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General Medical Council: It’s Official: “We really are useless”.

January 12th, 2006 Leave a comment Go to comments

In an excellent medical Blog, I recently became embroiled in a little controversy.

Someone claiming to be an NHS Psychiatrist made some very disparaging remarks and expressed some very innaccurate opinions about my state of mind. When I complained to the Fitness to Practice Directorate of the General Medical Council he rather quickly withdrew and appologised. The GMC were frankly appaling. Because I could not name the individual they say there is nothing he can do. The person concerned has a flatmate styled the venialsinner who publishes a blog at http://venialsinner.blogspot.com/ so it wouldn’t be hard to trace him.

I wonder why the GMC will not undertake a minor piece of detective work? Could it be because they are doctors?

From the GMC website
====================
Council

The Council is the governing body of the General Medical Council (GMC). It comprises 35 members:

* 19 doctors elected by the doctors on the register
* 14 members of the public appointed by the NHS Appointments Commission
* 2 academics appointed by educational bodies – the universities and medical royal colleges.

Highlights from the controversy
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Dear Dr Crippen,

I like your site. Violence is always wrong. It happens the other way round too though.

In July I was admitted as a patient at the Royal London Hospital. I have “unique” musculoskeletal problems. After two weeks laying in a bed with inaction I took the liberty of reading my hospital notes: something the hospital does not allow.

I was assaulted by two nursing staff who physically manhandled me to remove the notes from my possession. All I wanted to know was what was happening but the hospital rules do not allow this.

Not wanting to escalate things but knowing my position was now risky I made an off the record note of the matter with the PALS service.

Two days later I was unceremoniously kicked out of the hospital as “there is nothing we can do for you”, having seen a junior orthopod who said nothing was wrong with my lumbar spine.

In december I had scans done privately. The upper part of my sacrum has collapsed up and back into my lumnbar spine. Two intervertebral discs have burst.

How about zero tolerance of violence from staff to patients? Until the table is levelled you will suffer the violence o people angered by a miserable system.

Best wishes

Matthew

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Oh dear.

I don’t know how all that happened but leaving that aside you have AN ABSOLUTE LEGAL RIGHT TO SEE YOUR NOTES. They cannot refuse. A lot of hospital adminstrators tend to resist requests like this, and they are wrong.

The days of doctors writing notes like “This patient is stupid….etc” should have long gone.
Dr Crippen

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Dr Crippen

I know that I have a legal right to see my notes and I have a human right to health (though NOT established in British Law).

The Royal London Hospital were not only medically negligent but allowed two staff to physically assault me without any disciplinary action being taken, when I out of frustration at their ineptitude was a naughty chap.

Meanwhile all the muscles from my hips to shoulders have stopped working in the back of my body and I am being left to rot. I have been under a consultant at the RNOH stanmore for over a year who decided it’s all in my mind so there is no need to do scans. “your attitude must improve” before you get better, said he.

The scans also show that all the vertebrae of my cervical spine have grown the wrong shape where my neck has been twisted back on itself since I was orally and anally raped as an infant. This is why my body has deteriorated so badly: only half of it ever worked in the first place.

I showed the scans to my GP and said “look it is not all in my mind. We need some action to stop my body decaying”. “I don’t really understand those pictures”, she said, “but I can see you are getting very distressed about it would it help to see a psychiatrist?” I nearly hit her, frankly, because this negligence and wilful lack of care has lead to me having a decrepit body of an eighty year old at age 39 and I am now highly traumatised and emotional about it.

I now recieve full disability benefits and can hardly walk. I think I may actually die of the complications soon because there has been and is to date no understanding. The consultant actually said to me “no-one will ever understand what is wrong with you but we won’t waste money on unneccessary scans”. The system now wastes over £30,000 a year subsidising my life but nothing truying to help me regain health. I have spent another £2000 on osteopathy in the last three months. My osteopath describes what he is doing as first-aid, trying to hold my body together and is unsure I will recover with or without surgery.

