Dr David Baldwin FRCPsych resigns from Prescription Drug Enquiry…but why?

Today’s Times newspaper reports that the Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCPsych) Psychopharmacology committee has resigned from the Public Health England enquiry into Prescription Drug Dependence (PDD). A ‘campaign of harassment’ from Bloggers has been blamed, and the focus appears to be on whether psychologist John Read and/or his associates have colluded with them.

But one Blogger and Tweeter, ‘Truthman 30’, has been calling Pharma-enmeshed psychiatrists ‘whores’ (and worse) for years: why suddenly bring that up now? Just a few days ago he (I presume he is male) was in a Twitter thread with the RCPsych president Wendy Burn: why didn’t she block him long ago?

This morning I asked the RCPsych ‘communications team’, headed by the ex-BBC journalist Kim Catcheside, what warnings, statements and threats of blocking have been issued to Truthman 30 or anyone else. They have clarified that the ‘worse than Hitler’ comment in the Times headline, together with the ‘rapist’ one, appeared in a 12th September anonymous comment under one of Truthman 30’s Blog pieces. But they have not commented on any warnings or other attempts to improve language.

The above Tweet also shows Dr Burn responding on Twitter to Bob Fiddaman. The RCPsych leadership must know that I called out Mr Fiddaman for his abusive misogynist and racist tweeting months ago, because RCPsych CEO Paul Rees emailed shortly after to inform me that my own Tweets were being monitored. At the same time I became aware that Ms Catcheside had been following me on Twitter.

Nor have the RCPsych leaders seemed bothered to sort out an allegedly upheld, but inadequately dealt with, complaint about ‘bullying, harassment and misogyny’, against a consultant psychiatrist with close links to Dr Baldwin and the psychopharmacology committee.

Frustrated by the pharmaceutical industry (Pharma) and establishment psychiatry blocking enquiry into wrongdoing for decades, ‘Prescribed Harm’ campaigners have at times made comparisons with the Nazi killing of the mentally ill and disabled. This may seem excessive to many members of the general public, but I do not think it is really very different to much historical remembrance of the Jewish Holocaust, to colonialist atrocities, or to the treatment of the suffragettes, to give just three examples.

Four days ago I advised Truthman 30 to stop using ‘whore’ and other forms of swearing:


So if the RCPsych leaders have done little about such language for months and years, why bring it up now?

I suggest that Dr Baldwin and the RCPsych leadership are more likely to be concerned about non-abusive pressure from its own ordinary members, and others. In particular, from Dr Peter Gordon MRCPsych, who has experienced significant harm from Seroxat (paroxetine), with which Dr Baldwin was directly involved.

At the end of August, Dr Gordon (still working in the NHS as a consultant psychiatrist) received a threatening email from CEO Paul Rees, who reminded Dr Gordon of ‘the College’s Code of Conduct (attached)…one of the behaviours we expect from our members is ‘appropriate use of social media, as set out in the RCPsych’s Social Media Policy’”, but failed to give any examples of where the Code might have been close to being breached, or what ‘appropriate’ might mean.

Dr Gordon has been campaigning for over five years, but this year seems to have been making more of an impact. He has repeatedly pointed out the long history of RCPsych-Pharma minimisation and denial, and the responses to him seem to have changed from patronising to irritated. President Dr Burn tried to let him know that his ‘lived experience’ was not wanted (only pro-medication good news stories from Stephen Fry and others are promoted by the ‘communications team’, of course) but he has persisted, as the above links show.

Encouraged by Dr Peter Gordon MRCPsych’s example, I have put my own bit of pressure on Dr Baldwin as well. Let’s hope that the RCPsych has the sense to replace him with a less Pharma-enmeshed representative on the Prescribed Drug Dependence enquiry. But he will still be working in the NHS and as an academic, so he continues to have questions to answer.

About Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych

Independent Psychiatrist providing culturally informed mental health opinion, advice, and a few new facts. Based near London, UK. Main qualifications: BA MBBS MA MRCPsych.

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