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Professor Sir Simon Wessely on reviewing the Mental Health Act, his Sheffield childhood and life as a top psychiatrist

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Sly Saint, Sep 5, 2018.

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  1. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    "
    How often does Britain's top psychiatrist visit a doctor? Hardly ever, it transpires.
    Professor Sir Simon Wessely is president of the Royal Society of Medicine, advises the military on soldiers' well being, has spent much of his career studying baffling conditions like ME and is leading an independent review of the Mental Health Act for Prime Minister Theresa May."
    "
    But it hasn't all been plain sailing. He stopped studying ME, or chronic fatigue syndrome, years ago, after suffering a backlash from a faction of sufferers who believed the illness was a purely physical condition. His research, carried out with colleagues, found combining cognitive behavioural therapy with light exercise brought about a full recovery in a third of patients.

    Simon doesn't regret researching the syndrome -
    "Absolutely not, I'm quite certain we did a lot of good" - but thinks changes could have been made.
    "We spent too much time with people we agreed with and not enough with people we didn't agree with. We believed the evidence would speak for itself, and it didn't." The impact on his life endures.

    "It's not been pleasant. It's a difficult area for me to talk about. I would describe it as stalking, unpleasant ways of people trying to interrupt your career, incite hostility, threats."

    By contrast his work on military health has been the 'most satisfying and enjoyable' part of his career. When Gulf War Syndrome, characterised by mysterious symptoms like fatigue, pain and breathing problems, emerged among veterans in the early 1990s, he showed soldiers' health had been affected by serving in the conflict, which meant they could access war pensions. "We never really found out what it was. We found out all the things it wasn't."

    https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/heal...hood-and-life-as-a-top-psychiatrist-1-9331473
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
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  2. Barry

    Barry Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Well that's a highly factual bit of reporting I see :rolleyes:.

    These BPS folk really are putting themselves about a bit at the moment aren't they. Propaganda?
     
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  3. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    "Ordinary people can get involved in what we do."

    Who the hell does he think he is.
     
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  4. Adrian

    Adrian Administrator

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    So he is still misleading patients when if is has any slight level of competence he knows that the 3rd claim for fully recovered has no basis in any evidence. Yet he is still accusing patients. Given this he is clearly not a fit person to hold a senior role or to advise the government.
     
  5. Roy S

    Roy S Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Hopefully someday people who wish to go into the psych professions will be appropriately screened so that the ones who should not be involved in that area will be directed elsewhere.
     
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  6. James

    James Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    No mention of The Legend of Camelford in this puff piece
     
  7. Cinders66

    Cinders66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Heaven forbid interruption of his career when he’s shat on our lives. Then he rewrites his gulf war story. Do any ME groups have connections with GWS groups because it still seems an unrecognized area in UK and I can’t imagine former soldiers being thrilled with insinuations of group think anxiety needing CBT like us (what I’ve heard as wesselys contribution, happy to be corrected) ? Giving them a pension doesnt equal having your illness researched and treatment found and back to fit life.
    Never miss a chance to smear us and paint yourself as a hero simon. Just a little bit of light exercise and back to work.

    Should we offer him a chance of debate with those he doesn’t agree with now -him versus Ron Davis, him versus David Tuller or a ticket to an Iime conference where he can present on why ME is a grey area of medicine best tackled with rehabilitation.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
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  8. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    How dare he go on slandering us and spouting lies about recovery rates and successful treatment. How dare he.
     
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  9. Philipp

    Philipp Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I guess I'll do our standard writeup this time!


    On the part relevant to us:

    The way this is worded it seems as if he was indeed studying ME, which is also called CFS, and his research found that a third of those patients with make a full recovery riding the cbtgettrain.

    This confuses me because every time this is brought up with his group they seem to claim they were never ever studying ME, but CFS as defined by whatever they please on any given day, while 'recovery' can mean anything you want the word to mean from 'deteriorated a lot' to 'had a mild statistically insignificant fluctuation in symptoms'. But 'full recovery' when studying 'ME' is a weird claim because the evidence, as far as I can see, does indeed speak for itself. So he is either lying, misrepresented by the interviewer or referring to unpublished research he has lying around in his office somewhere which would be a bit unethical I'd think.

    Given that this recovery claim is to the best of our knowledge a complete fabrication and somewhat central to his entire career - how high quality can his reports to advise the government on any issues really be?