You can see some of the scans for yourself on my website freedomforall.net

Matthew

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I have read with interest website of mathew. In my opinion mathew has a mental illness.
He has multiple ailments with no apparent anatomical basis( I have looked at the MR scans, he also displays almost delusional thoughts regarding his ‘being orally and anally raped’. He appears to think that these have caused his present circumstances.His GP offered a psychiatric consult and I think he was very wrong to refuse this. It is quite often the case in those people with mental illness that they lack ‘insight’ in other words, the ability to recognise they have mental health issues. The situation would be funny if it were not so sad, and his refusal to accept psychiatric help will, in the long term, cause him significant problems.
If you read this note mathew, I would urge you to consult with a psychiatrist before your life becomes even worse.
The Pink Psychiatrist

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I might just add that the Pink Psychiatrist is my flatmate using my computer, hence why it links to my site. He has no blog of his own…yet
The Venial Sinner

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Hi Matthew, Pink Psychiatrist, Venial Sinners and all.

Matthew, I cannot give medical or legal advice on NHS BLOG DOCTOR. You have obviously had a rough time.

The points that you raise are of real concern, they highlight a lot of issues which are profoundly worrying and which need sorting out.

I welcome contributions to NHS BLOG DOCTOR but we can only discuss general principals and we often do that in a rather lighthearted, indeed irreverent manner.

Your issues and problems deserve better than that. I think it would be good to discuss them personally and in confidence with someone you trust.

John Crippen

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Dear Pink Psychiatrist.

I have had Psychiatric Consults. My Psychiatrist has diagnosed me suffering Chronic PTSD as a result of infant and early childhood sexual abuse.

He has written to my GP and consultants asking them to stop blaming my physical problems on my mind. He has stated there is nothing psychiatry can offer to help them with my physical problems.

I am in regular counselling, thankyou, and am coping well with that part of my recovery process. I have, however, been severely re-traumatised by what has happened to my body as a result of bad treatment based on bad diagnosis.

The physical problems I have do stem directly from the physiological damage caused when I was raped as an infant.

My neck was bent back and stuck in a twisted manner by oral rape. This has caused a neurological deficiency which means my pelvic floor and many other muscles in the lower pelvic region do not function (confirmed by neuro-urologists at the RNOH).

My right diaphragm stopped functioning and became in effect a structural muscle holding my back up and drawing up the contents of my abdomen to compensate. It may be something you haven’t heard of but it is real and of physical causes.

Your quick diagnosis is an interesting though frankly irrelevant thought in your mind. What is more interesting than the contects is the fact that you feel you can diagnose without having met me. Superpowers have you got? Or a narcisistic disturbance? Given that a Psych freind of mine believes over 50% of NHS Psychiatrists suffer Narcisistic Personality Disorder and that I don’t believe inm Superpowers (mine or yours) I tend to believe the latter may be true. Touche.

Matthew

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Dr Crippen,

Thanks. I understand the limits and purpose of your site.

I need a doctor who starts looking at my body and not running from the disgust they suffer at the genesis of these problems into a quick, lazy and incorrect diagnosis such as conversion disorder, psychosomatic troubles, etc.

If anyone wishes to post further to me or on the subject they are welcome to do so on my site under the story linked above.

Thanks.

Matthew

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Gravatar Dr Crippen. This website my be lighthearted and irreverent in approach but I have this morning reported the “pink psychiatrist” to the practise committee of the GMC. The text of the complaint is below and is self-explanatory.

———————————

Dear Madam/Sir

I have recently been involved in an internet discussion where issues regarding some physical health problems I suffer as a result of being raped and abused when I was an infant through to my early years were discussed.

