If anyone ever wondered why ‘Jonas’ chose to make his complaint about Dr. Sarah Myhill to the GMC ‘anonymously’, then they are now being answered by the extemist wing of the CFS/ME activist movement.
Before I start though, let us look at the meaning of the word ‘anonymous’ as it is used here. Dr Myhill’s supporters seemed to think that this meant the GMC was acting on the basis of an unsigned letter whereas in fact they always knew who he was. The complaint was anonymous in that Dr Myhill did not know from whom the complaint had originated. Some also argued that she should be allowed to ‘face her accuser’, a view that would have merit if he had been making allegations about something she had said or done to him but in fact his criticisms were about medical misinformation on her website – which could be viewed by the Fitness to Practice Panel themselves. Input from ‘Jonas’/Stuart Jones was not required.
For reasons best known to themselves, the GMC chose to reveal his identity to Dr Myhill anyway, which resulted in a world of grief for him. I should point out that there is no reason to believe that Dr Myhill has had anything to do with this, the evidence points to CFS/ME extremists, who were well represented amongst her supporters who had turned out for her FTP hearing. His identity was tweeted and retweeted fairly rapidly. From here we have “Mr Stuart Jones is Jonas, The Big Girls Blouse…”. It went down hill from there.
They had been ranting on the now-deleted ‘überthread’ and elsewhere about this being an attack on CFS/ME sufferers whereas in fact, as ‘skepticat’ points out:
The complainant, who posts on the Bad Science forum under the name of ‘Jonas’, started a thread over there with the announcement that he’d made a complaint about a range of recommendations Dr Myhill makes on her website. These, Jonas argued, are contrary to national guidance and safety limits and so may place people at risk. The recommendations are in connection with nutritional supplements, heart disease, contraception, breast cancer diagnosis and vaccines. None of this complaint appears to be about treatment relating to CFS, with the possible exception of the vitamin supplements.
This belief may have arisen due to conspiritorial thinking by the activists: the owner of the Bad Science website is Dr Ben Goldacre, who once worked with Dr Simon Wessely who is hated by the extremists because (according to them) he says either that the causes of CFS are psychological not physical, or that it is a sham illness. From this they seem to have deduced that all Bad Science posters are there to do Dr Wessely’s bidding.
Consequently, because Dr. Wessely is a target of theirs, anyone who in their eyes is one of his minions becomes a target. From this it is clear that they have a cached copy of the überthread and intend presenting it as evidence to the HPC panel considering Stuart Jones’ fitness to practice. I don’t suppose it will be the version that shows them making insulting and/or provocative statements to get a reaction, then, on getting one, editing their posts. Not that it really matters as ‘Jonas’ did not rise to the bait. Others did but this can only be seen as relevent if you see Bad Science posters as being united in a campaign against those with CFS. The tone of comments both here and here suggest that other posters could become targets when they fail to achieve their objective against Stuart Jones. Fortunately, the GMC does not know who they are.
Similarly, the fact that this thread was on Ben’s site is evidence for them that he agrees with what is being said. In fact he banned one poster (not Jonas) for making a particularly unpleasant comment about a doctor (not Myhill) and instituted a moderation process for the forum.
It is clear that Stuart Jones is owed an apology by the GMC because if it was not for them the extremists would not have an easy target for their viciousness. One thing on which I do find myself in agreemernt with the Myhillites; the GMC is not fit for purpose.