The Private Eye X Ray.


Previously on this blog, please refer to this link. The blog EDM 2031 follows the evidence and background surrounding this issue.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Andrew Bousfield
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2011 10:08:43 +0100
From: Dr Helen Bright <drhelenbright@>
To: Rita Pal <dr.ritapal>

Ritz, Andrew has proposed to give credit to your paper and for you to take down your postings on the Internet. What do you think? Actions speak louder than words. 



Those Charged by the General Medical Council Face The Spanish Inquisition

Those who have known me to blog in the past know that the Spanish Inquision is the most accurate description of hearings at the General Medical Council. Due to numerous requests, I am featuring this again to entertain the masses. Those who have faced the Spanish Inquision and survived it will know exactly what I mean.

CopyGate. The Litigation Saga

I have not threatened to sue Private Eye, Andrew Bousfield or Phil Hammond. I have requested an apology and a citation to the title of the paper in the next issue of Private Eye. Hammond has already issued one apology for the prior mishap. I have asked for a amendment to the EDM based on the recommendations I drafted in the paper . The documentary evidence in parliament as well as emails to Phil Hammond show that the ideas and recommendations were drafted by me. 

Andrew Bousfield is currently threatening to sue me. No doubt his reasons are because the findings of the Bar Standards Board and the Court judgment have now been made public. He wishes to silence those findings. As a officer of the court, Andrew's record in protecting free speech is now of interest to the  public. 

I stand by all my allegations which are evidence based. I intend to stand by all I have said. I fear nothing.

I would like to thank the The Bureau of Investigative Journalism for their fairness in this matter. Even though Bousfield is a colleague of theirs, they have allowed the debate to continue on their website.

All updates will be placed on this website. 

With Best Wishes

Dr Rita Pal 

Related Posts

1. The Copycats at Private Eye

Update 20th July 2011. 

1. In response to the "Officer of the Court" and Free Speech comment. Andrew now insists I am free to write whatever I want.

2. He recently whined at the long suffering Bureau of Investigative Journalism who were forced to add the addition at the bottom after insisting their comments were now closed :)

“Following publication of the Private Eye piece Rita Pal bombarded many of the doctors featured with emails. Five doctors asked her to stop contacting them, one because it created distress. I also did the same. She has since contacted MP’s, my family and my former employers. I wish to have nothing to do with her, and do not propose to continue this debate with her here.” .

Lawyers do twist the facts :). Yet, Bousfield has emailed me consistently despite my one liner requesting he ceases to contact me. He clearly feels the need to spend the next 10 years fighting in  court against me instead of issuing an apology and a citation to the paper's recommendations. I suspect Private Eye are now intending on suppressing free speech after their campaign to protect it :). I have asked Hammond whether Bousfield is representing Private Eye and him. There has been no response. According to Andy, I am not allowed to complain, not allowed to mail MPs, not allowed to issue my view of our dealings to other whistleblowers and essentially I am supposed to sit tight and accept that my recommendations were lifted. Fascinating.

It is quite laughable that anyone would feel distressed by me sending our citation to the whistleblowing paper -unless of course this email was issued purposely :) :). There are no rules about contacting Parliament or issuing complaints or sending copies to his father who presents his email address online.

Anyway, if Bousfield wants to fight in court, around court, wishes to stalk me, set the large teethed dogs onto me, the fact remains that the truth of the matter cannot be removed. I developed the recommendations on the Whistleblowing paper and Private Eye lifted them. The correct way to deal with his matter is to write the apology and issue a citation in the next issue of Private Eye. Instead, moves are being made to silence me :). How interesting.

Once the apology and correction is issued, we can  progress from the art of minimalist scrapping. Bousfield is a master of minimalist scrapping. I often wonder how I fell into his playground. It is so uninspiring in many ways.  I don't even feel like litigating because the other side is so tiresome. Bousfield though is keen keen keen. He wants to litigate litigate litigate. *sigh*. Why don't I have the luck of falling into Ben Emmerson's playground? At least then, I could be dazzled by a barrister's good looks and be thrilled by the idea of litigation.

Until the next update folks...............

Update 21st July 2011.

Gone out to a party - back on Monday.......................


CopyGate. The Copycats At Private Eye

The development of Whistleblowing and Patient Safety has been taking place for over 2 years now. During the development, I sent a draft copy to Private Eye for them to feature. Private Eye did not feature it, instead Phil Hammond and Bousfield decided to lift the recommendations drafted by me and make it theirs. 

"Our recommendations are firstly that the profession, through the GMC or BMA Council, should commission a Consultation Group on Reporting Poor Care. This Group will examine the consequences to all parties from incidents of reported poor care. Second, the Government should consider establishing a Health Select Committee Review of Whistleblowing that would make impartial recommendations to Government and the profession. Third, the Government should consider setting up and resourcing a National Whistleblowing Centre similar to that in the US. We believe that only by open public scrutiny will constructive change be cemented into exemplary clinical practice"

These recommendations were lifted by Bousfield and Hammond and inserted into Private Eye without citation. The recommendations have now become part of an EDM in Parliament. The facts are that the above paper was submitted a long ago and that the ideas were infact mine.  After the disagreement, I revoked all rights to my ideas offered by email - one being on the National Whistleblowing Centre. Of course, the facts and communications speaks for itself. The solutions were not that of Bousfield or Private Eye. They were developed by me and accepted by the other authors.

Private Eye, Andrew Bousfield and Dr Phil Hammond have purposely stolen the material and refused to place a citation of the above paper by these ideas. Private Eye can do the correct thing and acknowledge the paper with an apology or we can take this matter forward in time. It is clear that none of them have any originality and stoop low enough to steal ideas from research papers without citing them.


Whistleblowing and patient safety: the patient’s or the profession’s interests at stake? Bolsin, Pal, Wilmshurst, Pena

I would like to thank Kamran Abassi of JRSM for having the vision and courage to publish this paper. As many journalists and members of the public have requested a copy, it can be downloaded here. Kamran has indeed been a star from start to finish. I pitched this idea to him years ago and finally got the authors together to write it. This is the reference and the original link if download is impossible. If anyone wants a direct copy mailed, please email me.

The reference:-

Stephen Bolsin, Rita Pal, Peter Wilmshurst, and Milton PenaJ R Soc Med 104(7): 278—282; doi:10.1258/jrsm.2011.110034

I must say that working on this paper was extremely difficult. We were under so much pressure to write a pro-establishment paper but we refused and stuck to our principles. Anyhow, I think we did a great job. I of course drafted a lot of the GMC section :). Don't we all love the GMC?! :). I certainly believe the BMA is part of the problem and one that our trade union refuses to address. I for one was never going to do what Professor Jarman wanted us to do - that was write a pro-BMA article. 

I have sent this paper to the GMC and requested a consultation on whistleblowing. We shall see what the Gods in the Regulatory sky have to say. 

