The former Radio 4 presenter admitted plagiarising four articles for his 2003 book “From the Edge Of The Couch”. But he denied that his actions were dishonest and were liable to bring his profession into disrepute. Dr Persaud also admitted passing off other researchers’ work as his own in articles published in journals and national newspapers.
Jeremy Donne QC, GMC counsel, accused Dr Persaud of enhancing his own reputation at the expense of the hard work and scholarship of other people. “The articles, we say, speak for themselves and they all demonstrate the extent Dr Persaud has appropriated the work of others as his own.”
Three years ago an article was withdrawn from Progress in Neurology and Psychiatry after US professor Thomas Blass claimed that “over 50% was my work”. At the time, Dr Persaud apologised for the error and told the Guardian newspaper that it had been a cutting and pasting error which meant some references had been omitted.
A second article was retracted by the British Medical Journal “owing to unattributed use of text from other published sources”. As a result of the allegations Dr Persaud withdrew from an honorary position as director of the now defunct Centre for Public Engagement in Mental Health Sciences at the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London.
A King’s College inquiry found that allegations of plagiarism against Dr Persaud “had some substance”, but decided no further action was required.
Speaking at the GMC hearing on Monday, Mr Donne revealed that Dr Persaud asked for and received permission to quote an article by a Professor Bentall for his book. He said: “Professor Bentall gave his permission assuming that Dr Persaud would know that quotations would have appeared in parenthesis and be properly attributed.
“Having seen the passage Professor Bentall was astonished that a substantial portion of his paper had simply been copied into the book in what he believes was a deliberate act of plagiarism.”
Dr Persaud remains employed as a consultant psychiatrist for the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust. The GMC “fitness to practise panel” has the power to strike a doctor off the register.