An NHS Psychiatrist involved him or herself in the conversation anonymously contributing the following:

” I have read with interest website of mathew. In my opinion mathew has a mental illness.
He has multiple ailments with no apparent anatomical basis( I have looked at the MR scans, he also displays almost delusional thoughts regarding his ‘being orally and anally raped’. He appears to think that these have caused his present circumstances.His GP offered a psychiatric consult and I think he was very wrong to refuse this. It is quite often the case in those people with mental illness that they lack ‘insight’ in other words, the ability to recognise they have mental health issues. The situation would be funny if it were not so sad, and his refusal to accept psychiatric help will, in the long term, cause him significant problems. If you read this note mathew, I would urge you to consult with a psychiatrist before your life becomes even worse.”

I have benefited from regular counselling for the psychological impacts of the abuse I suffered and have taken psychiatric consultations. I have been diagnosed as suffering Chronic PTSD as a result of infant and early childhood sexual abuse. My Psychiatrist has written to My GP and to the consultant in charge of my physical rehabilitation asking them to please stop blaming my physical problems on my mental health as they are physical in basis and there is nothing mental health services can contribute to their resolution. I have been discharged fully from mental health services. My musculoskeletal problems have been described by relevant specialist consultants as “unique” and “complex and challenging”.

I believe this person has taken a risky extrapolation from a small and selective part of the evidence in my case and behaved in a most unprofessional manner in making the above comments:

i/ This person has denigrated the truth about the terrifically damaging (physically and psychologically) sexual abuse I suffered: “no apparent anatomical basis”, “almost delusional thoughts”, “appears to think”.

ii/ This person has made a partial and non-specific diagnosis – publicly in an internet forum – without the proper evidence: “In my opinion matthew has a mental illness”.

iii/ This person makes assumptions about me which are false and damaging for which they have no evidence: that I “lack insight …”, that I have refused psychological support, that my life will “become(s) even worse” if I do not consult with a Psychiatrist.

iv/ This person goes on to describe my situation as “funny were it not so sad” which is unacceptably insensitive.

v/ This person refused to capitalise my name anywhere in the above statements and mis-spelled it repeatedly. They also wrote this not directly to me, but in the third person apart from the last line. I believe these could be signs that the person themselves suffers mental health issues and may objectify and mistreat their patients when in practice.

In short I believe this person may not be fit to practice psychiatry. I will not state these conclusions to be fact because I do not have all the evidence – something which I do have insight into – unlike this person. At the very least this person would seem to need a some guidance about the appropriate and inappropriate manner in which to communicate their ideas.

I can not identify this person because they posted their above comments anonymously, however they did so through a friends computer who is easily traceable and whom I am sure can be relied upon to provide their contact information.

I wish to raise this issue before the GMC as a disciplinary matter and wish it to be investigated. I can provide full texts of the relevant discussions and the information I have which would allow this person to be traced. Please can you advise me as to which steps I should now take to proceed with this matter and forward any necessary documentation to my home address as below.

Thank you for your time in dealing with this matter. I look forward to hearing from you soonest.

Matthew

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Matthew,

Thank you for letting me know about the action you feel you have to take. I am sorry that you are so aggreived.

NHS BLOG DOCTOR does not give medical advice to patients, and I have made that clear on the front page. This is a light-hearted blog looking at health-care problems in an often rrreverent fashion.

To repeat what I said above:

Matthew, I cannot give medical or legal advice on NHS BLOG DOCTOR. You have obviously had a rough time.

The points that you raise are of real concern, they highlight a lot of issues which are profoundly worrying and which need sorting out.

I welcome contributions to NHS BLOG DOCTOR but we can only discuss general principals and we often do that in a rather lighthearted, indeed irreverent manner.

Your issues and problems deserve better than that. I think it would be good to discuss them personally and in confidence with someone you trust.”

I am sorry you were upset by the remarks from the commentator who styles himself as “the pink psychiatrist.” I do not know who he is. I do not even know that he is in fact a real psychiatrist.

I don’t beleive in censorship in any fashion but at the same time I have no wish for any reader of NHS BLOG DOCTOR to be offended personally.

