What follows is an archive of some of the contributions made to social media by Dr Mark Swinton. The full and necessary context for all of these contributions can be found on the author’s twitter timeline @swinton57 where he introduces himself as follows: “Semi retired psychiatrist”. Dr Swinton’s GMC entry on the Register states that he “Registered without a licence to Practise”.
This archive – which appears to present a pattern of language – has been shared for one reason alone: to encourage respectful and constructive communications by all.
In December of 2018 The Royal College of Psychiatrists and the British Psychological Society came together to confirm a common set of ideals and principles. These were published in the Lancet and included the principle that “good debate” should be “respectful and constructive”.
A reminder of the full set of Royal College of Psychiatrists values:
The following statements have all been made openly on social media by Dr Mark Swinton:
Dr Mark Swinton, “Semi-retired Psychiatrist” [5 January 2020] “People who critique psychiatry on twitter seem to be describing an alternative reality to the one described in these reports. For example, the benefits and harms of antidepressants feature hugely on twitter but do not feature much here.”
Dr Mark Swinton, “Semi-retired Psychiatrist” [5 January 2020] “CEP will continue to insinuate that some doctors are financially corrupt, but of course that is OK.” [I have read the CEP statement on Sunshine legislation and it does not say this at all. I am personally surprised that a Forensic Psychiatrist would make such a statement.]
Dr Mark Swinton, “Semi-retired Psychiatrist” [27 March 2020] responding to a provocative Tweet by Dr Samei Huda: “I think the reason #antipsychiatry professionals can’t give it a rest, is that they have realised that in this crisis, they are of no use!”
Dr Mark Swinton, “Semi-retired Psychiatrist” [10 May 2020] “When you say ‘everything …is nonsense’ does this mean that in fact no fees or expenses have been paid by the All Party Parliamentary Group to CEP?” [CEP replied to confirm there have been no fees or expenses and suggested that Dr Swinton might like to read the background to All Party Parliamentary Groups] [Personal comment: it is interesting to note that Dr Mark Swinton has consistently chosen not to take the same opportunity to openly question UK Psychiatrist Colleagues who are Key Opinion Leaders.]
Dr Mark Swinton, “Semi-retired Psychiatrist”[6 June 2020] “Anti-psychiatry professionals like provoking others to get an angry response. What they don’t like getting back . . . is gentle mocking”
Dr Mark Swinton, “Semi-retired Psychiatrist”[6 June 2020] “Nothing to see here. Just 3 white folk posting in their own names and openly discussing how to get an asian doctor sacked or disciplined. And these 3 people clearly see themselves as being morally virtuous “ The actual content of the thread was about the distress caused by Dr Samei Huda to an individual who had experience of psychiatric ill health. This was the concern expressed by that individual: “I’m all for cooperation” claims Huda, who is responsible for my worst ever Twitter experience in over 10 years here. A so-called helping professional.”
Dr Mark Swinton, “Semi-retired Psychiatrist” [17 June 2020]: “CEP guys don’t have anything useful to do, so they organise a Twitter pile on. Pathetic.”
Following the publication of this: Royal College of Psychiatrists: What do we value?, Dr Mark Swinton, “Semi-retired Psychiatrist” tweeted [17 June 2020]: “Yes, I’m quite troubled by Dr Gordon’s preoccupations too. Collecting up quotes from Twitter seems a waste. For me , as I’m not working either, gardening or cycling are better.” Prof Robert Howard, Psychiatrist and Former Dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, responded: “Thanks Mark. I hope he is OK.” Dr Mark Bolstridge, Trainee Psychiatrist, then contributed: “He’s not okay at all”. Dr Mark Swinton continued:“Bit sad for a former psychiatry consultant to be spending their time collecting and listing tweets. I’m not terribly sure what point he is trying to make.” – A number of respondents seemed genuinely surprised that Dr Mark Swinton was “not terribly sure of the point” of a post about professional values. Prof Rob Howard added: “I’m mystified by this too”. When a mental health professional tried to help Dr Swinton understand that this was about profesional values as set out by the GMC and Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Swinton replied: “You may have missed out a couple of phrases there; ‘attempting to’ and ‘singularly failing’.” Dr Swinton copied his conclusions to the Royal College of Psychiatrists. [Personal note: I wonder if the College consider the importance of maintaining professional values as “troubling”, “mystifying” and “a bit sad”?]
In conclusion, I would suggest that this comment, made in the BMJ by Richard Smith it’s former Editor is worth kleeping in mind: “Psychiatry seems to have lost its way… The response should not be to refuse to listen to criticisms… but to listen to and use them as a stimulus to deep examination of current practice.”