The paper has been well received by many people. I am pleased about that. The Independent ran the piece cleverly missing out the fact I was second author. I love these episodes by them. The person who grafts the hardest is summarily omitted. Anyway, these things amuse me no end as it shows that Nina still holds a grudge against me after I won a copyright argument against her. Jeremy Laurence on the other hand does a fantastic job of describing the issues and I agree with his last para. See his recent article here. 

My MP's idea on an Inquiry finally came to fruition - see Nina's excellent piece in the Independent. Here is the evidence from Private Eye itself ""More Staffing Problems Private Eye No 1234 17th - 30th April 2009 "Dr Pal haslobbied (via her MB Andrew Mitchell) for the Commons health select committee to investigate the problems faced by whistleblowers in the NHS" . Subsequently, this request was made to all corners of the NHS, Department of Health and Parliament and more recently though NHS Reform. It is amusing watching everyone run with the idea without acknowledging who actually came up with it in the first place.

What is interesting about this paper is this - despite being written by whistleblowers, the uptake by the medical media has been poor. Why is this? Obviously because the establishment refuses to address the fact that it has problems - serious problems. While many will seek comfort in the safety offered by Dr Gooderham's cosmetic BMJ homage to whistleblowing - with due respect the Blue Dragon had no experience of whistleblowing at all. Sometimes you have to walk on the yellow brick road to write accurately about it. The fact that he analysed PIDA wrongly is largely ignored by many. The research on PIDA is quite the opposite as we point out. The reluctance of the British Medical media and perhaps many of the bloggers to review the paper or even point to it is indicative of our observations - the profession is not ready for reality. Anyhow, for all those who believe that the paper will remain locked away somewhere in the archives of the JRSM, you can be assured that it has now circulated world-wide. The code of silence by the profession is indeed operational as we all predicted. Unlike Gooderham, I am certainly not going to present misleading material and tell the world that the BMA is not part of the problem. It has always been lazy, ineffective and abusive to most junior doctors. Merely because it creeps up to Kim Holt does not mean the rest of us are persuaded.

While I must say the GMC takes baby steps in trying to improve, the BMA has simply placed its head in the sand and it refuses to remove it. I am of course surprised that Fiona Godlee, Jane Smith and Tony D have not congratulated us on publication. Of course, as they well know, the next publication will be about them and their efforts to curb free speech of whistleblowers.


Andrew Bousfield of Medical Harm - The Victim Pool Is Open Water

Download the Bar Standards Board judgment here. The most interesting part of the judgment is this

"Andrew Bousfield between 28 October 2007 and 23 February 2008 held himself out or allowed himself to be held out as a barrister, pursuant to paragraph 201 of the Bar’s Code of Conduct, in correspondence with MJ solicitors dated 29 October 2007, undated but around 6 November 2007 and 14 November 2007, for the purposes of supplying legal services to a member of the public, namely P, without having complied with the practising requirements in paragraphs 202(a) to 202(d) of the Bar’s Code of Conduct which by virtue of its nature, degree, repetition and/or combination with the matters set out in charge 2 was so serious as to be likely to bring the Bar into disrepute"

Many have asked me about Private Eye's Whistleblower supplement and why I was not featured. Historically, Private Eye and I have had a good relationship. Phil Hammond has always been a good and supportive friend. This was one of the reasons why I agreed to his request. He repeatedly emailed me to write Ward 87 up and asked me to pass his idea for a Whistleblower Supplement around. This, I did. Phil and I have never had a disagreement.

Later I discovered, the executive decision of Andrew Bousfield, more famously known for his vogon letter writing skills at the Bar Standards Board, and Phil Hammond [ MD] was to omit me from the main supplement as I was apparently a liability to the elite group of whistleblowers that had been chosen. Hammond had been too polite to admit this but Bousfield made it abundantly clear and I was grateful for that. That is one of the best things about Bousfield, he can't keep his pen off the paper, his hands off the laptop and he can't keep his mouth shut. 

My main issue with Private Eye is that their primary copy had mentioned Dr Anders Skarsten as some heroic whistleblower. Those at Northamptonshire Mental Health Trust will know of Anders antics. Private Eye forgot to mention that Skarsten was on a 5 year GMC warning at the GMC for dishonesty on a complaint I had submitted. The doctor Skarsten supported was suspended and on a Interim Order Panel.

I was also devastated to find out that Dr Appulingham had died. Appulingham had been scapegoated for a patient death at Northamptonshire Mental Health Trust. Bousfield admitted by email to me that Skarsten had felt that he was scapegoated. Unknown to Bousfield, the  GMC transcripts listed Skarsten as the inidvidual who was responsible for referring Appulingham to the GMC. Appulingham begged the GMC to see that he was scapegoated. All his pleas fell on deaf ears. The doctor dropped down dead a few weeks after his sanction. Bousfield had no sympathy for this issue at all and neither did Phil.

On hearing about Skarsten, Hammond pulled the story and offered me chocolate and a meeting - I refused each. That is Phil's default status. Of course, all Bousfield had to do was look Skarsten up on the GMC register and the internet. Any CSE bimbo could have managed that. It was even more shocking when I discovered he was a lawyer. A lawyer failed to check Skarsten's GMC status?!! I find that startling. 

Nevertheless, I decided it was reckless of Private Eye to process my data as well as that of Skarsten [ given we were in conflict at the GMC]. I didn't quite understand how Private Eye had become so careless. These were the people who extracted my friend Geoff Monks out of his predicament. Anyhow, Private Eye is not sorry. I suppose they believe they can do what they wish.

These were also the reasons why I extracted the Ward 87 material from Private Eye and refused them permission to print it on their website. I felt I could not trust them any longer and overall, I believe I had been failed by Phil and his empty promises.  Interestingly, it can be purchased here though. To everyone's surprise, its actually selling :). So really those who wished to shut down the Ward 87 incident actually made it widely available.

Anyway, we can now sit back and watch Private Eye steal one idea after another from the above paper and imply they came up with it :) without citation. It is also fascinating how policy makers prefer a Hello style presentation to a peer reviewed research paper published in a reputable journal. To think that policy will be made on an elite selection of tales cherry picked by some less than independent journalists without an assessment of evidence. After Skarsten, I wondered how many other stories were not quite evidence based. Anyhow, that isn't my business really. It was merely a afterthought.

I believe I should have been told by Private Eye that Andrew Bousfield was a lawyer - a non practising barrister, that his father [P Bousfield] was a whistleblower, that they had dealings with Leigh Day and that the BSB had sanctioned Bousfield. Indeed, every person should be informed of this issue and not have to search the internet. Bousfield claims he still maintains the independence that a journalist should have. I beg to differ. The rules on non practising barristers are listed here. I know Bousfield feels his sanction was unfair. You can hear him stamping his feet right now.  Bousfield is adept at using the media to flaunt his innocence. Of course, innocence by media does not necessarily equate to being innocent. It is amazing how people overlook what the BSB and various judges have said. 

Anyhow, I always love the level of irony in this specific tale especially running into a flamboyant character like Bousfield who assumes we mere mortals can't read  law book, refers to me as "having scores to settle" when he clearly has more scores than all the world's cricket teams.  The advantage of fighting the GMC is that everything else always appears so much smaller.

