John Read is not fit to remain as the BPS’s representative on PHE’s Prescribed Drug Dependence/Withdrawal Review

Warning: offensive language quoted

(Draft letter to the British Psychological Society’s (BPS’s) President, and the Chair of its Clinical Psychology Division. [Added 10th December: I received so many discouraging comments about the low likelihood of a meaningful response that I did not send it.])

The review, which will soon call for evidence to be submitted, has just lost a psychiatrist with substantial links to the pharmaceutical industry. Psychologist John Read, the BPS’s representative, who made a formal complaint about Dr Baldwin earlier this year, and more recently signed an open letter calling for his removal, has stated that ‘personal abuse’ directed at Dr Baldwin was ‘nothing to do with us‘.

However, there are reasons to believe that John Read’s close professional and non-professional associates were involved in encouraging the excessive language such as ‘Pharma-whore’, that he agrees was ‘personal abuse’.

Both he and fellow psychologist Lucy Johnstone are in the ‘core project team’ of the Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF…link to interview with James Moore, who is mentioned below) which for many mainstream BPS clinical psychologists is more concerned to promote extreme anti-diagnosis views rather than address difficult issues around mental health interventions (including psychotherapy and drugs). Four ‘core’ PTMF authors (Read plus Mary Boyle, Peter Kinderman and David Pilgrim) signed the letter requesting Dr Baldwin’s removal.

On 19th September (six days before Dr Baldwin resigned) after a Blogger who has regularly written about ‘Pharma-whores’ described a presentation about ECT as ‘shit’, Lucy Johnstone replied ‘you are fab…Keep up the plain speaking’.

180919-shit-fab Truthman-LJ

This ‘keep it up’ Tweet was ‘liked’ by James Moore (whose Twitter icon is immediately to the right of ‘6 Likes’), a non-professional who signed the letter requesting Dr Baldwin’s removal. Mr Moore still suffers from antidepressant withdrawal, and is the lead editor of the new ‘Mad in the UK’ (MITUK) website, which promotes John Read’s activities. The lead professional on MITUK is Peter Kinderman, who has not revealed the names of other professionals in the MITUK ‘collective’: I have asked Mr Kinderman and Mr Read if the latter is part of the ‘collective’, but both declined to comment.

So this ‘Pharma-whore’ Blogger (who had also allowed another anonymous poster to comment on September 12th that Dr Baldwin was a ‘pharmaceutical rapist…worse than Hitler) was encouraged in his ‘abusive’ language by both psychologist Lucy Johnstone and non-professional James Moore, who are both John Read’s close associates.

This appears to directly contradict Mr Read’s ‘nothing to do with us’ statement.

There is further evidence that Mr Read fails to discourage, or even encourages, ‘abusive’ language more generally, against professionals and non-professionals who disagree with this group’s views.

Ms Jacqui Dillon co-edited Mr Read’s latest book, and he names her on his Twitter profile:


Ms Dillon is a mental health campaigner who has worked in association with John Read for many years. She has many publications, and she praised Mr Read when she received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of East London last year.

Her Twitter banner encourages the use of four-letter words in opposing critics:


Ms Dillon has used dozens of four-letter words in her Tweets, many of which are hostile and attacking: she appears to believe she is doing so in justified retaliation:



Many Bloggers who follow John Read’s work on psychiatric drugs will have seen Ms Dillon’s Tweets. Clearly, they encourage ‘abusive’ language, and ‘personal abuse’, against opponents and critics.

As non-professionals, neither Ms Dillon nor Mr Moore can be held responsible for the general culture of how John Read and his close associates promote their views and oppose critics.

A year ago Mr Moore posted an interview with a US-based non-professional, Bob Fiddaman, a widely read Blogger and book author. For five months I have repeatedly brought a racist and misogynist Tweet by Mr Fiddaman to Mr Moore’s attention. More recently, after Mr Fiddaman again made it clear that he would not withdraw and apologise, I have asked Mr Read and Peter Kinderman to intervene. As yet they have not commented.

