From the Daily Mail website, 29 April 2010, timed 3.59pm
A pioneering doctor who specialises in treating people with chronic fatigue syndrome went before the General Medical Council today over claims her treatment has ‘no clinical basis’.
Dr Sarah Myhill could be forced to remove clinical and nutritional advice from her website amid fears it is a ‘risk to patient safety.’
The chronic fatigue syndrome specialist advocates alternative treatments including vitamin and mineral supplements to patients from her private practice in Powys, Wales.
But she is now the subject of a GMC investigation after complaints have emerged about her advice.
Dr Mayhill’s outraged supporters have launched an online campaign to save her from they perceive as a ‘witch-hunt’ at the hands of her governing body.
A panel of experts will now decide whether the doctor’s registration should be restricted and subject matter removed from her website during the investigation.
Dr Myhill allegedly provided ‘inappropriate’ treatment to a patient last year after she recommended vitamin and magnesium injections for suspected chronic fatigue syndrome, also know as ME.
A group of eight GPs complained about this patient’s treatment in June 2009, the hearing in central London was told.
Another anonymous complaint from a ‘clinical scientist’ was made in February this year about her website.
The GMC had denied claims of an organised ‘campaign’ against Dr Myhill.
Gary Summers for the GMC said: ‘It needs to be said clearly that the GMC has received two independent complaints which are before you today and has not launched a campaign against this doctor.
‘The GMC’s role is to investigate these complaints without fear or favour. The GMC will not allow the blizzard of email and web traffic to bend us off course.’
The group of Yorkshire doctors, who have not been identified, claim Dr Myhill’s advice had ‘no clinical benefit’.
She had recommended the patient seek help in administering vitamin B12 and magnesium injections from the surgery.
Mr Summers told the hearing: ‘The first complaint is dated June 18. It is from a group of doctors at a Yorkshire practice.
‘In short the case was brought to the attention of the GMC by eight GPs in that Yorkshire practice in that letter of June 18, 2009.
‘The mother of that patient had been self referred to Dr Myhill after discovering her website, as a result of which Dr Myhill requested a blood sample in respect of her son, an adult.
‘Following analysis of the blood sample, Dr Myhill wrote to the patient’s mother outlining various therapies and treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome.
‘She advised he be administered B12 and magnesium sulphate injections.’
But doctors at the patient’s surgery refused to prescribe the supplements or show the family how to administer the injections themselves. Instead they launched a complaint against Myhill.
‘None of them felt there was any clinical benefit to be gained by such treatments,’ Mr Summers added.
An expert commissioned by the GMC concluded there was ‘no clinical or biochemical basis’ for the injections, it is claimed.
‘This course of action is inappropriate. There is no evidence base for the treatments recommended,’ the report adds.
Dr Myhill ‘seriously violated’ Good Medical Practice, the hearing was told.
Mr Summers said: ‘There are ethical issues as well as those of good clinical practice.
The expert concludes that Dr Myhill has seriously violated the principles of Good Medical Practice by not adhering to the duties of care and due diligence expected of a practitioner.’
A second anonymous complaint criticised advice given on the doctor’s website about cancer screens and childhood vaccinations.
‘The public have been seriously misled by her advice’, the anonymous letter states.
‘In some cases I think her recommendations are a serious risk to patient safety.’
Dr Myhill discourages women from using the oral contraceptive pill, recommends an alternative method of breast cancer screening and warns of a link between the MMR jab and autism.
The GMC alleges that Dr Myhill ‘poses a real risk’ to patient safety.
Mr Summers added: ‘The panel can be satisfied that in all the circumstances there may be an impairment of Dr Myhill’s fitness to practice which poses a real risk to members of the public and may adversely affect the public interest and that of the practitioner.’
The GMC recommend conditions on the doctor’s registration until a full hearing can be held.
The conditions include she work under supervision, seek permission before prescribing any medicines and remove certain pages from her website.
Dr Myhill, of Upper Weston, Llangunllo, Powys, Wales, denies she should be the subject of conditions on her registration.