In the end, while I don't have a sanction, Bousfield does and in the land of hope and glory, it is Bousfield who commands the trust from the elite, Private Eye and the Independent. Quite sweet really. It is laughable when Bousfield comments on my "style" when his style is errrm............ yes, Mace and Jones have a lot to say about Bousfield.

These are the dangers of approaching the media in any way or form as a whistleblower - you never know who is handling your data and for what purpose. That was my main concern. While Hammond assumes this is all sour grapes, he fails to understand his own failings. Bousfield of course has absolutely no insight. Private Eye who have supported my friends Geoff Monks et al, has given me the message loud and clear. I wish I had known of that message some time ago then I would never have wasted my time.

The above on Private Eye is written because I believe each patient/whistleblower and member of the public should be aware of the above information before submitting their material to them. I would never have submitted the material had I known who they had hired to do the Whistleblower Supplement. To find that the magazine was discussing matters with a man who victimised me [ Skarsten] was a shock to my system. I had never expected this from a magazine I had the utmost respect for. Minor meek apologies have floated in but some disasters are just too catastrophic to correct. At present, I am not sure what company Hammond keeps but he is certainly not an independent thinker. For all those who repeatedly ask me about my long term friendship with Hammond. It ended last week for good. Bousfield had no regrets over that because now he can spin his yarns without interruption. Hammond is short sighted but then he has hardly dealt with lawyers properly. Anyhow, they have set up home together on the internet on a website called Medical Harm. I wouldn't recommend that any whistleblower disclose their data there for obvious reasons. 

Bousfield tries to teach me the law. He forgets, its not rocket science to read a law book. It isn't rocket science to win an argument and no one has to be a barrister to know how to play Russian Roulette in a court casino. Bousfield is a man sanctioned by his own regulatory body who has the temerity to question my tone and style. Pot calling kettle black me thinks.

Anyhow, despite the bitter taste that was caused by Private Eye's stupidity and disrespect for me,  I hope the paper we have written is useful for all working doctors, patients and members of the public. I am working on implementing the recommendations. I will  leave it to members of the public to decide whether I am indeed a liability as specified by Bousfield and team. Would they believe a lawyer or a ex doctor?

I really really love this judgment by the BSB. It is a masterpiece in description of his character. Maybe the BSB should have been in Cornwall with their popcorn just for the entertainment. The practical impossibility of costs at a ET amused me somewhat. Here is part of the judgment :-

"The judgement said the "brief and, in our view, scandalous" involvement of Mr Bousfield corroborated the conduct of the claimant as "vexatious, scandalous or otherwise unreasonable".
It added: "While the actions of Mr Bousfield are clearly open to very serious criticism, we do not accept that a claimant whose prime interest was to have a fair hearing of an unfair dismissal claim would be prepared to be caught up in the personal crusade of an outsider who seemed interested only in hijacking the proceedings for his own purpose. It seems to us more probable that the claimant was happy to be party to that crusade which, in our judgement, renders the conduct of these proceedings at best unreasonable and at worst vexatious and scandalous."

Grieve may have been better off being represented by the local A Level student.

For any lawyer, victims are often useful. Whistleblowers on Medical Harm gives the website credibility and in turn some of its credibility rubs of on its owners. In the world where legal aid is scarce, publicity is scarce, anyone who is desperate enough will run into the arms of a lawyer offering nothing.

Disciplinary Finding Details
Name: Andrew Richard Bousfield
Status: Non-Practising Barrister
Called: November 2004
Inn: Inner Temple
Type of Hearing: Visitors Hearing (Appeal)
In breach of:
Paragraphs 201, 202(a), 202(b), 202(c), 202(d), 301(a)(i) and (iii), 901.5 and 901.7 of the Code of Conduct of the Bar of England and Wales (8th Edition).

Details of Offence

Andrew Bousfield between 28 October 2007 and 23 February 2008 held himself out or allowed himself to be held out as a barrister, pursuant to paragraph 201 of the Bar’s Code of Conduct, in correspondence with MJ solicitors dated 29 October 2007, undated but around 6 November 2007 and 14 November 2007, for the purposes of supplying legal services to a member of the public, namely P, without having complied with the practising requirements in paragraphs 202(a) to 202(d) of the Bar’s Code of Conduct which by virtue of its nature, degree, repetition and/or combination with the matters set out in charge 2 was so serious as to be likely to bring the Bar into disrepute.

Andrew Bousfield between 28 October 2007 and 23 February 2008 engaged in conduct which was discreditable to a barrister and/or likely to diminish public confidence in the legal profession or otherwise brought the legal profession into disrepute, contrary to paragraph 301(a)(i) and/or (iii) of the Bar’s Code of Conduct, by engaging in correspondence which in its tone and content was abrasive, intemperate, unprofessional, insulting and/or discourteous, namely letters/e.mails dated :

(a) 29 October 2007 where he accused M&J solicitors of “attempting to enshrine clear lies in nasty legal proceedings” and asserted that correspondence in relation to a Compromise Agreement was an “attempt by W to cajole and bully far beyond his legal remit in attempting to add phrases which pervert the truth. Such intellectual thuggery would not be acceptable in London….As such, I can only conclude that clause 11 is further evidence of a recognisable pattern of behaviour on the part of W, namely using the law to bully and cajole”,

(b) 10 January 2008 to S of the Trust where he asserted that the “Trust has received top marks in lying and deceiving” and alleged that “promises to keep information confidential is nothing but a deception, and borderline lie” and,

(c) 7 February 2008 to S where he asserted that the “conduct of the Trust [was] equivalent to having a Girl Guides Troupe running a hospital” which was “disgraceful” and described a Trust document as a “bullying ‘action plan’ which looked as though it had been drafted by teenage women”.
Charges 1 & 2 Reprimanded

Costs: £1,513
Date of Decision: 16th June 2011
Status: Final
Click here to return to the search

Related Links

1, Andrew loses Cornish Whistleblowing case.

2. Journalist Linked to Higher Fine for Whistleblower.

3. HSJ - A Fascinating Account. 

4. More scores to settle. No ball.


Pay Out Victory

Pal v General Medical Council, Sarah Bedwell, Peter Lynn and Catherine Green [2004] was the first of its kind. The particulars of claim were initially drafted by my side without lawyers. The initial application for full disclosure and an adjournment was rejected and Mckenna J at the Birmingham District Registry of the High Court decided to slap me with a high costs bill. This is despite the fact that an adjournment was granted on the grounds that the General Medical Council had failed to disclose their bundles to me on time. Field Fisher Waterhouse and Jane Collier represented the General Medical Council with amazing zest. Their ambush of me in the first hearing was returned with double toppings in the final hearing. 

Richard Price and Robert Jay QC represented me for the final hearing. They were expensive lawyers. Even though we won, I don't believe that they were very good lawyers really. We edited Jay's skeleton repeatedly, I made the bundles for the hearing while both lawyers earned a packet. I as though grateful that Robert's QC title got the judges attention and our arguments presented by him won the day. This legal team did not complete the case as they insisted on short changing me. 

