Psychiatry: ‘Even in today’s enlightened age’

The above is a quote from Roy Porter a historian specialising in the history of medicine. It is an old quote as sadly Roy Porter died at a young age in 2002.

It is some weeks now since I resigned from the Royal College of Psychiatrists having been a member for almost a quarter of a century. My intention is to switch focus to my other areas of interest.

The following is a summary of the two main areas that I raised in my letter of resignation [it is my understanding that the Royal College of Psychiatrists does not intend to reply to this letter].

The first area of concern related to:

This College statement includes the following:

[In previous posts I have used information available in the public domain to construct visual summaries of the competing interests of some paid opinion leaders. I have done so in the spirit of the above College guidance]

The 2019 International Congress for the Royal College of Psychiatrists will take place in London this summer and the programme can be read here. In the following slideshow you will find academics, speakers and key opinion leaders some of whom have featured in previous Hole Ousia posts. It is to be hoped that the above recommendations will mean that there is full meaningful transparency in relation to any potential competing financial interests and that the public can access these in a simple, searchable way. What was available in the public domain for the International Congress for previous years can be accessed here.

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The second area of concern related to to College values:

The Queen said in her Christmas address, 2018:The following are statements made in the public domain by members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, usually referring to those who have expressed different views. Such statements can hardly be said to follow College values:

‘Run by zealots’; ‘[who] play fast and loose with the evidence’

‘Smug bullshit masquerading as wisdom not worthy of a sixth form magazine’ . . . ‘do the pages stick together I wonder?’

‘I bet her views go down like a turd in one’s margherita’

‘Embrace Year Zero. Intellectuals will be swept away. We will obey – Repeat 1000 times every day. The revolution is here. Welcome to the revolution. You WILL submit to the new reality. Down with the dominant narrative! On your knees! You must pass courses in anti-science, good-think, duck-speak. Forget everything you have ever learned, comrade. Welcome to year zero.’

‘I (and others) will not be silenced, baby!’

‘Shame on you all. You are a disgrace’

‘Helmets on (or should that be corsets) it’s another anti-psychiatry attack’

‘The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it’

‘Ah, it’s probably because you don’t know any neuroscience’

‘Really, with every [statement] you reveal a lack of knowledge. You would be better commentating on Armenian poetry’

‘It’s not even a debate. You guys just don’t know your stuff. Read, stop writing!’

‘I wish the criticals’ had someone who could think deeply and argue properly’

‘Why is it sometimes the most ill-informed are the most vocal?’

‘Almost wholly mince’’

‘Yes, an argument from a moral vacuum’

“[s/he] would not recognise a good philosophical argument even if it wore a T-shirt saying ‘good philosophical argument’ whilst tap dancing ‘I am a good philosophical argument’

Please note: context to these public statements can be provided.

Later this month, the President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists is giving a talk on the theme of ‘value and feeling valued’. Let us hope that in 2019 that greater understanding of different views can be achieved in an atmosphere of respect. It is particularly important that the College is seen to value the contributions of those who have experience of psychiatric treatment.



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