27th February 2022
My last blog discussed the possibility that mRNA COVID19 vaccines significantly increase the risk of myocarditis. Following this, a fellow doctor reached out to tell me about what has happened to them. They too, had questioned some aspects of the safety and efficacy of the vaccines.
As a result, they have been sent two threatening letters, which are both of the ‘iron fist in a velvet glove’ variety. I asked their permission to reproduce them here. One is from the General Medical Council (GMC). The other from their responsible officer – I shall explain what this title means a bit further on.
Below is the letter from the GMC:
The GMC have received several complaints regarding your recent social media posts.
All doctors have a right to express their personal opinion regarding the Covid-19 vaccine, and while the GMC in no way supports this opinion, we don’t consider your comments are sufficiently strong to open a fitness to practice investigation at this stage.
However, we are referring this matter to your Responsible Office for your reflection through the appraisal process.
We ask that you consider what implications this complaint might have for your practise when you are discussing this with your appraiser. We would also like to remind you of GMC guidance, in particular ‘Doctors’ use of social media, and of the requirement of doctors to act with honesty and integrity to justify the public’s trust in them
What we will do now
We will share the complaint with your responsible officer for them to consider in the wider context of your practice and revalidation.
‘The wider context of your practice and revalidation.’ Which means what, exactly? I sometimes wonder if there a special training scheme where you learn to write creepy and threatening phrases that can later be denied as being creepy and threatening? ‘I was only trying to be nice. They just took it the wrong way.’
‘Your children look charming. However, you may want to consider their continued existence on the planet in the wider context of your practice.’
The GMC, as mentioned before, have the powers to investigate complaints made against doctors in the UK, and impose various punishments (they call them sanctions, which sounds far prettier). Ranging from nothing very much to permanent erasure from the medical performers list.
The latter means that you cannot work as a doctor ever again. Anywhere in the world. The GMC will communicate your erasure to other national statutory bodies, upon request. They do it gladly… and speedily.
On the face of it, in this case, the GMC have decided to do nothing. ‘We don’t consider your comments are sufficiently strong to open a fitness to practice investigation at this stage.’
Jolly good.Nothing to see here, move along. Although they add the rider … ‘at this stage.’ Well, what other stages are left, after deciding to take no action? The … I have changed my mind and I am going to have you guillotined, stage?
However, in reality they have not done nothing – have they dear reader? The GMC have decided to refer the complaint to this doctor’s responsible officer. A responsible officer is a doctor who is ‘responsible’ for ensuring that other doctors working in their area have met the necessary requirement for revalidation.
Revalidation is a five-year cycle whereby a doctor has to meet various requirements. A few hundred hours of medical education, keeping up do date with mandatory training. Carrying out an audit, and a patient satisfaction questionnaire, getting sufficient colleague feedback, and suchlike.
There is also a need to have a yearly appraisal. Which is a meeting with an allocated appraiser, to discuss how things have gone. A look through any complaints about you, work you have done, audits that have been completed, actions to take in the next year to improve your practice – a personal development plan. Release of thumbscrews – or a tightening.
If all this is done successfully, over a five-year period, the responsible officer ‘signs you off’ and you are now able to continue work. If not, you are removed from the performers list, and you cannot work as a doctor until you are successfully re-validated. No-one has ever explained to me how you actually do get revalidated. In fact, there is no system in place for this to happen.
If you manage to fulfil the re-validation cycle, and attend appraisals, in theory there can be no grounds for removal. You cannot actually ‘fail’ an appraisal. You simply have to turn up, and ‘reflect’ on your practice. I have never heard of a responsible officer stepping in to remove a doctor from the performers list any time they so wish.
Bearing all that in mind, here is the follow up letter from the responsible officer.
I have today received a communication from the GMC regarding an ‘incident that occurred on social media.’ The GMC have advised that they have reviewed the complaint and that it does not meet the threshold for investigation.
However, I understand that you have been asked to consider what implications this complaint may have for your practise and there is a requirement for you to reflect on this matter at your next appraisal meeting.
As your Responsible Officer I have a statutory duty to ensure that any concern or complaint about your practise is responded to and dealt with appropriately.
I would be grateful if you could let me have your views on this issue, by completing the attached form and returning it as a matter of urgency.
Can you also complete the attached Monitoring of Clinical Practise for your file, please.
Your co-operation with this process is vital in order for us to come to an acceptable resolution as soon as possible, minimising impact to your practice and cost in time and money.
If you have any questions regarding this process, please to contact me to discuss further.
Responsible Officer for X region.
I love the ‘Kind regards’ sign off. For this is a letter dripping with unspoken menace. Just to highlight one phrase ‘An incident that occurred on social media…’ An ‘incident’. You mean, someone wrote something that someone didn’t like, they then complained about it. This was not an incident, in the sense that anyone would normally choose to use this word.
[I also note that the GMC spells practice, practice. The responsible officer spells it practise – maybe they need to reflect on their spelling between them].
If you look up the word ‘incident’ on the Cambridge Dictionary it gives an example of its use:
‘A youth was seriously injured in a shooting incident on Saturday night.’1
It does not say. ‘Someone wrote a blog post that upset someone, somewhere, for a bit. But it’s alright now, they are looking at pictures of kittens to recover.’
Words. Words, words, words. They can be used in so many different ways. Their true meaning hidden behind layers of sophistry. But we all know what the word ‘incident’ means in this case. Someone was badly damaged by your actions on that day – do not attempt to deny it, comrade.
Then we move onto the real threat. The responsible officer wants to ensure an acceptable resolution, thus … ‘minimising impact to your practise and cost in time and money.’