Finally, it was Baljinder Sahota who ran to the finishing line with his legal tactics. The final outcome was reported by the Mercury in the Midlands. It was the only newspaper to have mentioned it. The article can be downloaded here. 

This was the first and only case in the history of the General Medical Council where the GMC had been sued directly for breaches of the Data Protection Act, The Human Rights Act and Defamation.

The General Medical Council insisted they would have won. Of course, their crowings fell on deaf ears much like their large overinflated costs bill. The GMC did not appeal the case possibly because they will have known that any appeal was doomed to fail. 


R v General Medical Council Ex Parte Pal 2009

This was the first test case regarding the function of the Registrar. This case was brought to improve the GMC's administrative functions. We felt that the test at the first stage was not robust enough to protect against vexatious complaints. This case originated from two complaints made by a known group of msbp campaigners. I had campaigned and assisted on the David Southall case and was sadly caught in the quagmire he had fallen into many years ago.

The first was made by Penny Mellor and the second by Fiona Woolard. Mellor's history can be reviewed here. She was also heavily featured in the BMJ. What is interesting about this test case is this, Mellor's misunderstanding and lack of knowledge filtered to the minds of those assessing the complaint. As many will see, there was an adject failure by the GMC to assess whether or not I could use the term "psychiatrist" and whether or not a "Link" on the internet was a breach of confidentiality. The best summary of the facts of the case was outlined by the Register

The case also demonstrates that the GMC may regularly treat two doctors in a diametric opposite manner. On identical facts concerning the "link", the General Medical Council discarded the complaint below. This can be compared to the judgment by Collins J featured here. It should also be noted that the General Medical Council used a different test for me to the one in R v General Medical Council Ex Parte Remedy UK. To put it more simply, it appears that two caucasian doctors are treated more leniently than a British Asian doctor. This may be coincidental. Nevertheless, it is a distinct finding that the General Medical Council is incapable of treating doctors equally. The GMC's own website states that accountable regulation has the following traits "Respect the principles of good regulation: proportionality, accountability, consistency, transparency and targeting". 

It should be noted that due to the new disclosure rules [ the complaint being disclosed to all employers], my fragile medical career came to a standstill.

For avoidance of doubt, despite inordinate amounts of work for the child protection issue and David Southall, PACA's supported  Kim Holt. They failed to support the above case publicly. Following the above case, the General Medical Council decided to include a vexatious policy in 2009. PACA though decided to take the unilateral credit for it as featured by the BMJ.  The effort was actually bilateral. My legal team and I had been debating the change of rules related to Rule 4 with the General Medical Council since 2007. This legal point was never debated by PACA .

General Medical Council's Response in a identical complaint. 

Dear Mr Kilkenny

Our ref E1-9HY14

Thank you for your email about Dr Aubrey Blumsohn. I am sorry for
the delay in our response.

Our Fitness to Practise procedures focus on the most serious
concerns,which call into question a doctor's fitness to practise and right
to retain unrestricted registration - that is his or her right to
work. In many cases, concerns about a doctor can best be considered at a
local level, by the doctor's employer.

We have carefully considered the information you provided and
understand your reasons for writing to us. However, we have decided that this
is not a matter that justifies action under our procedures, as the
doctor's profession is incidental to the issue you have raised with us.
You have suggested that Dr Blumsohn has breached confidentiality by
including a link on his website to another website containing
information relating to a BPS hearing. It would appear that in
these circumstances any breach of confidentiality has been committed by
the owner/operator of the website on which the information appears. In
any case, the information posted on the website does not relate to a
patient of Dr Blumsohn and is therefore outside our guidance on

As the issue you have raised does not appear to have any bearing on
Dr Blumsohn's ability to practise medicine we are therefore unable to
take action on your complaint.

Yours sincerely

Tim Cox-Brown
Investigation Officer
Fitness to Practise Directorate
Direct Line: 0161 923 6427
Fax: 0161 923 6578

- -----Original Message-----
Sent: 15 Jul 2007 00:03
To: GMC Fitness to Practise
Subject: Dr Aubrey Blumsohn

Hash: SHA1

Dear Sir,
I wish to make a complaint against Dr Aubrey Blumsohn (GMC number
3366141). I understand that this doctor owns and administers the
Scientific Misconduct website (http://www.scientificmisconduct.
In the posting "Am I Normal? More on the case of Lisa Blakemore
more-on-case-of-lisa.html) Dr Blumsohn includes a link to a
website called Furious Seasons, on which is contained confidential
material from a hearing of the British Psychological Society.
I understand that doctors working in the UK are obliged to maintain
confidentiality, and I cannot see how this is compatible with
publication of confidential minutes of a BPS Fitness to Practise

If you require any further information please do not hesitate to
contact me. In the meantime, I anticipate that you will want to take this
up with Dr Blumsohn as a matter of urgency.

Yours faithfully,

Kevin Kilkenny.



In R v General Medical Council Ex Parte Pal 2009, Mark Shaw QC argued that I had "resigned" from my locum post following the GMC investigation. Of course, Shaw QC had run off to the Trust to extract what I would call an outright dishonesty. Dr Monteiro Consultant and Clinical Lead with his MD decided to support the GMC's case. Of course, the problem with Shaw, Choong and Monteiro is that they failed to note one point - that there was a paper trail detailing the "Firing". 

Despite the fact that the paperwork [ verified by an ET Chairman] outlined the origin of the end of the contract [ from the Trust], Shaw QC decided to create a cloud of uncertainty by using a statement from Dr Monteiro. The statement stated that I had resigned. Of course, no one was able to produce a resignation letter. Anyhow, the tale is described here

The doctors at Worcestershire Mental Health Trust were subsequently subject to a GMC investigation for dishonesty in a court document. 

This was how Mark Shaw QC tried to establish that the case was academic and that I had suffered no detriment. Reality though is beginning to dawn on the General Medical Council and Shaw. 


GMC Legal Team

Numerous doctors have complained about the GMC's legal team. I am sure they believe they are simply trying to do their job but life gets a bit difficult for them when so many doctors keep referring them to the Solicitors Regulatory Body. 

Following R v GMC Ex Parte Pal, there were a number of casualties. One GMC solicitor argued two diametrically opposite versions of "misconduct" in two different cases in court. The result was R v GMC Ex Parte Pal and R v GMC Ex Parte Remedy UK. This shows us that the GMC can and do mislead the court as and when its suits them. 

GMC Legal were also responsible for "inventing" my resignation from Worcestershire Mental Health Trust. They felt that "inventing" my resignation would lessen the duty of care upon the GMC. By saying that I had resigned, the courts could say "Ah its her fault" not the GMCs. In that way, the GMC could appear squeaky clean and be blameless. The truth though is that they investigated me needlessly and it resulted in a complete assassination of my livelihood by forcing me to declare the investigation on my application forms and leaving a question mark upon the resignation/fired issue. There was no question mark according to the paperwork. It was one invented by the GMC. They harnessed their own witnesses to create their fictional case. 

