely believe that Carter Brown looks after its experts by getting involved in the growth and development of each and every one. They are professional and dynamic.
One of the best parts of the role is the proofreading service of the reports and asking for clarifications. As experts we sometimes overlook smaller details which can be crucial for report purposes, even a letter can completely make a difference in the opinion so this has been extremely helpful.
I’m exceptionally thankful for the team who have been brilliant and responded to emails straight away. I have referred my friends to Carter Brown because I have nothing but positive things to say!
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