John Read usually adopts a benign manner on social media, but on occasion he can be unfairly sarcastic and extreme. A month ago he responded to an anonymous non-professional’s mildly critical question about ECT by comparing it to ‘lobotomy and the rotating chair’, in a manner reminiscent of extreme critics of psychiatrists, who at times allege that psychiatric treatment is deliberate torture:

As well as the PTMF group, John Read’s close associates include Dr Sami Timimi MRCPsych, fellow council member of the ‘Council for Evidence Based Psychiatry‘. I have recently raised a concern with both Peter Kinderman and John Read about Dr Timimi’s disparagement of first-person accounts by people who find benefit from their medications, as mere ‘anecdote’. All (I believe) of John Read’s close associates tend to ignore such accounts, while selectively valuing first-person accounts of people who only experience harm from psychiatric diagnosis and/or medication.

The prominent journalist who wrote an account of this disparagement made it clear that he felt Dr Timimi was unprofessional. Neither Mr Read nor Mr Kinderman have commented on this issue.

Many critics of John Read and his close associates believe that their main concern is not primarily with drug dependence and withdrawal, or even with psychotherapy, but with promoting extreme anti-diagnosis views. There is evidence that they condone or even promote deceptions which undermine mental health team working in order to achieve that. This slide from from a presentation in which Lucy Johnstone was involved has been widely commented on but has not been satisfactorily explained by John Read or his group:


In summary, there is good evidence that John Read’s claiming the ‘personal abuse’ of Dr David Baldwin FCPsych as ‘nothing to do with us’ was false. I ask the BPS to replace him with a psychologist who has no such record, is committed to multi-disciplinary working, and has a genuine interest in seeking evidence for interventions, and their unwanted effects, both at the ordinary mental health team level and at higher policy levels.

If the BPS is unable to find a replacement at short notice, then other current PDD Review members James Davies, author of Cracked, which is highly critical of Psychiatry and its relations with the Pharmaceutical Industry, and Dr Ben Goldacre MRCPsych, author of Bad Pharma, have ample knowledge of the evidence in relation to psychiatric drug efficacy and harms.

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.

14 responses to “John Read is not fit to remain as the BPS’s representative on PHE’s Prescribed Drug Dependence/Withdrawal Review”

  1. johnnybereallygood says :

    the other thing is in any power over people establishment- you will “always” attract good and bad- good go to help- bad go to act like their helping- be seen to be- but to abuse with the abuse that’s in them- latent or not- ultimately- its always been the same- orphanages- prisons- aged care- police- armies- refugee asylums- youth training centres- any turn key role will attract bullies- as a matter of course- i mean, who would of thought a priest or a brother would bully and tamper with children- if your being real about that real like they weren’t back in the day- you would not only realise, but you too would accept mental health facilities are not only in the mix- but there actually at the top of the list, in terms of complaints of abuse- and who, runs them- who’s the captain in them- Psychiatry is.– this is why, not only do they need to lose that power to force- “unethically”, but a whole lot of them, need to be taken out of the system- and a royal commission needs to take place, to investigate that- and to weed them out- make them accountable- cause in all those turn key power over others, places, things like what happened at Standford happen-
    OR- we could all just let it go if that one rule was changed- I would- cause then i could begin to forgive- and live-love more again-free up– we could love those bully, adversely effected, Doctors and Nurses, remaining, into a new system of care- a recovery healing system of care- not coercive- bully- more loving and kind- encouraging- nurturing- and all those other lovely words- 🙂 that’s the bin i want anyway-where’s that bin. The bin where you don’t get drugged- bullied- sold out on- voluntary for ten sleeps at least in law- not a place where your gonna have to admit, your mad, before their gonna let you go,– out- home. . Man o man- if that’s not insane in itself – what is. and whilst your going mad going on mad drugs- before and after they’ve drugged you with them,- admitting and knowing you go mad going on them and off them- more insanity in that act then- to me.-feels like real dumb people running the show – who are apparently really clever- which to me is just a good memory- a good person on the other hand you don’t learn in a university.- ya learn that givin livin and lovin- mixin it with all types- through your family- upbringing- not a lot to do with any genes as such- not in the decency department anyway- that’s instilled- and either in ya or not- ya might learn a bit along the way here and there- but its who you really are, that matters/counts- what your lessons have been, in your family- passed on generation to generation- some get good memories and more of academic related lessons, energy-and develop that way– some get more of moral emotional feeling psychological related lessons- energy and develop that way- those two people have a different way of seeing intelligence- a different measure if you like- one comes out of a head- one comes more out of a heart- a gut- everyone’s got the whole three- just in different quantities- from their development- what they got- and what they were given- shown- taught- their all amazing people- families- just we’ve got head people fixing heart people- and head people letting them. carte blanche.. i better zero- thanks for your ear- lol- or did i steal it.