Overall, I believe the GMC Legal Team fails more doctors and patients while wasting funds. 


GMC " A Medical Director isn't responsible for the actions of his/her subordinates"

The last episode of the GMC Soap can be read here. It all revolves around the question created by Mark Shaw QC. Was I fired or did I resign from Worcestershire Mental Health Trust? The paperwork show that beyond reasonable doubt, I was fired. Mark Shaw QC with his witnesses in tow say something else. On of the witnesses was Dr William Monteiro. The story continues here....

On January 2011, the General Medical Council ruled that Dr Steve Choong, Ex Medical Director, Ex Plab Examiner, Ex GMC Panelist was not responsible for the actions of Dr William Monteiro, Clinical Lead at Worcestershire Mental Health Trust. To recap, counsel for the GMC, Mr Mark Shaw QC decided to take an adjournment mid case to obtain a statement from William Monteiro. This is called "case fixing" for those who are not familiar with legal tactics. This means, the GMC invents a position then creates the evidence to fit said position. Having done so, Shaw advertised the statement all around the courts. It should be noted that the GMC kept throwing the Choong complaint out repeatedly until R v GMC Ex Parte Pal was used to push it through the investigation. Having done so, the GMC were weaving another argument to screen it out. The decision isn't unexpected but the politics involved is superbly interesting. 

The buck passing was detailed by the Libertarian blog sometime ago. It was in the GMC's interest to propagate the idea that I had resigned. They needed to win the judicial review by pulling the wool over the judges eyes. On of their arguments to deny the case a remedy was the fact it was "academic". To them, a allegation of "resignation" would make the case "academic". Of course, whatever the GMC say, fiction on their part cannot become fact.  The fact that there was no resignation letter or evidence of resignation was  interesting. The fact that a Tribunal Chairman stated that the end of the contracted originated from the Trust was another interesting fact.

At the time of the case, Choong had been a GMC panelist and much much more. During the GMC's investigation of him, he kept dropping one post after another. I can of course understand why the GMC would wish to save one of their own. It is though the manner in which they do it that amuses me. The GMC assumes that they are far far more intelligent than us mere mortals. They look at themselves in the mirror and snarl " Mirror Mirror on the Wall, who is the most intelligent one of them all". Their lawyers shout " Us, Us, Us". Of course, life is never as simple for those who spend more time obstructing the truth than upholding it. 

It should be noted that there was evidence of discussions between Steve Choong, William Monteiro and Human Resources. Each had gone through the paperwork of the human resources file as admitted by documentation. The file by the way has now been  cleverly disposed of by the Trust :). This has apparently happened by accident.  Rather convenient :). 

Further more, letters had been copied to Steve Choong. Choong made no efforts to correct the position propagated by the Trust and Monteiro within court documents. Either I had resigned or I was fired. If I had resigned, where were the documents to prove this? No documents were available.   Despite all this evidence, Choong insisted that he should not be held responsible for the statement made by Dr William Monteiro [according to Monteiro, this was done with the consent of the Trust]. The GMC subsequently believed their ex panelist. 

Of course, we have always known that the GMC uses special tests for issues related to me. The above case is a further example of a special test. Despite common knowledge that all Medical Directors are responsible for their subordinates [ GMC v Roylance], the GMC ruled that this special medical director was not responsible for the conduct of those he was in charge of. 

I have recently pointed the GMC to Rule 53 of the Doctors and Managers Guidance. . This is what the guidance states 

"53. When you delegate your managerial responsibilities you must be sure that the person to whom you delegate is competent to do what is asked of them and has the necessary information, authority and resources. You will still be responsible for the overall management of the tasks you have delegated"

As the GMC admitted that Dr Choong did not supervise Dr Monteiro, a new complaint was thrown back into the General Medical Council so they could acutely be aware of their own stupidity. The GMC's legal team has no answer to the Rule 53 issue especially the last line. There is a lot of hot air floating around the General Medical Council at present :). 


Friends and Enemies

After 4 years of wrangling over disputes, I decided to ask the GMC whether we should all approach the courts for a judicial decision on their efforts to mislead. Over the years, I have collected a fair amount of data on the General Medical Council. I am not quite sure why they are hell bent on making enemies out of doctors but there we go. It is part of the GMC's dysfunctional outlook on life. 

So I have offered them as follows

1. To settle the dispute on whether I resigned or was fired during their pointless investigation of me in 2007. As I have paperwork showing I was fired, I often wonder what the GMC will wave in court. Perhaps they will roll into court with yet another consultant who is willing to fabricate evidence for them. 

2. The GMC told a number of people under FOIA that it is not up to the doctor under investigation to inform their Trust of said investigation - it was up to the GMC. In my case though, the GMC offered a dastardly message to the Trust. Apparently, I was under an obligation to inform the Trust of the 2007 at the start of the investigation. I showed the GMC the memo from the Trust. The GMC denied ever stating it but had cleverly lost the telephone memo. All telephone memos existed for the investigation bar that one. They then attempted to mislead me through email. Its amazing what they say to other people though. The fact is there was no obligation on me to inform the Trust. The GMC had already informed them 4 days before I knew about the investigation - afterall the Trust had contacted the GMC to find out what my "investigatory status was". The GMC denies that my name disappeared from the Register. It did though disappear and this was the reason for the Trust contact with the GMC. The GMC continues to shimmy around this subject. 

3. Rule 53 of the Management of Doctors Guidance. The GMC denies that the Medical Director in my case was responsible for the delegated managerial tasks conducted in his name. The rule states quite the opposite. This is really about William Monteiro citing that I had resigned when the paperwork showed I had been fired. He didn't just cite it anywhere - he cited it in court. That is where times become a little precarious for all concerned.

I felt the need to document the above. It is only because no one fully realises the utter stupidity of the GMC. These are people who are supposed to protect patients yet they find it difficult to be honest in three points. Each point above is evidenced to the hilt. The GMC have now continued this charade for four years. I wonder how long they plan on continuing this game of hide and seek for. It is coming to a point where I feel that the three disputes should be resolved by a judge. Don't get me wrong - I like playing hide and seek but after a while, its time to do other things in life. 

In the end, the GMC keeps making its own enemies by being obstructive. Each day another doctor is treated with contempt. I am not quite sure why they cannot be honest, fair and reasonable. It doesn't hurt to be nice. Afterall, bar the fact the GMC hates the ground I walk on, what do they achieve by being obstructive. More doctors start to observe them and say " hey, is this what we are paying for"? The GMC is plagued at present with doctors suing them at the Employment Tribunals. Perhaps if the GMC were reasonable, so many of us would not be challenging them. 

My reason for challenging the GMC is four fold

1. I want to demonstrate how obstructive and unreasonable they are.
2. I want to demonstrate the fact that their negligence costs livelihoods and patient lives. 
3. I am unable to work in the NHS. The GMC might say it is no loss to them. It is though a loss to members of the public who had no objections to me working. So while, the NHS whines about doctors who cannot speak English, at least 5 of my friends and I are ex-communicated out of the NHS for no particular reason. The GMC remains indifferent to our livelihoods despite the profession of medicine being a civil right. 
4. The GMC must be legitimately criticized and challenged to improve it for generations to come. This is why there must be equality of standards, transparency, honesty and decency within our regulatory body. 



