“Immoral Police”

Following my post of yesterday in which I shared concerns that have been expressed in relation to professional conduct on social media by some members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, one of those whose words I shared described me as an “immoral policeman”.

It saddens me that College Values may be considered “immoral” and that any oversight of these may be described as “policing”. The only reason that I bring College Values to public attention is because as a doctor, who is interested in ethics, I agree that professional values matter. Abandon our values and professionalism and trust will be eroded. Harm will result.

I have e-mailed the President and CEO of the Royal College of Psychiatrists about this matter and share this communication below. I am of the view that this is the ethically right thing to do:


From: Dr Peter J Gordon
Sent: 09 December 2019

Dear President and CEO of the Royal College of Psychiatrists,
I want to make you aware of the following post about social media behaviour of UK psychiatrists including this one that contains the words of a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

One of the reasons I do not get involved in Twitter is that original references get lost and I wanted to make sure that you are fully informed.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Peter J Gordon
GMC 3468861


From: BURN, Wendy (President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists)
Sent: 09 December 2019

Dear Peter
Twitter is great in some ways but is a very difficult environment for communication.

I strongly advise you to to appear openly on it as yourself or to ignore it.

Best wishes
Wendy


From: Dr Peter J Gordon
Sent: 09 December 2019
To: President Wendy Burn and CEO, Paul Rees

Dear Wendy,
Thank you for replying and for your advice.

I am sure you understand that I will not be joining Twitter (I do hope that you are not suggesting that I am on Twitter as an alias – as I am not and never have been). Perhaps you do not realise but you DO NOT need to have a Twitter account to be able to view public posts?

I am sure that all College members agree with the Core Values that are clearly set out by the College. It is important that these are not ignored.

Kind wishes Peter

As you know this was one of the issues that led me to resign from the College. I therefore shall be adding this communication to my website. I realise that you do not approve of this but maintaining core values is important to patients and professionals alike. I intend to be a voice who openly asks ethical questions.


From: BURN, Wendy (President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists)
Sent: 09 December 2019

Thanks Peter.
When you add this to your website please be clear that I am recommending that you join Twitter openly as yourself. I would never advise using an alias.

Best wishes
Wendy


From: Dr Peter J Gordon
Sent: 09 December 2019
To: President Wendy Burn and CEO, Paul Rees

Dear Wendy,
I do not have an alias. I really have no idea why you continue to suggest this. Ethics is one of my interests and I would never do this.

You have avoided answering the material question: as President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists are you of the view that these Twitter responses are fully compatible with College Core Values?

Kind wishes
Peter


 

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