Private doctor attacks GMC over ‘witch hunt’, Western Mail, Cardiff, 19 August 2011

From the Western Mail, 19 August 2011 (story by Madeleine Brindley)

A DOCTOR who specialises in treating patients with ME and chronic fatigue syndrome has called for an inquiry into the General Medical Council after misconduct charges against her were dropped.

Dr Sarah Myhill, a private GP based in Powys, has spoken out after all restrictions on her license were removed following a series of GMC hearings.

The hearings followed complaints about the content of her website and her management of a patient.

In a statement to her supporters, Dr Myhill accused the regulatory body of “showing all the symptoms of an advanced senile dementia”.

And she said an inquiry is needed to investigate “GMC incompetence, law breaking and misfeasance in public office”.

Over the last 10 years Dr Myhill has faced the prospect of seven fitness to practise hearings – the most recent was scheduled to last 25 days. These hearings have been cancelled with no case to answer.

Dr Myhill said: “The GMC has been incompetently prosecuting me since 2001.

“In doing so it has broken its own procedures and the laws of the land. Allegations against me have been vexatious, inconsequential and often untrue.

“The GMC is a dysfunctional organisation, not fit for purpose.”

The latest case against Dr Myhill was prompted by complaints about the information she provided on her website and that she had recommended a B12 injection to a patient.

A GMC hearing in April 2010 imposed a series of interim restrictions on Dr Myhill, including forbidding her from prescribing any medicines and forcing her to remove information from her website.

The panel said, at the time, that the Llangunllo-based doctor’s practice posed a threat to patient health.

At a later hearing, in October 2010, she was banned from practising medicine for 12 months to allow the GMC to investigate her methods.

At the start of 2011, Dr Myhill was reinstated to the medical register, although nine conditions, including not prescribing medicines outside of their licensed use or limits and keeping a detailed log whenever she personally prescribes or advises a prescription, were imposed.

These were removed from her license last month. The GMC panel said: “In the circumstances, the panel has determined that it is not necessary for the protection of members of the public, in the public interest or in your own interests for your registration to remain subject to an interim order.”

In a statement to her supporters, who described the GMC’s action against her as a “witch hunt”, Dr Myhill said she believes had been targeted because she treats ME as a physical, rather than a psychological disorder.

And reflecting on the hearings over the last 16 months, Dr Myhill, a former NHS GP, said: “It is not for the GMC to judge whether one doctor’s opinion is better than another’s. My opinions, which are evidence based from the scientific literature, have been central to the recovery of thousands of ME patients. In its summing up of my case, the GMC states that I have substantially improved the health of 70% of ME sufferers. This is considerably better than the results of the now discredited regimes of graded exercise therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy. Clearly ME is a physical disorder requiring physical treatment.”

The GMC told the Western Mail it does not comment on individual cases.

See also story in The Shropshire Star, 19 August 2011

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