  2. johnthejack says :

    Not sure if you’re aware but this debate has been carried out to an extent in ‘The Times’. There was a letter published yesterday from: Professor Peter Kinderman, University of Liverpool; Dr Joanna Moncrieff, UCL; Dr John Read, University of East London; Professor Sami Timimi, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
    It included this paragraph:

    ‘The central issues in Professor David Baldwin’s resignation from the investigation into the harms caused by dependence on prescribed drugs (report, Sep 25, and letters, Sep 26 & 27) are safety, efficacy and conflicts of interest. In contrast to claims that these powerful chemicals are safe, effective, and appropriate, the best available scientific evidence is that they are little better than placebos, and may well do more harm than good for many people.’

    Patients with ME are no fans of Goldacre who is closely linked to Wessely. There has been a mass of abuse of ME patients on the forums he set up (for which he is not directly responsible, of course, but he could have stopped at any time as he is worshipped there). He has tweeted links to stories about the ME militants (a campaign started by the Science Media Centre). He is outspoken for sharing of data but despite being asked many times he wouldn’t support the patients’ work in trying to get the PACE trial data released. He’s also been asked many times to look at PACE, but refuses because he is ‘too busy’. His right not to get involved, of course, but it would take him an hour just to read the 2011 paper and check some of the criticism, and he is supposed to be a fervent supporter of exposing bad science. And he wasn’t too busy, of course, to check the truth or not of the ‘militant’ smears. Or maybe he didn’t bother.

    • Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych says :

      John, I was aware of some of the concerns about Ben Goldacre’s silence in regard to ME/CFS campaigners, and think that it would be quite valid to re-question him on that in the context of the PDD review. Is there a piece which outlines/records his support of the SMC/PACE ‘militant’ smears?

      PACE is partly about the dodgy promotion of CBT, both specifically for MECFS, and more widely. He is Oxford-based, as is Michael Sharpe, and one question is whether he has actually worked for Sharpe (or another Oxford psychiatrist) in order to get his ‘Liaison Psychiatry’ specialist registration with the GMC. In fact I think it is reasonable to ask him to provide more detail about his psychiatric training in general, and his links with psychiatrists up to now.

      If Ben Goldacre fails to do that, then it will be reasonable to raise concerns with the other Review members, in the first instance.

      Sharpe blocked me from Twitter last week, after I substantiated my opinion that his ‘not becoming’ comment to Carol Monaghan was misogynistic. I have just emailed to notify him that I will formally complain about restriction of my ‘fair comment’, to his University and NHS Trust, if I am not unblocked in 48 hours.

  3. johnnybereallygood says :

    you should get real about who psychiatry is- to over half the people on the planet mate- and respect “half the peoples feelings” about them, and what they do- according to those half- instead of your one sided- other side- Psychiatric view- their the cowboys brother- and their victims, are the Indians- do you blame people who feel tortured for swearing at the violators?- water off a ducks back to me- very understandable- expected really- did you blame the Indians, for firing arrows and throwing spears at the cowboys- swearing at them in Indian- Comanche lingo- ? — your too busy attacking people, attacking you, like all your mates do- your people- for what your into, and doing to them- to actually “see their pain, and their despair”,- in amongst their “justifiable angst”- you just want to attack this angst- swear words- to seem christian or something- in this- do gooder, altruistic- style- the fact is your the doer people- their the getting it done to them people- and your not seeing what your doings, doing,- to them- or even sympathetic in any way about their circumstances or their reality- the debilitation their talking about- trying to get you to see- other than to push your cart, and flag, back into their faces- in reply- with love. Doesn’t matter how you add it up- your on the side of the ,”force drugging (some people) sick- that makes you, the enemy to those people,- you’ve got to be real about that.- don’t pretend their not real and what their sayings not real,- cause that’s way worse, than swearing at someone- to me it is anyway. way more abusive. Mate ive got Ten statements facts- that anyone with half a brain should know, would know from- “how insane, MH/Psychiatry is” themselves- just reading them.- like full stop statements- that logically- cant be denied, let alone going there by choice- that your people are denying them..

    • Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych says :

      Two points Johnny (if I can call you that?)
      1. John Read himself said that the language used against Dr Baldwin was ‘personal abuse’, so it is not only me who feels that, for campaigners who seriously look to engage the wider public and politicians, ‘pharma-whore’ etc should not be used on public blogs and social media.
      2. We all want to reduce ‘forced drugging’ as much as possible, but I do not agree that the plans of John Read’s group to abolish psychiatric diagnosis will do that. I worked as a specialist for ten years in learning disability where diagnosis in ‘challenging behaviour’ had been abolished, but use of medication actually increased. Look out for a Blog piece from me on that in the next 2-3 months.
      Best wishes

      • johnnybereallygood says :

        sorry i didn’t mean to come here and growl at you or call you names-i always feel like im growling- i end up there because its “ongoing”- hard to forgive and forget that ongoing stuff that’s for sure— peace mate- yeah i agree swearings not the best- I was brought up that way myself- but im not neurotic about it- or all holy or anything- people swear- that’s them- so what- they lose it sometimes- thyeve been around swearers- i swear a bit myself when im around swearers- but it doesn’t make me hate them or anything- its just words i prefer not to use myself- nastys nasty no matter how you toss it up- try to make it seem- but their coming from a place of despair- so we make allowances- and let it go over our heads- cause we know its about the angst they feel- and rightfully so- we dont trivialise about swearing, when we know theres a lot more coming out of a heart than a mouth- because its right to do so- not to focus on swear words when theirs blood coming out of them- its so rude and insensitive to the reality and trauma their feeling- inside them- i remember a bloke at maroondah who did that, one of the worst- hes in my top five anyway-who’s only problem was swearing- like he was fully neurotic- as though his mum was in his brain about swearing- so he’d shut down all arguments as soon as someone swore- which was because of his arrogance, rudeness- the swearing- almost couldn’t be helped- in the argument, and his unreasonableness in the argument- that he turned into a nastiness, about swearing,- that had nothing to do with the argument he was losing- and the words he never had, to win the argument- he made it about his neurosis, to get out- of what he couldn’t answer- anyway- i get what your saying- but someone swearing at someone who hits people on the head- but is in denial- most people get- or can understand- doesn’t make it right- and they’de probably agree when the fire eases themselves– no one wants to be angry or be growling or swearing but your people – mates- have seriously hurt them- and continue to do so- to me swearings understandable- even calling those people names is acceptable- because their bullies- and nasty, drug poisoning, people- in reality- there ya go now im calling them names too- not swearing though- 🙂 as far as forced drugging goes- they have to lose that power because they abuse that power- which is what 56% of the people forced drugged are saying- so what its going to come down to DrN- there is only one thing, that makes the war- is the war- and that’s the right to say “NO” – that’s it in total- im pretty sure, we all know that’s the bottom line- it supersedes everything/ anything else- apply that- wars over- not one world Government will change the law or amend it– not yet anyway- for some reason, I think their kinda waiting for your nod, – so im just wondering- would you, give up that one power, for peace, yours and ours,????—– that power thing, contention- that brings us all here- time after time- like Cyndi Lauper- whatdya reckon, give it a go ya reckon- just you’d have to go from on, to off- and ya cant do off- bugger= a cul de sac hey- blow- im not having a go there- just saying how it is- maybe just go slow there- but it will save some of the new ones, becoming new ones- if ya know what i mean, the kids effected by street drugs who just get swapped for insane psychotropics- when ethically they’re supposed to get from two sleeps to ten full sleeps- before their tagged and drugged- those kids make up 70% of all returns to bins purely for trying to escape from what they were never meant to be on- and what they cant live their lives on because of the debilitating effects- 70% of the budget going down a drain of despair and no hope- when its done – “unethically” – so that’s why the power to force drug has to go- all we need is a change in legislation to reflect that need- so if the report of the person visting the bin is that their street drug effected- then in law- firstly, they have the right to be ethically treated for their condition- that treatment should be and in fact is what i’ve stated above- which goes hand in hand with the change in legislation that gives anyone reporting drug effect as or in their condition– to be able to refuse, any psychotropic medication, for ten days- or ten full sleeps- for first episode visitors effected by street drugs–im still gonna wish we could just say no, though- 🙂 but yeh – one day maybe- hey.

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