What the responsible officer here is saying is that I have the powers to stop you practising medicine in the UK. If I find that your answer to this complaint – which was not strong enough to open a fitness to practice investigation by the GMC – does not satisfy me. Indeed (subtext), I do not actually care what answer you give, I may remove you anyway. This will certainly maximise the impact on this doctor’s ‘practise and cost in time and money’.
If you think this is not what is being threatened. Then ask yourself what else it could mean? There is nothing that needs to be ‘resolved’. A complaint has been made, but the GMC didn’t think it was serious enough to take forward. No patient was harmed, no laws broken … no wrecks and nobody drowned, in fact nothing to laugh at, at all. (small prize for who knows where that came from).
At this point you may have begun to allow the thought to enter your mind that the GMC have quite deliberately handed this complaint down to the responsible officer to carry out the required sentence and execution. Whatever the accused doctor says, the responsible officer can simply respond. ‘Sorry, not satisfied with your answer. I am now going to stop you working – for as long as I wish.’ No hearing, no possibility of review, no accountability. Bosh.
In truth I have always known that responsible officers possess this amazing and unrestrained power. I tried, and failed, to stop this happening years ago – when I was on various British Medical Association (BMA) committees. I found it incredible that the legislation in this area was going to hand over, to one individual, the ability to destroy someone’s career, with no regard to anyone else, or anything else.
Yes, we live in a democracy that has created a form of local tyranny.
Tyranny (noun) def: government by a ruler or small group of people who have unlimited power of the people in their country or state and use it unfairly, and cruelly.
You could say that this situation suits the GMC very well … Very well indeed. Because, you see, the GMC has tried to remove other doctors from the medical register for criticising vaccination. [The medical register is not quite the same thing as the performer’s list, but you need to be on both of them to work as a doctor in the UK].
These punishments were quashed in the High Court. Here from a legal firm that works in this area:
‘On Friday, the High Court handed down a judgment quashing the GMC interim order of conditions previously imposed on a GP, Dr Samuel White, as a result of his actions arising from the pandemic. Dr White came to the GMC’s attention as a result of “spreading misinformation and inaccurate details about the Coronavirus and how it is diagnosed and treated”. His comments have included assertions that the COVID-19 vaccine “inserts a code”, masks do “absolutely nothing” and hydroxychloroquine, budesonide inhalers and ivermectin are “safe and proven treatments”.
The interesting point arising from Dr White’s High Court appeal is the technical point on which he won. The High Court found that the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS – the adjudication wing of the GMC) panel made an error of law in not properly considering the test required by section 12(3) of the Human Rights Act 1998 when deciding whether to impose an interim order.’2
As this company also says:
As time goes on, we’re seeing more fitness to practise cases arising from COVID-19-related activities. We’ve previously posted about the Irish GP interim suspended after describing COVID-19 as a hoax and the first UK nurse struck off by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) as a result of COVID-19 denial activities.
‘COVID denial activities’ – what a deliciously Soviet phrase.
I have to say that I very much enjoyed the lawyers’ assertion that the GMC interim order was quashed on a ‘technical point’. Namely that the GMC had failed to consider the small matter of the Human Rights Act 1998. Riding roughshod over someone’s human rights is now a technical point of law. How quaint.
However, undeterred, the GMC have not been deterred from their vital work in punishing COVID-19 vaccine deniers – to ensure that they can never work again. They have just found another, simpler, far cheaper, and far quicker route to obliterate a doctor’s career. Call the responsible officer. No-one expects the responsible officer.
Who needs time consuming and costly hearings, where you might have to bear in mind the Human Rights act 1998 – and other such woolly liberal nonsense? When you can alert the local ‘tyrant’ to a doctor’s non-comradely Soviet ‘denial’ activities. Sorry, COVID19 ‘denial’ activities.
They will know precisely what to do, and they have the powers to do it. Why on earth did the GMC not think of this of this before? I could have told them about the ridiculous, frightening, and untrammelled powers of a responsible officer, but they never asked me.
Of course, you could argue the following. If the local responsible officer does obliterate someone’s medical career and does this without paying any heed to such things as well, the law, for example, then their actions will be over-turned in court. Well, I certainly hope so, in fact I would expect so. This may act as a deterrent … maybe.
However, during the months, or years, that it takes to get such a case to court, the doctor will be out of work and unable to earn. They will almost certainly end up bankrupt, and their reputation (have been struck off the performers’ list) will lie shattered in the gutter.
As for the responsible officer. Their punishment ‘please don’t do it again,’ would just about cover it. This is very much asymmetric warfare. I can punish you, terribly, but you can do absolutely nothing to me in return.
In the financial world they call this moral hazard. A banker can bankrupt you, and your family, and half the country, making stupid and risky decisions – that will earn them huge short-term bonuses. If, as a result, their bank goes bust, the Government simply bails them out and they keep their job, and their bonus. All gain, no pain.
As a sign off, the responsible officer (washing his hands of any personal responsibility of course) wrote this ‘I have a statutory duty to ensure that any concern or complaint about your practise is responded to and dealt with appropriately.’ Kind regards … Pontius.
However, one thing that has not happened, so far, is to actually take the time and effort to forward a copy of the complaints to the doctor concerned. Still, they must be guilty of something or other. So, it is clearly critical that they respond to these unknown complaints, of some sort or another, in some-way or other. ‘Here is a bottle of whisky, and a revolver…. You know what you must do.’
What a world this has become. I had hoped I would not live to see such a time in this country, but I have.