Therefore, would you be happier if I removed all the correspondence from the comments problem? I do not wish to cause offence to anyone. If you have genuine grounds for a complaint, then this would perhaps be better made privately and, as I say, do remember that the so-called “pink psychiatrist” may not be a psychiatrist at all.

John

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Dr Crippen,

Thanks. As I expressed earlier I am aware of and fully accept the limitations of your site. I did not nor do seek your advice in particular from you or any of your readers. My original post was related to the issue of violence within the NHS and I am sorry if it got a bit off topic.

I am not worried about these things beyond the concerns I have expressed above. I do not personally feel any need for anonymity – in fact the opposite – there is so much denial of these issues in society in general and within medicine that I actively publicise what was done to me to raise awareness.

Last year the Department of Health requested I draft a proposal for National Guideline considerations for NICE in relation to the treatment of adult survivors of sexual abuse. If the “Pink Psychiatrist” really is a psychiatrist, which I assume s/he is, s/he would appear to have broken many fundamental rules of engagement in this field. If this person is a Psychiatrist and qualified with his/her friend the Venial Sinner, then they are about age 26. This would lead me to believe they have not yet or have only recently completed their specialist training which makes all of the above even more worrying.

I have raised the complaint with the GMC because I feel quite strongly that no Psychiatrist should make off-hand diagnosis in this manner and that it could be dangerous to persons who are less progressed in their recovery than me for a Psychiatrist to behave in this manner. Should the GMC agree I am sure they will take the appropriate action.

I too am against censorship and for that reason, and those stated above, have no desire for any of the material on your site to be removed. I do recognise that it is your site and should you wish to will also have no complaint about that. I have, of course, made copies for the record in the circumstance but my personal preference would be for the original to remain.

Thanks for publishing a truly interesting weblog. And thanks, especially, for being so considered in your attitude to these matters.

Best wishes

Matthew

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Dear Mathew

I am sorry that my comments have caused you so much distress

I am a complete novice where blogging is concerned. What I wrote was intended solely as a personal point of view, which was what I believed you had been seeking by commenting in this blogg arena and publishing your entire case history on the web.

In no way were the comments intended to form the basis of a formal medical opinion. Anyone who has access to your site will form a personal opinion and these will vary. It is very unfortunate that I chose the name ‘the pink psychiatrist’ as this had no bearing on what I wrote.

I would like to repeat my apologies for any distress I may have caused to you personally. I have learned my lesson from this experience, and will not be returning to these sites in the future.
The Pink Psychiatrist

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Thank goodness for that!

Matthew, I thing that helps a lot; I suspect this guy just shot from the hip and reached all the wrong conclusions. It takes a lot to offer an apology like that.

I hope you may feel able to accept the apology.

I don’t want NHS BLOG DOC to be a fighting ground, and I certainly don’t want it to be somewhere for people to make ill-informed judgements about others.

I hope he has learnt his lesson, but this is a matter for you.

As I said before, I will remove all the comments if you would prefer then we can all have a fresh start.

I will leave it with you.

John

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Dr Crippen,

I am glad he is wise enough to know he screwed up. He still hasn’t accepted my invitation for a damn fine coffee and a flick through the scans but there you go. I do accept his appology and I do not want anything removed. It does after all relate principally to me and I believe there are important lessons herein for victims and those who wish or must in their professional capacity assist them. I hope you can respect that wish. To reiterate, it’s your site though so I accept whatever you chose to do as your inalienable right.

Matthew

To Te Pink Psychiatrist:

“In my opinion mathew has a mental illness. ” ….. “In no way were the comments intended to form the basis of a formal medical opinion. ” The Pink Psychiatrist.

I thank you for your appology.

Your comments have not caused me a great deal of distress. This is because – as I stated earlier – my recovery is going very well. I am, as this whole thread shows, quite resiliant enough to see off somebody who acts stupidly and without thinking and without insight – such as yourself. I do have insight. Your opinion was wrong in every way.

