From the Western Mail, 15 April 2010 (story by Madeleine Brindley)
SUPPORTERS of a Welsh doctor who specialises in treating people with chronic fatigue syndrome have launched an online campaign to save her from a “witch-hunt”.
Dr Sarah Myhill faces the prospect of being suspended from the medical register by the General Medical Council (GMC) because of a complaint about her website.
The former NHS GP, whose private practice is based in Llangunllo, near Knighton, Powys, has already faced six GMC hearings since 2001 following a series of complaints from other doctors.
All those allegations were dropped in 2007 with no case to answer.
But Dr Myhill now faces a new GMC interim order panel hearing later this month, at which she could be suspended from the medical register for up to 18 months.
An online petition has been launched and signed by more than 750 people.
Jane Bryant, a director of the One Click Group, which launched a Support Dr Myhill Campaign, said: “This most excellent doctor is a lifeline support for many thousands of patients, particularly those suffering from the much misunderstood illness of myalgic encephalomyelitis, chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) whom she treats with respect, compassion, kindness, understanding and consummate professionalism.
“No patient has ever complained about Dr Myhill.”
On her website, Dr Myhill said the latest complaints come from a group of doctors concerned that she recommended a B12 injection to a patient.
A second comes from an anonymous complainant who said the information on her website is “very worrying” and is concerned “patients are being seriously misled”.
In an open letter about the allegations, Dr Myhill said: “One week ago I received a complaint about my website, to which I have yet to reply.
“However, on the basis of this unsubstantiated complaint by an anonymous complainant, the GMC have decided that ‘there is a potential risk to public safety’.
“There are no specific allegations, I am not being allowed to defend myself against any such allegations, I may have to wait a further 18 months for such a hearing when my licence could then be restored – I am presumed guilty until I can prove my innocence. This is the opposite to normal English law.
“No patient has complained, no patient has been harmed and no patient has been put at any risk of harm.
“However, should I lose my licence, patients will certainly be put at risk of harm; partly because they will be denied access to medication essential to their well being, partly because they will lose access to tests and partly because I will be unable to support patients in applications for DLA and other such medico-legal issues.”
Meryl Davies, who lives in Sennybridge and is one of Dr Myhill’s patients, said: “She is an expert in the field of environmental illness and has an army of grateful patients who have benefited from her advice.
“Put simply, she knows where to look. Those tests available on the NHS reveal very little or nothing of what ails us.
“I suffer from ME, fibromyalgia and chemical sensitivity and have found that there is very little help or indeed knowledge available on the NHS and opt for what I regard as the safer nutritional approach.
“The GMC would seem to want to destroy the Myhill lifeline and thwart our attempts at gradual healing.”
And Stella McKague, who has severe ME and lives in Dumfries and Galloway, said: “I have been able to get out of my bed after being there for years; I couldn’t even lift my head from the pillow – no one else has been able to do that, it’s purely down to her work.”
The interim order panel hearing will be held in public, in London on April 29.
The GMC said it could not comment while an investigation was continuing.