One of the main problems with the General Medical Council is their personality dysfunction. It is an organisational trait. The General Medical Council have never been very helpful. The only exception is Mark Ellen of the Information Team. Apart from that, those of us who have had the misfortune of dealing with the GMC, also have to tolerate the sheer shameless obstructive behaviour. Their legal team is masterful at this art. You ask them a question, they either answer something else or hope you have forgotten the original question asked. This technique is really done to make matters lengthier and more complex. Take the resignation/fired issue. It is a relatively simple issue yet the General Medical Council continue to stir it in their cauldron in many forms about 4 years later. 

The GMC has no insight into its failings. This is why it never improves. It spends its life judging others yet fail miserably to address its own flaws of which they have many. It is quite sad that they have this trait because if they were able to listen, address concerns and improve, they would be a excellent regulatory body. Anyhow, they never did accept that Shipman was their fault. They will never accept that their procedures are much like the totalitarian regime. If anyone gets justice, its purely accidental. The GMC fails to set an example to others. They fail to garner respect or assist those in need. This is why it is a failing regulatory body. It has failed the public and good doctors. Unfortunately, it continues to rule supreme untouched by the criticisms and justified challenges by many doctors and patients. 



The Press Complaints Commission recently considered a request by me related to the British Medical Journal. The Journal edited by Fiona Godlee has sadly be unable to capture its former years of respect and accuracy. The PCC ruled that the BMJ was in breach of Clause 1 - ACCURACY. The PCC though also ruled that it was happy with the pitiful sentence offered by Jane Smith. I rejected this in favour of my own correction developed by the team who were the first to challenge the Registrars decision at the General Medical Council. 

The Article concerned is referred to here - When is a Doctor Not a Doctor. The audience reading this website will understand quite clearly that four English individuals - one educated in Cambridge [ Fiona Godlee] and the rest raised in this country failed to READ or ANALYSE the meaning of the case correctly. Godlee kindly pointed out that B stands for British. It is rather ironic that these "BRITISH" individuals fail to READ what is right in front of them.

It was left to a member of the ethnic minority to point it out to them in bright neon lights. Even after pointing it out, each failed to understand the meaning of the case. The PCC was just as lost as the BMJ and each organisation failed to seek legal advice. Nevertheless, they do exist in their own Ivory Tower and the least we can do is provide these towers with the oxygen of publicity they deserve. The PCC made no comment about Jane's Smith's embarrassing admission in a journal that prides itself in scientific accuracy. Perhaps the PCC is of the view that the BMJ does not need to check references for all articles published. 

1. During the complaint regarding the above, the BMJ admitted that it routinely did not check references [ see below].
2. That means a Legal Lecturer and a Consultant Anaesthetist, failed to read, check the case R v GMC Ex Parte Pal or interpret it correctly.

This is my correction. Obviously, the PCC and BMJ have refused to feature it online. It isn't my problem if each of these organisations have  suboptimal intellectual understanding when it comes to accuracy and legal theory. Anyhow, here is my correction and it is far more meaningful than the BMJ's offering.

"The following passage in this article: “But this assertion (which is disputed by RemedyUK) cannot be reconciled with another GMC case, upheld by a High Court judge,[6] where it was ruled that a doctor who was no longer engaged in medical practice should nevertheless be investigated for possible misconduct after she had written something on a blog unrelated to medicine” refers to a High Court case (reference 6: The Queen on the application of Rita Pal v GMC [2009] EWHC 1061) brought by Dr Rita Pal.

Dr Pal has asked us to clarify that at the time of the complaint mentioned in the court judgement she was engaged in medical practice; that the complaint was not about something she had “written” on a blog but about a link to another site that she had included in one blog posting; and that since the blog (which was called “NHS Exposed”) discussed a wide variety of medico-legal issues, the blog was indisputably related to medicine, but not to her duties as a practising doctor.

In light of these factual errors, the original passage may more helpfully have read, “But this assertion (which is disputed by RemedyUK) cannot be reconciled with another GMC case, upheld by a High Court judge,[6] where it was ruled that the GMC's Registrar need only consider  that (in their opinion) the allegations made in a complaint could amount to misconduct in order for that complaint to proceed to a full investigation by the GMC's Case Examiners - the need for the allegations to impinge on the doctor's fitness to practise as a medical practitioner wasn't even mentioned in this case.”

We apologise to Dr Pal for any inconvenience or embarrassment this error may have caused". 


From: Jane Smith []
Sent: 02 December 2010 09:46
To: Charlotte Dewar
Subject: Ref 105661
Dear Ms Dewar

I am responding to your letter of 26 November to Dr Godlee, which arrived in our office on 1 December.

Firstly I must apologise to Dr Pal that she did not get a response from us to her email of 17 November. Dr Pal will know that she has sent us several emails recently and they take some time to deal with. Nevertheless, we should have acknowledged her email of 17 November because we were in fact dealing with it.

Dr Godlee passed Dr Pal’s email to me to deal with; I spent some time reading the article and the reference it cited, and Dr Pal’s email. I then had a short holiday and a short period of illness, and as a consequence got rather behind with my work, including this email from Dr Pal. I was actually just about get round to responding to Dr Pal this week.

The conclusion that I came to on reading the article and the passage that Dr Pal referred to and the reference that it cites was that Dr Pal had a point, but that her claim that the conclusion was utterly wrong seemed too strong. I was also not clear from her email why she was making so strong a statement.

Dr Pal also claims that the editor had prior knowledge of the case and failed to check the judgement. Neither the editor nor any of her staff had any specific knowledge of this case. I should also point out that we do not routinely check all the references that our authors cite in their articles. Our policy is to be liberal with letters to the editor and corrections when something is wrong or arguably interpreted.

So at the point when your letter arrived I was coming round to the conclusion that the best option would be for Dr Pal to respond in a letter to this article.

In fact her complaint to you clarifies that she is in fact concerned about three factual inaccuracies. None are entirely straightforward, so we would still suggest that Dr Pal sends a letter in response to the article.

They all relate to one passage in the article by Gooderham and Dewar at

"But this assertion (which is disputed by RemedyUK) cannot be reconciled with another GMC case, upheld by a High Court judge,[6] where it was ruled that a doctor who was no longer engaged in medical practice should nevertheless be investigated for possible misconduct after she had written something on a blog unrelated to medicine"

The first inaccuracy Dr Pal claims is that she was engaged in medical practice (contrary to what the authors say). It does seem from the administrative court judgement [reference 6] that at the time of the complaint she was engaged in medical practice, but the same document also shows that at some stage during the GMC’s consideration of the complaint and before it had been dismissed she became not engaged in medical practice.

