One law for Dr Appleby, Dr Burn, Dr Morrison and Dr Huda, another for their critics: the GMC’s double standard.

(30th March: see my homepage for more details on the tribunal, and the piece I published two days later for the 5-page tribunal decision with my notes and annotations)

Today the GMC’s application to the Medical Doctor’s Tribunal (MPTS) to suspend me was allowed, although reduced from 15 to 12 months. A review automatically occurs in 6 months, although I understand I can apply now for a review in 3 months if I consider there were irregularities in this tribunal.

I do.

For now, I will focus on just one: the failure of the tribunal to adequately address (in the 5 pages of its written decision) my submissions on the GMC’s treatment of complaints against senior psychiatrists. I argued that their ‘smears and abuse’ were more serious than the allegations about my own Tweets and blog pieces.

I showed the tribunal this tweet in which Dr Louis Appleby smears me (I was not saying that I am targeted any more than others, but this happens to be a good example):

Screenshot_2019-03-16 Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych on Twitter(1)

and then this expanded image of the Tweeter who ‘liked’ it, Dr Wendy Burn:


I said: ‘This is a Tweet from Dr Louis Appleby to me 11 months ago. Dr Appleby is the government’s lead on suicide prevention, and also a Professor in Manchester.

You can see in the last sentence that he clearly accuses me of being a conspiracy theorist. Now this term can quite happily be bandied about by non-professionals without serious harm, but I submit that psychiatrists have power and authority in society in relation to diagnosis, and what might lie behind it such as compulsory admission and treatment.

‘Conspiracy theorist’ is a quasi-diagnosis which, from a psychiatrist, carries the implication of psychotic or fantasist, or perhaps personality disorder. I believe it should not be used as a smear in this way.

You can see that one Twitter user has ‘liked’ this smear, and that is Dr Wendy Burn, the current president of the RCPsych. I have expanded her icon below.’

I had previously showed the tribunal this Tweet from Dr Paul Morrison:


I said: ‘‘Young Kinderman’ is Peter Kinderman, a prominent clinical psychologist. In this Tweet Dr Morrison claims that a complaint Mr Kinderman had made in February 2018 about him, relating to Dr Morrison’s alleged ‘bullying, harassment and misogyny’, again on Twitter, had not been upheld. Dr Morrison, as you can perhaps see from his Twitter icon, adopts the persona of Rumpole.

I suggest this Tweet, with the image below and the caption ‘I’ve got a bag of Shh, with your name on it’, is unpleasant and threatening to Mr Kinderman. […] last week I made a complaint to the GMC that Dr Morrison was very likely to have been dishonest in his statements about the bullying and misogyny complaint.

Now looking again at the ‘likes’ below this Tweet you will see an icon on the left, and that is the icon of Dr Samei Huda. Dr Huda is an NHS consultant psychiatrist in Tameside, to the East of Manchester. In the latter part of last year I had an amicable Twitter relationship with Dr Huda, but we fell out in early December because he refused to discuss my concerns about Psychiatry’s relationship with the Pharmaceutical Industry, or Pharma. He blocked me and then in early January […] I criticised him as someone who closed down debate, and pointed out that in the past he had criticised others for the same.’


These Tweets are similar to many others that have been complained about to the GMC: they have done very little, while they have claimed that some of my Tweets are deliberately ‘antagonistic’.

I have to be careful on how I report on the tribunal because some allegations concerned non-professionals.

But the MPTS tribunal’s silence on these senior psychiatrists is concerning: a single sentence in the written decision made no acknowledgement of the abusive nature of these Tweets.

My title has ‘one law’ rather than ‘one rule’ because the behavioural standards of medical doctors are supposed to be based on the Medical Act 1983.

More to come. I now have to get the train from Manchester back down to London.


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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