Dr. Oludare Askeun, Consultant Psychiatrist and Independent Expert Witness at Carter Brown, part of Antser, recently sat down with us to share the experiences that have motivated him to support better outcomes at Carter Brown over the last year.
What is your role at Carter Brown and how long have you been part of the Carter Brown team of Independent Experts?
“I am a consultant psychiatrist and I act as an Independent Expert with Carter Brown. I have been doing this for around four years, so I think it was in March 2018 that I first joined the team” – said Oludare.
What made you choose Carter Brown?
Oludare said: “I was referred to Carter Brown by one of my colleagues. When I was working as an in-patient consultant psychiatrist in CAMHS psychiatric in-patient unit, they became aware that I had an interest in medico-legal and forensic work, and they put me forward to Carter Brown.“
Could you provide us with a broader definition of the types of assessments/categories of assessments that you complete?
“I have provided a wide range of assessments from forensic work to family court and court of protection work, which involved a few criminal cases reviewing people in prisons and supporting them.
I predominantly work with families, helping children and adults who may be presented in a certain manner or parents who may not have the capacity to bring their children up properly.
I also do court and protection work so I have done some capacity assessments which meant providing support to the court to see whether people have the capacity to litigate and providing second opinions for tier1 mental health tribunals.”
What is the main driver in your line of work? (i.e. protecting children, keeping families together).
Oludare said: “The satisfaction of helping others. Being able to assess and treat individuals and witnessing, a few weeks down the line, the positive impact I have had on them and their families. ”
“For me, it is all about assisting the individual and the court to make sense of their situation. For children and their families, it is about keeping their family together but in cases where that is not possible, it is about assessing the impact of inappropriate parenting/risk of abuse on the child and when they need to be removed. “
What is the most challenging aspect of being an Independent Expert?
Oludare shared: “The impact of COVID-19 has caused another challenge, resulting in more video consultations and I have found many people don’t like this method of assessment.”
“In saying that, there are a lot of practical benefits of this.
Oludare added: “Firstly, you can get through a lot more cases over video call rather than spending time commuting to each client. As well, many people either don’t want to meet in person or struggle to make the commute for the meeting so I have managed to positively overcome this challenge.”
Could you give us a few examples of positive outcomes from cases you’ve been involved in (within Carter Brown)?
Oludare said: “During COVID-19, I remember in a court of protection case involving an elderly man who was placed on the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and I was asked by the solicitor to review the decision. The Local Authority renewed the DoLS by relying on the elderly man’s previous information. At this point, I thought the DoLS criteria were not met as I didn’t think he lacked the capacity to qualify for this decision. I then wrote my report which the LA solicitors didn’t agree with and contested. “
“I eventually was then asked to give my evidence in court, and I didn’t think much about it at the time but upon reflection and speaking to my consultant at Carter Brown, the feedback on the case was really positive. Having seen my report and relying on my evidence, the man was discharged off the DoLS. That was a really refreshing and a proud moment in my career with Carter Brown.“
*Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards or occasionally known as DoLS relate to vulnerable individuals who are aged 18 years and over who are either in hospital or care homes who lack mental capacity and where they may be deprived of their liberty. DoLS fill an important gap in legislation as it provides the authority to restrict or detain individuals, but only if it is in the best interest of their wellbeing.
Do you have any advice that you would share with other Independent Expert colleagues that want to join the Carter Brown service?
“If you are interested in medical legal work and you have spare time, go for it. What you find will happen is that you will be able to update your knowledge, acquire more information and it gives you confidence in your day-to-day clinical work. Just go for it!“
Explore our opportunities to join our team of Independent Expert Witnesses here.