The second inaccuracy is that Dr Pal had not “written something on a blog” as the authors say but had linked to another site. I think that might be a rather fine distinction, lost on most of our readers. The administrative court judgement that the authors were citing used the term that she had “referred” in her blog to a record of proceedings held before a committee of the BPS that enabled those to go to the record. Since the authors of the BMJ article probably didn’t have access to the blog itself, I think they have assumed it was “written” – and in a loose sense a link is “written on a blog”: it’s certainly there to be read. I’m also not sure what hangs on the issue of whether it was words that were written or a link inserted.

The third inaccuracy is that the blog was related to medicine. Again that is additional information that Dr Pal has, that was not available to the authors of this article. If their source was the administrative court judgement all they knew was that the subject of the referred-to website was the issue of fitness to practise of a psychologist. It’s not inevitable that the fitness to practice related to medical fitness.

Clearly, however, Dr Pal’s information in her email does to some extent weaken the point the authors were trying to make.

In these circumstances we think the best option is for Dr Pal to write a letter making the point that she was practising as a doctor at the time of the complaint and pointing out information that may not have been entirely clear to the authors. The most important of these is that in her blog she was “referring to” an issue related to medicine because it was about the person’s mental health. If she thinks it important to specify that it was a link and not her own words that was the subject of the complaint then that is fine too. She might also want to point out that although the GMC’s registrar did make a preliminary investigation of some of these complaints and refer them to the cases examiner the complaints were thrown out by the cases examiners.

Alternatively we could publish a correction that said that Dr Pal was working as a doctor at the time of the complaint. The other points seem less amenable to a factual correction and the authors of the article may not agree to them. We’d therefore suggest a letter is preferable.

Your sincerely

Jane Smith
Deputy editor, BMJ

My response
18th December 2010

Dear Ms Dewar,

Thank you for your email dated 3rd December 2010, in which you responded to my complaint against the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and enclosed a response from Ms Smith, a Deputy Editor of the BMJ. I have now had an opportunity to review both your suggestions and Ms Smith's response, and have set out my comments below, beginning with those pertaining to Ms Smith's submissions.

1. I am pleased to note that Ms Smith feels able to acknowledge at least one factual inaccuracy in the published article, and has offered to print a correction. Although far from adequate, this is a step in the right direction, and suggests that an amicable resolution may, eventually, be possible. Unfortunately, it is seriously undermined by a number of Ms Smith's other comments, which are, I fear, fairly typical examples of the BMJ's Cavalier attitude towards accuracy and integrity.

(a) I am sure you will have noticed that the article in question was by Gooderham and Marks, not, as Ms Smith asserts in her email to you, Gooderham and Dewar.

(b) With respect to the BMJ's delay in responding to my correspondence, it should be noted that:

i. Dr Godlee and I were in regular communication by email during the relevant period. She responded to other matters, but failed to address the issue under consideration here.

ii. The BMJ employs no less than three Deputy Editors and three Associate Editors. I find it extraordinary that none of these individuals were able to respond to my email. Indeed, it suggests to me that either the complaint handling system in place at the BMJ is unfit for purpose, or my complaint was considered unimportant. In either case, delays like this have considerable impact upon anyone attempting to seek a resolution to defamatory or inaccurate material.

(c) Ms Smith claims that the BMJ does not routinely check all the references that authors cite in their articles. I have not had sight of any of the BMJ's internal policy documents that could support this disturbing claim, and I find it extremely difficult to believe for a number of reasons.

i. The BMJ's own website states, “The BMJ’s vision is to be the world’s most influential and widely read medical journal. Our mission is to lead the debate on health and to engage, inform, and stimulate doctors, researchers, and other health professionals in ways that will improve outcomes for patients. We aim to help doctors to make better decisions”.

ii. How could the BMJ hope to fulfil any of these lofty aspirations if it does not routinely check references in the articles it publishes? A flagship journal must be – and be seen to be – unfailingly accurate, and it is very difficult to see how it could hope to be influential, widely read and help doctors make better decisions when its editorial staff freely admit to publishing unverified material as “fact”.

iii. Such behaviour is both damaging to researchers, who are entitled to rely upon the veracity of material published in an authoritative journal such as the BMJ, and dangerous to members of the public, who are equally entitled to trust material published in the BMJ, but are less likely to be in a position to notice fallacies and inaccuracies.

iv. Moreover, in my experience, such a lackadaisical attitude is unique amongst all the other publications that I have written for. Editors of even the smallest publications insist upon checking articles and references for factual inaccuracies prior to publication, and it seems most unlikely to me that the BMJ could afford to be any different in this regard.

v. On the other hand, if Ms Smith's claim is, indeed, representative of the BMJ's operating procedure, it seems to me that this supposedly-reputable journal is displaying a grossly arrogant, negligent attitude, and placing both the public and the medical profession at risk in the process.

(d) Ms Smith further states, “Dr Pal also claims that the editor had prior knowledge of the case and failed to check the judgement. Neither the editor nor any of her staff had any specific knowledge of this case”. I am horrified that Ms Smith feels able to make such a blatantly incorrect statement. As you will see from the documents set out in enclosures 1,2 and 3, I wrote to Dr Godlee, in her capacity as Editor of the BMJ, regarding R v General Medical Council Ex Parte Pal on 16th March 2009. I enclosed a copy of the pre-action documents, which contained full details of the case in question. She responded on the 16th March 2009 [to the first email of that day], saying, “Dear Rita, thanks for this information. Let me check with colleagues. One of us will get back to you. Please do send a rapid response as well. Best wishes, Fiona”.

(e) Clearly, the editorial staff were fully aware of the case, despite Ms Smith's claims to the contrary. I can only assume that Ms Smith's denial is either a further example of appalling editorial incompetence or an equally incompetent – and, indeed, downright dishonest – attempt to mislead you and discredit the allegation I have made.

(f) With respect to my complaint, Ms Smith says “The conclusion that I came to on reading the article and the passage that Dr Pal referred to and the reference that it cites was that Dr Pal had a point, but that her claim that the conclusion was utterly wrong seemed too strong. I was also not clear from her email why she was making so strong a statement.” It is difficult to know where to begin when faced with such an obtuse interpretation of the article, passage and reference, and, indeed, I cannot help wondering whether, even now, Ms Smith has actually read, much less understood, the material she purports to have read.

i. I am gratified that Ms Smith now acknowledges that, contrary to the wording of the article, I was engaged in medical practice at the material time. This, at least, appears to be beyond her capacity to dispute, although I am disappointed by her attempt to mitigate the earlier error by pointing out that I subsequently ceased to be so engaged before the GMC had dismissed the complaint against me; the whole point of the case set out in the reference that she claims to have read was to determine whether or not the GMC's Registrar was correct in choosing to progress the complaint against me from initial consideration by the Registrar to more detailed consideration by the GMC's Case Examiners. At the time that decision was made, I was engaged in medical practice – whether or not that engagement persisted beyond the Registrar's decision is irrelevant to the point under consideration.

