Messages about my retirement

Monday 21st October 2019.

Dear colleagues
With some sadness I have decided that I wish to retire early from Medicine. I have discussed this with my wife and family and they fully support my decision.

I am afraid that I can no longer reconcile my concerns about an over-medicated/medicalised world with my vocation.

I want to say how supported I have felt at St John’s with wonderful colleagues including all nurses, managers, and doctors.

My intentions are to continue doing voluntary work and to continue my projects as an artist (which give me much joy). I intend to fully leave Medicine and revoke my GMC registration. 

Kindest wishes

The following are some of the messages that I received at the time of retiring from the NHS after working for over 25 years. The messages are from NHS colleagues, patients, carers and from some of those who follow Hole Ousia and Omphalos:

“I would like to wish you all the best for your retirement, and to recognise the depth of your commitment to your patients and the NHS over the years, and also to your honesty and integrity in a world where both these qualities can be short in supply. I wish you well”

Professor Sir Simon Wessely former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and current President of the Royal Society of Medicine

So disappointed to see you go. Honesty and integrity are very uncommon these days. You possess both in abundance.

You are truly the most compassionate and able doctor that I have met. Psychiatry is losing a Legend who was always willing to fight for the best care for those who were suffering.

Peter Gordon to me and many others you are an absolute fearless ‘Hero’: anyone that swims against the tide is ‘punished’. Your patients will be the poorer for not having you as their doctor.

Your voice is one of reasoned debate and ethics and really it’s a travesty that the Royal College of Psychiatrists don’t embody that themselves and see what a treasure they have lost in you.

I am so sorry to learn that you are retiring. The NHS needs people like you.

You are the only honest and open minded Psychiatrist I have ever met. I am sorry that the profession drove you to leave

You have a vastly underrated ability to show genuine emotion in your views on the topics you have covered.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there aren’t many good or honourable people in the UK these days, and especially not in positions of influence, authority and power, but occasionally someone comes along who truly impresses me with their courage, honesty and determination to make the world a better place. Thank you for all you’ve done and all you’ve tried to do, and all the best for your retirement.

I am sad you are retiring.

I am sorry to hear this Peter and you will be missed from St John’s‎.

So sad to hear you will be leaving – all the staff will be devastated as you are held in such high regard due to your warmth and genuine caring for the patients.

I like the fact you are a gentle soul, you wouldn’t be Peter otherwise, it’s what has made you a good psychiatrist. The Royal College of Psychiatrists are so blind, they ought to have cherished you, not hounded you out.

Thank you for being an honourable man and an honourable Doctor.

Literally thousands …….thousands………….they all are thanking you Dr Peter Gordon

How badly you have been treated by your very own profession and how terribly you suffer from the very drugs that ought to help you. I wish you all the best. I’m sure you will thrive as an artist!

You have been our best ambassador and you have every reason to feel proud of what you have achieved and I humbly thank you for it.

I want to say that your leadership and activism has been inspiring and important to me. I have read dozens of your blogs and they have helped inform me about the territory I am now knee deep in.

You have been dignified and wise and courageous. You have been treated horribly by the College, for the simple fact of standing up and telling what has happened to you and what is the right thing to do.

You have provided leadership, and inspiration for many others, patients and doctors included. So thank you very much for all your efforts over the years to document and commentate on these events, and for all the efforts around putting forward the petition and the proposal for Sunshine Legislation. I do not think any of these efforts were in vain and some of the positive progress being made now has certainly been helped by what you have done.

I think you have done a fantastic job in all that you have tried to do, you have made an impact, I am sure of that but there are powerful forces opposing us all.

You have done a huge amount and it is time for you to be seeking out things in life that give you joy rather than ones that give you pain. So I wish you luck and joy in your next stage of life.

You retire on the 20th. I have always thought of you and known you as an artist. You are also a very skilled and dedicated doctor. I know this because we know our own. There is so much I want to say to you, but I think that should wait until we meet. You are my dearest friend and my world has been greatly enriched by my association with you.

Your activist attempts to make medicine more aligned with patients’ interests have not gone unnoticed.

Your creativity is truly inspiring. You have so much to offer the world.

I know that your decision to retire from medicine, will not have been taken lightly – it is a great loss to the NHS and to psychiatry. The accolades you have from patients speaks volumes about the quality of care and the compassion you have given, always in their best interests – you can retire, knowing you have done a sterling job. You are a very special doctor, whose integrity shines through, a very special person in every way and a very talented person in so many other ways too.

You should indeed be proud of all you have done, where so many have done nothing at all. Thank you for being you!

You will no longer be a doctor but you can take pride in the fact that you have been a very good doctor, who can say that you lived up to the basic aim of your profession; “First do no harm.”

I will miss your good company and chats.

I will be extremely sad to see you go – You have been an excellent support to me during both our time.

It has always been a joy to have you around and it has been good to have a colleague who has encouraged us to look at things in different ways – you have certainly raised my awareness of antidepressant withdrawal effects; and although you haven’t always felt supported by the college I think your input is not forgotten by them, and has helped fuel their increased interest in this area.

Thanks for all you have done and represent Peter

It’s been an encouragement engaging with you, especially during the challenging times of speaking out, campaigning, whistleblowing. Thank you for listening and sharing, treating me like an equal.

I’ve been thinking much about how you must feel. You’ve been abused by your colleagues simply because you believe in honest and open dialogue about real scientific data.

I hope you can continue holding dear your fond memories of helping patients through difficult times – and being an ethical voice of reason for those who have been prescribed harm or might be prescribed harm if not for the accurate info you’ve helped disseminate.

You are sorely missed by staff.

You’re a man of courage and many talents.

Over 25 years of consultant practice I had many trainees and I’m shocked by how few I could name now. I have the strongest and fondest memories of you as a young doctor though. Your goodness, kindness, personal warmth and generosity of spirit were evident at first encounter.

Go quietly then into this dark night – into a brighter dawn. It’s always hard to be a questioning voice! But such people are needed and change often results without any recognition of the force behind it! I admire you greatly.

I think it is appalling the way some mental health professionals treat others when we are meant to be part of a caring profession

I think is very admirable that you have questioned what we do in psychiatry and have found it disturbing the way that dissenting voices are shut down or dismissed.

How sad that speaking out against competing interests as you did ‎is seen as “difficult”. It feels like Psychiatry returning to its most shameful past – being used to suppress dissenting voices.

I have few words to say – just that I know for certain that I shall never work with a doctor as compassionate and understanding as you – one who is truly respected by those who matter most – our patients.

You made such a difference to so many people (staff and patients) I am saddened that you are retiring (for the patients) but also deeply happy for you. Looking forward to more of your artistic endeavours – another area that you excel in!

Thank you so much for posting the announcement of your upcoming retirement. It meant a great deal to people to hear that from you directly.

People are very grateful to you for your work over the years. As am I. I think you underestimate what it has meant to the “harmed community,” as well as your true colleagues and others working in mental health.

My pen is weak, my ink is pale, and my hand shakes like a puppy dog’s tail! (no doubt because of 91 years !) If only I was able to express my innermost and heartfelt feelings re. Peter Gordon. Truly one of the world’s most brilliant, resourceful, respected young man in his profession! He is able to make profound connections with others . .

Your work, and against extraordinary odds, to fight the case for evidence based, ethical psychiatry, and General Medical Council values, has been incredible.

Having known Dr Peter Gordon for several years I would like to say he is one of the finest, most caring and compassionate people in the NHS that I have ever met. If a voice such as his is not listened to then god help us!

Always remember that you made a real difference. Many years after you left our team, patients still ask after you.