It’s ironic that as I write this, I am sitting in a waiting room, waiting to see a member of the Health Professions Council (HPC) in a professional capacity. If he’s as on the ball as Stuart Jones, then I’m sure I’ll be in safe hands.
Jones, who you’ll know if you are reading this, was recently up before the beak at the HPC in a Fitness To Practice (FTP) disciplinary hearing, following a spat with a pill peddling Dr from North Wales.
Myhill had amended her website sufficient for it to be safe
Jones had complained to the GMC about the terrible medical advice which contravened all sorts of best practice guidelines and procedures on the DrMyhill website. The GMC launched a FTP investigation into Myhill, based on Jones’ complaint, and another complaint from a GP practice concerned about the way Myhill was prescribing for one of their patients. The story is a long one, but the GMC, during the course of their investigation, suspended Myhill, questioning her understanding of the seriousness of the complaints, obviously considering it unsafe to allow her to prescribe medicine, forced her to make huge changes to her website. Eventually The GMC, satisfied that Myhill had amended her website sufficient for it to be safe, allowed her to practise again.
Over the years, Myhill has been the subject of numerous complaints to the GMC about her suspect practice of medicine, has been the subject of numerous FTP hearings, and there are still a number of complaints pending at the GMC against her. I await developments on those.
Myhill’s medical career centres around the treatment of ME/CFS patients, seemingly based on a rather poor scientific paper published in an obscure internet only journal in 2009. That paper deserves a blog post all of its own, and I shall make no more comment about it today.
Myhill bragged that a patient had killed himself
Myhill appears to have created a huge dependency in her patients, who seem to believe she is a guru in the treatment of ME/CFS, something seriously discouraged by best medical practice. Indeed, in Jones’ FTP hearing, Myhill bragged that a patient had killed himself, believing that the GMC was going to prevent Myhill treating him. This isn’t something a Doctor should be bringing the attention of enquiring minds, and has yet to be confirmed.
The tactics employed by the Doctor when defending herself against complaints, both current and past, has been to ignore the issues raised by the complaint and instead mount a publicity campaign driven by patients telling everybody who will listen how wonderful she is. It has also been a standard tactic to bombard the GMC with support letters and petitions based on this cult of personality she encourages. Indeed, it is well known that death threats have been issued against prominent CFS/ME researchers who annoy the more vociferous activist victims. The frothing hate of Myhill supporters encouraged by Myhill was seen time and time again on the bad science forum, as they wrote of how cruel Jones was being to their saviour, and them. This despite the fact that time and again it was patiently explained that Jones’ complaint was nothing to do with ME/CFS, but about the dangerous advice that was being given on the Myhill website. Examples of this behaviour will be the subject of future posts. Some of the vitriolic abuse makes Jones’ comments on the bad science forum look like compliments!
Wisely, Jones had opted to be anonymous in complaining to the GMC, but as is now well known, the GMC failed rather badly in their duty to Jones to keep his identity secret, and Myhill and her patient cabal sought vengeance in a particularly spiteful way. Myhill and her supporters knew that Jones was complaining anonymously, and took advantage of the errors of the GMC. Nobody with a shred of decency would have behaved in this way, but time and again, extremist CFS/ME victims have demonstrated these rather spiteful traits.
‘Myhills Manic Minions’ press release
So what is the take home message from the HPC hearing on Jones behaviour? As Pat Endicott (one of “Myhills Manic Minions”) has last week prepared a rather crudely spun press release on behalf of Myhill, I thought I could present a more balanced view. It must be remembered that the original Myhill complaint suggested that Jones had been ‘misleading and disparaging’ when commenting anonymously on the Bad Science Forum. This was considered, and in the weeks leading up to the hearing, dropped, by the HPC. This sent an important message to Myhill – that Jones comments were not misleading, that no HPC action was necessary regarding the veracity of the comments.
Message number one from the HPC – Jones not misleading on Bad Science Forum.
Message number two to Jones – It is rude to call people names anonymously, and we don’t condone it.
Message number three to Myhill – As a nod to respect between professions, we imposed a sanction on Jones, in the lowest category, and made it lower than normal, but your complaint was incredibly petty.
Message number four to Jones – Don’t do it again. +++ slapped wrist +++
Post Script : Since I began writing this post, that well known leading edge newspaper “the Romford Recorder” published, then withdrew, a story more or less copied from the Endicott press release. A much more balanced version has since appeared. I wonder why?
In a blog post entitled “Professional Councils And The Chilling Of Dissent” Jayqueaitch points out that the recent Health Protection Council (HPC) decision to impose a Caution on the record of Stuart Jones is sending a pretty clear message to Health Professionals. The HPC have a handy website, and I decided to have a look at the complaints section. People represented by the HPC are a badly behaved lot, judging by the number of FTP hearings held in the last couple of months. The sanctions imposed on this badly behaved bunch vary tremendously, and I have detailed below the offences of those that received a similar judgement to Jones in the last couple of months. This should give us an idea of how the HPC view instances of misconduct, and how they compare.
- A Physiotherapist, who amongst other failures of administration, lost the files of 25 or 26 children; the confidential records of 25 0r 26 patients were mislaid; received a caution impinged on her record for two years.
- A drunken Biomedical Scientist received a five year caution.
- A Radiographer who did not attend to all the patients assigned to her, and failed to keep adequate records was cautioned for one year.
- A Paramedic who failed to maintain adequate records, viz a patient report form, and sexually assaulted a colleague by touching her legs inappropriately, and kissing her; received a five year caution.
- A Radiographer breached patient confidentiality, by looking up a patient’s details on the internet in a clinical area and entered into a wider discussion of the patient’s details whilst the patient was being scanned, and bullied and intimidated, ignored, ridiculed, made derogatory comments about and stated that they “would get your own back on a colleague” or words to that effect. Said colleague had been a witness in a previous disciplinary case. Caution for two years.
- A Biomedical Scientist accessed a patients electronic test results without her consent and without a clinical reason to do so; and breached patient confidentiality; and subjected the same patient to verbal bullying and harassment in anticipation of her complaint; received a three year caution.
- A biomedical scientist accessed a patients electronic test results without her consent and without a clinical reason to do so; and breached patient confidentiality, received a three year caution.
- A paramedic who breached a Court imposed a non-molestation order from a Magistrates’ Court was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £100 costs by the court, received a two year caution from the HPC.
So, what terrible crime had Mr. Jones committed to have him hauled over the coals of an HPC disciplinary hearing? How about losing a whole load of confidential patient records? Breaching patient confidentiality and bullying colleagues? Breaching a Court Non-Molestation Order?
No, he’d made “disparaging comments” on an internet forum, anonymously. On another internet forum, ironically for Health Professionals, you can find a rather well made observation.
Perhaps he should have failed to attend some patients he’d been assigned, and failed to keep adequate records. He’d only have received one year.
On the HPC website, it states – “Our fitness to practise process is designed to protect the public from those who are not fit to practise.” At the moment, your fitness to practise process looks like it is designed to protect dodgy doctors rather than the public. Seriously HPC, you need to get your priorities right.