ii. For the avoidance of doubt, I should point out that a doctor need not be engaged in medical practice in order to be subject to the GMC's Fitness to Practise procedures. As long as a doctor's name appears on the Medical Register (a list of doctors entitled to practice, the maintenance of which is the GMC's primary function), their conduct is bound by the terms of Good Medical Practice, the GMC's guidelines on acceptable behaviour for doctors. This is true regardless of whether the doctor in question is working as a doctor, is serving on the checkout in their local Tesco, or, indeed, is not working at all.

iii. When the GMC receives a complaint about an individual whose name appears upon the Medical Register, an essential element of the Registrar's initial consideration of that complaint is to determine whether the behaviour complained of is capable of amounting to misconduct, and, if so, whether that misconduct impinges upon the doctors ability to practice medicine. It is upon this consideration that the Registrar's decision to progress or dismiss a complaint must turn.

iv. Ms Smith's inability to fathom the difference between “writing something on a blog” and publishing a link to another website is somewhat disturbing. She suggests that this is a “fine distinction, lost on most of our readers”, but, in reality, I suspect she is merely defining her own incomprehension, for the two are, in truth, quite different, both practically and legally. Furthermore, I suggest that the distinction would not be lost on any of the many doctors who both operate their own blogs and are likely to read (or have read) the article in question. The BMJ has an obligation to provide accurate information to those who will understand it, and may even rely upon it, even if the subtleties of that information are lost upon the publication's administrative staff.

v. Ms Smith appears to be equally confused about the nature of the blog in question. She writes, “The third inaccuracy is that the blog was related to medicine. Again that is additional information that Dr Pal has, that was not available to the authors of this article. If their source was the administrative court judgement all they knew was that the subject of the referred-to website was the issue of fitness to practise of a psychologist. It’s not inevitable that the fitness to practice related to medical fitness.”

vi. Again, the scope of Ms Smith's confusion is disturbing. The blog that was related to medicine was my blog, not, as Ms Smith appears to think, the website to which I published a link – I am at a total loss as to why Ms Smith should think otherwise, in the context of Gooderham and Marks' article (“it was ruled that a doctor who was no longer engaged in medical practice should nevertheless be investigated for possible misconduct after she had written something on a blog unrelated to medicine”). Nonetheless, this confusion clearly demonstrates the inherent ambiguity of the article, and strongly suggests that further correction is in order.

vii. Furthermore Ms Smith makes a number of assumptions with regard to the authors' knowledge at the time the article was prepared. Again, for the avoidance of doubt, I can confirm that

A. Richard Marks is a long term acquaintance of mine. We have discussed both the Remedy UK case and my case in great depth, and he was given ALL of my legal documents as my case was cited through the permission and final hearing of the Remedy UK case. It is, therefore, unacceptable, unscientific and unprofessional of Ms Smith to make claims on his behalf.

B. Peter Gooderham, a qualified lawyer, has known of my case since 2007, clearly indicating that he has had ample opportunity to seek more information that the administrative court judgement that Ms Smith so eagerly assumes to be the source of his misunderstanding.

viii. Taking these points together, it is difficult to see how Ms Smith could consider the extract in question (“it was ruled that a doctor who was no longer engaged in medical practice should nevertheless be investigated for possible misconduct after she had written something on a blog unrelated to medicine”) to be anything other than utterly wrong: I WAS engaged in medical practice, (and even if I had not been, that would have had no relevance as long as my name was on the Medical Register), I DID NOT write the material complained of, but instead published a link to another, 3rd party website containing the material in question, and the blog on which I published the link WAS related to medicine. A more complete misrepresentation of the true situation would extremely difficult to achieve.

(g) I am sure you will appreciate that, having faced a baseless enquiry into my professional conduct, it is extremely unpleasant, not to say downright distressing, for me to see the circumstances of that investigation blatantly misrepresented in one of the foremost medical journals. Such is the reputation of the BMJ that its portrayal of events will be taken at face value, leaving me with the unenviable task of contradicting a leading journal whenever I need to correct misunderstandings.

(h) Of even more concern to me, however, is the wrong impression this material creates for other doctors – particularly doctors who operate blogs or other forms of publication, especially if they, too, are facing a GMC investigation into their blogging activities. Such doctors are likely to be even more technically inclined than their colleagues, and will almost certainly research their predicament via the internet. Their researches will lead them to the (allegedly) authoritative BMJ, and the flawed article by Gooderham and Marks. Of course, they may notice the errors in the article of their own accord, or they may not rely upon the article at all, but that cannot be guaranteed. The BMJ has an obligation to provide accurate information to those who may seek it, and cannot excuse blatant errors by claiming that the subtleties of the situation will be lost on most readers – or, to put it another way, nobody will notice, so it doesn't matter if the article is factually incorrect and creates entirely the wrong impression.

2. Turning to your comments and suggestions, I note Ms Smith's proposal for publishing a correction regarding my engagement in medical practice at the material time and her proposal that I should write a letter setting out my position with respect to the other points I have raised, and I thank you for your offer to mediate such a letter. Unfortunately, I do not believe that such a solution would be entirely appropriate, as I have set out below:

(a) I welcome Ms Smith's offer to print a correction, but her suggestion that I should write a letter is not workable. Firstly, I have accepted such an offer to correct misunderstandings from the BMJ before, only to find that the letter, or online message (so-called Rapid Responses) is never published. Secondly, such a letter would imply a mere difference in interpretation of accepted facts between me and the authors, a matter of academic debate rather than the establishment of truth over falsity.

(b) This is, of course, not the case. When considered objectively, there can be no question that the material published in the BMJ was blatantly incorrect, and that the BMJ's response to my complaint has been disingenuous at best. During preparation of the article, the BMJ had a number of opportunities to ensure that it was correct:

i. It was open to the editorial team to read the judgement referred to with a view to ensuring the accuracy of the published article. This was, apparently, not done.

ii. It was open to the editorial team and / or the authors to contact me in order to verify the facts of the case. Such basic research is a given in other publications, and would have been easily achievable in this instance as I am known to both the authors and the editorial team, yet it was not done or, indeed, even suggested.

iii. It was open to the editorial team to obtain a legal opinion of the material presented if, as appears from Ms Smith's comments, it was beyond their own comprehension. Again, this was not done.

(c) Having failed to ensure accuracy before publication, the BMJ now appears to be avoiding accountability for its own errors by fobbing me off with an offer to write a letter. Needless to say, this is unacceptable.

(d) Instead, I suggest that the BMJ should publish:

i. an acknowledgement that the material complained of was incorrect; and

ii. an apology for the error; and

iii. a correction to the paragraph in question, along the lines of the facts set out above.

(e) This proposal is not too far removed from the BMJ's initial offer, and I am sure that both the journal and the authors would welcome the opportunity to set the record straight rather than continuing to mislead and misinform their readers. Perhaps, based upon your earlier offer, you would be willing to mediate on the precise wording of this correction?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Dr Rita Pal.

Dedicated to the petulant Richard Marks . Despite having access to my case papers, he failed to read them or understand the important relevance to ethnic minority doctors. When I asked him to correct his mishap, he felt it was unimportant. Then we could have all taken that stance when he asked for help on his own case against the GMC.