    On the point that needs to be hammered home with everyone outside our own bubble:
    The way the whole interview is set up is interesting in the same way those things usually are. Be it Esther with her daddy issues, Trudie with her horrible heckling incidents that she claimed were extremely threatening (or am I misremembering this part? It is hard to keep up with what their weird version of reality is at any given point in time), Simon with his Holocaust thingy here or all the death threats that they made out of newspapers themselves to paint a picture of what a death threat might have looked like, it is always the same technique where they try to make themselves come across as pitiable victims.
    This is a move that is used by psychopaths all over the world because they at some point in they lives must have noticed it makes people easier to manipulate. It is pretty devious because it is not necessarily completely disingenous - e.g. if Esther really had a weird relationship with her father (or whatever it was she was claiming exactly) it would really suck for her.
    But that does not mean that researching sick kids standing on a bit of paper shouting STOP at it and finding that it does, in fact, not do anything and then going on to report it as the next big treatment almost ready to roll out is not malpractice.
     
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  10. large donner

    large donner Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    At first I thought this was an article in the national newspaper the Daily Star, but it appears to a local paper be the Sheffield Star.

    Funny that, just last week the Times of London does an article on how the Lancet should review the flawed PACE trial and the best access the SMC get for their usual unscientific PR nonsense is to the Sheffield Star.

    Oh how times have changed.
     
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  11. James

    James Established Member (Voting Rights)

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  12. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    I doubt it has any connection with the latest PACE publicity. It's more likely to be related to his role writing mental health policy for the government. And just a bit of self publicity for Simon in the local paper of the area her grew up in. The ME part of the story is just part of his self-mythologising about what a brave and wonderful man he is for helping lots of people to recover from ME against so much (alleged) hostility.
     
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  13. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    But ME is being swallowed up into MUS and will be part of the mental health agenda- again! So the picture is being reinforced in mainstream...
     
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  14. Robert 1973

    Robert 1973 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Ain’t that the truth! Very good at making stuff up. Not so good at scientific rigour.

    So difficult to talk about that any time he is interviewed you can pretty much guarantee that he will talk about it.

    Please do not misunderstand what he is saying here. He is definitely not suggesting that he didn’t enjoying working in ME/CFS research because people with ME are so horrible. Definitely, definitely not.

    How satisfying it must be for a scientist to discover precisely nothing about the subject they are researching. It’s a wonder he didn’t receive a Nobel prize for discovering what GWI isn’t. I’m sure all the GWI veterans think he’s wonderful.

    No surprise to learn that Sir Simon used to mock certain groups of patients, but it is surprising to hear him admit it. I do not believe that all doctors used to talk about their patients in the way that Simon Wessely spoke about people with ME. However, his confession would appear to add weight to allegations that have been made about his conduct when giving talks about ME to medical professionals.

    Despite admitting to feeling ashamed, it is notable that he does not apologise. Because, of course, everyone else was doing it, which makes it perfectly OK, doesn’t it?
     
  15. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Seriously? Are they having a laugh? FFS!
     
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  16. Cinders66

    Cinders66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    That’s probably why he did psychiatry. Did you see this bit

    Psychiatry attracts 'a certain type', he says. "They tend to be a bit older - I always tell people psychiatry is medicine for grown-ups. I did the running around, 'Quick nurse, give me the needle', and all that stuff, up in Newcastle. It was interesting, but I didn't want to spend my life doing that."

    Read more at: https://www.thestar.co.uk/news/heal...hood-and-life-as-a-top-psychiatrist-1-9331473
    He always manages to put his colleagues down, that’s why I think he has an ego problem
     
  17. Sean

    Sean Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    He made the same claim nearly a decade back in a puff piece on him in New Scientist.

    It was disgraceful fraud then, and is even more so now post-PACE.

    :grumpy:
     

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  18. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    well he did get a knighthood for his 'services to military healthcare and to psychological medicine', and will probably be made a peer for his current 'services to mental health'.

    laughed at this......

    "to give someone "the needle", insulting and teasing someone which results in the person becoming irate and/or defensive, thus the person would have "the needle""

    Michael Sharpe springs to mind more though...with Wessely it seems it's more like water off a ducks back:emoji_duck:
     
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  19. It's M.E. Linda

    It's M.E. Linda Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  20. strategist

    strategist Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Wessely is smart enough to know that CBT/GET don't work. He is using patients to advance his career and does not care about the consequences that disseminating false claims about recovery and improvement has. It is callous and selfish.
     
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