I am strong many others are not. Many people earlier in their recovery might have thrown themselves off a bridge because of what you wrote or what you say to them in practice.

For that reason, if you are a psychiatrist or psychiatric trainee, I would like you to take this one on the nose, mate, to put it in the vernacular.

I want this to be a lesson to others and to lead to protocols around this issue for practicing psychiatrists if none exist. Be clear, I am in no way on a vendetta against you and I do genuinely accept your appology.

BUT, the GMC will do nothing about the issue without knowing your name (see below). Please, be as brave as I have had to be, to face my past, to recover, to deal repeatedly with foolish opiions like yours both in and out of the consulting room.

Since the time Freud’s contemporaries talked him into Hysteria as a dignosis Psychiatry has done nothing but harm to sexually abused people (Freud originally said, to paraphrase heavily, ‘my patients were sexually abused as children and when they talk about it they get better’. The victorian age he worked in could not bear it – he caved in to peer pressure and the rest is a long sad history we are only just beginning to break. It is clear from some of your thoughts there is a long, long way to go:

“he also displays almost delusional thoughts regarding his ‘being orally and anally raped’”

When I was 51 weeks old my Mother was convinced by a clever paedophile that he loved kids but couldn’t have any. She let him and his mentally disturbed wife look after me for a week on holiday. My first birthday present was that I became the personal masturbatory toy of someone with a very, very sick mind. He spent a week orally and anally raping me. No one knew at the time and the physical damage caused was untreated. It is directly responsible for the state I am in now, with a little help from the NHS who repeatedly misdiagnosed and mistreated me both physically and psychologically. The flashback memories I suffer are horific: like haing a telgraph pole shoved down your throat and up your a***. Unpleasant. Hard to deal with. Not made easier by the misguided “truths” of psychiatry.

To conclude I genuinely thank you for your appology and would politely ask you go one step further and contact the GMC as below.

Best wishes

Matthew

ps The Hip surgeon I saw at the RNOH said yesterday there is clearly a phsical basis to my injury but that I have a problem: the NHS will look at the complex set of physical compensations I suffer one by one: they are not capable of taking a wholistic approach. He cannot order an MRI of my pelvic floor to see if this is the principal causal feature, he cannot order an ultrasound of my diaphragm to establish it’s level of function. In fact he made the position official: I am up that famous creek with no paddle. He suggested I continue seeing the osteopath. As a victim of such horific abuse I am being continually retraumatised by a system that at first denied the problems and now admits it can’t deal with them. Contributions to my fund to fly to America and get my body patched up as best they can are of course welcome.
————————————–

Reply from the GMC

In reply please quote: RC/FPD/2006/0067

Matthew

Dear Sir

Thank you for your email of the 10th of January.

The GMC licenses doctors to practise in the UK and maintains the register of
qualified doctors. We can restrict or remove a doctor’s registration if
their fitness to practise is found to be impaired. We can also issue a
warning if there is evidence to suggest the doctor’s behaviour or
performance has fallen seriously below the standard expected. We can
normally only consider complaints where the events giving rise to the
complaint happened within the last five years.

We can only deal with complaints about registered doctors. We have
considered your complaint but as you have not provided us with any details
concerning the identity of the doctor concerned, we have been unable to take
any action on the matter.

With regard to your request for a complaint form we have posted one to your
address.

I am sorry that on this occasion we cannot help you. Please contact me on
the email address below if you have any questions.

Yours sincerely

Rory Connolly

Investigation Assistant

Fitness to Practise Directorate
Direct Line: 0161 923 6492
Direct fax: 0161 923 6578

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Matthew

Thank you for that. That is extremely gracious off you.

I will as you request leave all the letters on.

What I would say to everyone else who may have been following this, it PLEASE go to Mattew’s homepage where the issues involved are covered in detail and from which you will all be able to get a much fairer idea of the problems with which Matthew has had to grapple.

John

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