“It’s BOOM time in Industry”

This is an unedited clip of a contribution made by Professor Michael Sharpe, Professor of Psychological Medicine at the University of Oxford. The Event marked the 50th Anniversary of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford. [To access film please click on the image/graphic below]The full coverage of the afternoon session of the 18th March 2019 can be watched here (thanks to The Mental Elf):

At this afternoon session Professor Michael Sharpe said: “. . . we live in the greatest of times . . . Mental Health is the rage. This is BOOM time! We have a PRODUCT that is selling like hotcakes everywhere. How are we going to make enough PRODUCT?” [capitalization is mine, but as I heard it] This statement by Professor Michael Sharpe was followed by laughter from the audience.

I have watched several of the sessions of this 50th Anniversary. I was struck by the language of commerce and the academic egocentricity.

As an everyday NHS doctor this academic world is unfamiliar to me.

The University of Oxford’s Department of Psychiatry alongside equivalent Departments, such as King’s College London and University College London have maintained the narrative of mental health (or otherwise).

I find myself in agreement with Professor Michael Sharpe that it is indeed “BOOM time” for “products” like you and I.

Update, 26th March 2019: Professor Michael Sharpe has been in touch with me by e-mail and he provides this context:

From: Michael Sharpe
Sent: 25 March 2019
Subject: curious misrepresentation

Dear Dr Gordon,

Thank you for you (mischievous) interest.

The context: The panel session was about training psychiatrists in general and academic psychiatrists in particular. My comment was intended to be a provocative question to a the panel about how they were going to meet the increasing NHS demand for psychiatrists when the number of academic psychiatrists providing their training is falling. It is absolutely nothing to do with industry.

Interesting that you choose to misrepresent it. No doubt you have good reasons

Kind regards

My response [please note I do not know Professor Michael Sharpe]:

Dear Professor Sharpe,
My interest was not “mischievous”. My interest was as a long term advocate for full transparency of competing interests.

Thank you for providing the context to what you describe as a “provocative question”. The language you used in your provocative question/statement was that of industry/commerce: words like “product” and “boom time”.

I did not “choose to misrepresent” what you said, I shared an unedited clip with my honest reflections on what I heard as a viewer and in the context of listening to a number of the presentations including that of Professor John Geddes.

As to your statement “no doubt you have good reasons”, well I am not sure what you mean? However I am concerned about the lack of full public transparency in relation to the University of Oxford’s Department of Psychiatry and its strategic partnerships with industry (The GMC Good Medical Practice guidelines are the context):

Perhaps you can send me the public link to the declarations of competing financial interests kept by the University of Oxford for all staff along with the public link to the Register of all financial details relating to the University’s strategic partnerships with industry.

Kind wishes

Dr Peter Gordon GMC 3468861

From: Michael Sharpe
Sent: 26 March 2019 07:42

Dear Dr Gordon,
Thank you

Three points

  1. I have no links with industry. None.
  2. I am not responsible for my colleagues or indeed for the University any more than you are for the NHS
  3. I am afraid I will not censor my language. It was a *joke*

Please remove your misleading webpage  – which may indeed have been an honest reflection – but which you now know is misleading.

Thank you

To: Michael Sharpe
Sent: 26 March 2019 08:07

Dear Professor Sharpe,
Thank you for this.

I have absolutely no intent to mislead.

In answer to your three points:

(1)          I have never said you had any links with Industry.

(2)          I agree that it is the scientific community and the medical establishment where the responsibility rests in terms of transparency of competing interests. You are in a genuine position of seniority within the University of Oxford to help here.

(3)          I have not asked you to “censor” your language. Jokes are fine. This joke was made at a recorded University of Oxford meeting about the Department you are a lead in. My interest was in the Department and its relationships with the commercial sector and not you.

Thank you for asking me to remove my website. I have chosen to add your updates and clarification rather than remove it.

Kind wishes
Dr Peter J Gordon