Response from the CEO of the Royal College of Psychiatrists

On the 9th August 2018 I sent this letter to Paul Rees, CEO of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (this is the link contained in the letter):

On the 28th August 2018 I sent a further letter (please note although this letter refers to social media, I am myself not on social media):

I have now received this e-mail from Mr Rees:

From: Paul Rees
Sent: 30 August 2018

Dear Dr Gordon

Thank you for your letters dated 9 and 26 August.

With regard to your letter dated 9 August, I note the points raised on the web page on

It is well known that many doctors, across all specialties, accept sponsorship from pharmaceutical companies, commonly to fund their vital and often ground-breaking research.

Best practice dictates that such clinicians should openly declare these monies, and it is because so many do that the details about the sponsorship they receive is in the public domain and can therefore be highlighted on public-facing websites.

Please note that this letter does not make any comment on the accuracy or otherwise of the blog to which you have referred me, or the rights of those referred to in the blog.

However, I do want to draw your attention to the College’s Code of Conduct (attached) which sets out the behaviour we expect of College members, employees and lay people and what they in turn can expect from others.

With regard to your letter dated 26 August, I would agree that everyone using social media should do so in a way that is respectful. Indeed, the College already encourages an environment of respectful debate. As such, the College’s Code of Conduct, alluded to above, says that one of the behaviours we expect from our members is ‘appropriate use of social media, as set out in the RCPsych’s Social Media Policy’.

I believe our President Wendy Burn is an excellent exemplar of how one should behave on social media, and I am pleased to see that you say she ‘has contributed [to social media debate] regularly and has done so politely and respectfully’.

Yours sincerely
Paul Rees

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