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ME/CFS SOUTH AUSTRALIA INC

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ME/CFS South Australia Inc supports the needs of sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and related illnesses. We do this by providing services and information to members.

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ME/CFS South Australia Inc aims to keep members informed of various research projects, diets, medications, therapies, news items, etc. All communication, both verbal and written, is merely to disseminate information and not to make recommendations or directives.

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Dr Sarah Myhill to face GMC hearing again

Thursday 15 April 2010

Dr Sarah MyhillDr Sarah Myhill (pictured) is under investigation by the UK's General Medical Council.

This is the sixth time that Dr Myhill has appeared before the Council.

Dr Myhill details the allegations and her response on her website:

My GMC Hearing

I face an Interim Order Panel at which I could be suspended from the medical register on April 29th 2010

Use the mouse to put the cursor over the coloured writing, then one click to access these documents - I am no computer buff either!

The GMC and me - since 2001

Since 2001 I have faced the prospect of six General Medical Council Hearings with a view to me being struck off the Medical Register. All the complaints came from doctors, none from patients. No patient was harmed or put at risk of harm. As a result of the early investigations I was unable to obtain medical indemnity cover for GMC hearings and so have defended mysef with no legal help.

In 2007 all allegations against me were dropped with no case to answer and no restrictions on any of my practice. In the aftermath of that I asked Mr John McDonald QC to prepare an overview of what had gone before. This you can see at John McDonald's Opinion - Sarah Myhill and the GMC 2001-2007 which tells the story in an independent way. The idea was to use this as the basis for discussions with the GMC so I could explain the nature of my practice and expain why I appeared to be the subject of concern to other doctors.

My Meeting with Jackie Smith Head of GMC Investigations August 12th 2009

As a result of Mr McDonald's report I had an informal meeting with Jackie Smith. She refused to allow Mr McDonald to be present at that meeting so I attended alone. I had hoped these informal discussions would lead the GMC to a better understanding of the nature of my practice. I requested that should further complaints arise then they could be discussed informally first and thereby clear up problems before unnecessary unpleasantness arose. Indeed this was the advice of the GMC's own barrister Mr Tom Kark to the GMC.

Ms Smith was not prepared to discuss anything of any substance and there was no meeting of minds. However I prepared minutes of the meeting, see Meeting with Jackie Smith Head of GMC Investigations, which she has refused to sign. Indeed despite sending her many letters and emails she continues to refuse to even acknowledge those minutes, let alone sign for them!

The cost to the GMC so far has been substantial. During the five years that I have been subject to GMC allegations, the GMC has spent £136,692.12 on external solicitors, in addition to their own internal costs. They do not know their own costs, something which is in breach of Charitiy Commission law, but a complaint to the Charities Commission has been pooh-poohed. I suggested to Ms Smith that the total cost to the GMC would be in the order of £500,000 which she agreed was likely. However, this did not cause Ms Smith any concern and her view was that this was a responsible way to spend GMC resources and that no further action was required to look into this expenditure.

The GMC are supposed to keep copies of all correspondence, especially from me. As a result of a Freedom of Information Act search I have copies of all GMC correspondence concerning my cases. A great many letters I had sent to the GMC were missing from the file, and they did not appear in the final documents which exonerated me. I asked Ms Smith to find those files - she promised to look into the matter but nothing has happened. The missing letters are listed in Meeting with Jackie Smith Head of GMC Investigations. Again this contravenes the GMC's own procedures, but they seem oblivious to this and uncaring.

My Complaint to the Solicitor's Regulation Authority

It has been a feature of GMC investigations that they have taken patients' private and confidential medical notes often without patients' knowledge, often without permission, without offering them their legal right to object and without anonymising their notes. This I have complained about to the SRA and the details of my complaint can be seen in Complaint to SRA. I have yet to hear back from the SRA with respect to these concerns.

However I am mindful and concerned that the GMC may have accessed a great many of my patients' private and confidential medical records without their knowledge or permission. The GMC are aware of my concerns but have done nothing to address them.

Details of the charges I face

The GMC have formulated no actual allegations against me. However, on the basis of two complaints against me I have to appear before an Interim Order Panel on April 29th, when my licence to practise medicine could be suspended for up to 18 months. I am guilty until proven innocent.

The letter from the GMC dated 7 April 2010 to me states "The Case Examiner has reached this decision after considering there is a potential risk to public safety". The Case Examiner is anonymous.

The first complaint was from a group of doctors. I received a letter from the GMC informing me of it in December 2009. I replied immediately, since when I have heard no more from the GMC or the doctors. That complaint is over concerns that I recommended B12 injections to a patient.

The second complaint is anonymous and comes from a person who says that "I do not want to open myself to possible harassment". The complaint is

"Her name is Dr Sarah myhill (sic) (GMC reg No. 2734668) and I find the information in her website very worrying. I am concerned that patients are being seriously mislead (sic) by her advice, both online and most likely in consultation at her practice. In some cases I think her recommendations are a serious risk to patient safety. Some specific examples are listed below but there are many more on her website". (The spelling errors are as per letter of complaint). He goes on to list web pages mainly to do with vaccination and drug therapies.

This letter of complaint arrived on March 30th 2010 and the GMC asked me to respond within 4 weeks. The letter asking me to attend the IOP arrived on April 8th with a proposed hearing on April 12th 2010. Clearly the GMC are not in the least bit interested in hearing my response to this second complaint! I have asked the GMC if they would consider my response to this website and consultation complaint before the Interim Order Panel but they have not granted my request.

Under section 17 of the GMC "Imposing Interim Orders" April 2007 it states: "It is important to keep in mind that the IOP does not make findings of fact or to resolve disputes of fact". This means I am not permitted to establish the facts of the case, let alone respond to them. This does not seem to concern the GMC.

With respect to opinion, I quote from GMC’s Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Mr Neil Jink’s letter to me of 7.8.06.

"It is not the place of the GMC to take a position on the correctness of generally recommended or of possible cutting edge treatments......."

Yet it appears the GMC is doing precisely this. Setting my opinion against an anonymous observer and coming down on the side of anonymity.

What you can do to help

The GMC's case is that they consider "there is a potential risk to public safety".

If I lose my licence to practise, there will not be a potential risk, but a very real and immediate risk to patients.

Please, point out to the GMC, in as many different and innovative ways that you can think of, privately and publicly, that for me to lose my licence to practise would result in you being harmed directly, immediately and in the longer term.

  1. Email the GMC on pbridge@gmc-uk.org
  2. Telephone Mr Paul Bridge on 0161 923 6417
  3. Fax Mr Adam Elliott on 0207 189 5177
  4. Write to Mr Paul Bridge, General Medical Council, 3 Hardman St, Manchester M3 3AW quoting Case Reference: PB/C1-314994282

To say:

  1. to what extent you have found the website a helpful source of information;
  2. what it would mean to you personally and to your health if you are unable to avail yourself of my services as a doctor;
  3. Request to attend a future Fitness to Practise Hearing to give evidence that you have been helped by information from my website.

Ask the GMC to acknowledge your letter and concerns and keep you updated as to when and where hearings will take place.

We have had it confirmed by the GMC Press Office that for people who want to attend the Hearing on 29 April, they need to book a place. Either phone the GMC on 020 7189 5454 or email the GMC at Press at GMC to reserve a place. It's as simple as that. We are also planning a demonstration outside the GMC Offices at 9am on that morning but we have to clear this with Camden Police first.

The above originally appeared here. That page also has updates.

A petition calling for the hearing to be dismissed has been created here.

 


 

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