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‘I don’t trust anybody anymore’ - mother discovers fake psychiatrist treated 14-year-old autistic son

PUBLISHED: 16:59 27 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:00 27 November 2018

Adam Forwood from Lowestoft was treated by bogus psychiatrist Zholia Alemi. Adam and his mother Maria. Photo: Maria Forwood.

Adam Forwood from Lowestoft was treated by bogus psychiatrist Zholia Alemi. Adam and his mother Maria. Photo: Maria Forwood.

Archant

A distressed mother felt “utterly sick” after discovering her 14-year-old autistic son had been under the care of a fake psychiatrist.

Zholia Alemi worked as a psychiatrist for more than 20 years after faking her medical degree. Photo: Cumbria Police.Zholia Alemi worked as a psychiatrist for more than 20 years after faking her medical degree. Photo: Cumbria Police.

Maria Forwood, of Salisbury Road, Lowestoft, was told last week that her son Adam received treatment from Zholia Alemi in 2014.

Alemi practised psychiatry for 22 years with no qualifications after moving to the UK in the 1990s and claiming to have a medical degree from the University of Auckland.

She served as a locum consultant psychiatrist for the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) between April 2014 and July 2015.

Her phony career was only revealed after she was jailed for five years for forging a dementia patient’s will in order to steal her £1.3m estate.

During her time with the NSFT she worked with adults and children with learning difficulties at Lothingland Hospital, Oulton.

Adam Forwood was just 14 when he was treated by the bogus psychiatrist during a 10-week stay at the centre to curb behavioural problems.

Miss Forwood explained her son, who is now 19, is severely autistic, non-verbal and has learning difficulties.

She said: “Since I’ve been told, I don’t trust anybody anymore. If a woman like that can go 22 years fooling everybody, you don’t know who you are handing your child over to.”

Before the news broke, Mrs Forwood was in the process of moving her son into an assisted living space – however now she no longer trusts anyone else to care for her son.

She added: “I felt utterly sick. I was so reluctant to put him in there - I regret it now.

“I just want answers for everything. I want to hold someone responsible for this. If you can’t trust a consultant who your son is in the care of, who can you trust?”

Miss Forwood’s discovery comes after the family of autistic Lowestoft man Darren King, who drowned in his own bath, said it happened after Alemi refused to carry out necessary checks.

A spokesman for the General Medical Council said: “It is clear that in this case the steps taken in the 1990s were inadequate and we apologise for any risk arising to patients as a result.

“We are confident that, 23 years on, our systems are robust and would identify any fraudulent attempt to join the medical register.”

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