After long communications with the RCGP, and correspondence with the then Chair Professor Steve Field, Simon Ashmore and Linda Harris, RCGP, said they would like to meet me. As I was unable to travel due to protracted and acute benzo withdrawal they came to Lancaster for a meeting with me at the end of March.
The email below shows his understanding of the problem and his intended actions. I followed this up with many emails, none of which were answered, and eventually phoned him on 23rd May to ask why he was not responding and also for a progress report.
He seemed surprised at the phone call and it was obvious no progress had been made. He agreed to chase progress on the actions listed in the email below and to contact me.
I have still not heard from him, or from Linda Harris despite sending them both more emails, and can only conclude that despite their acknowledgement of the seriousness of the situation they have either decided to do nothing or been told to do nothing.
So having ignored the BNF guidelines for 30 years and caused significant suffering the RCGP now do not acknowledge the problem and have decided to do nothing.
30th March 2011
Thank you for this message. It was nice to meet you and Steph. You didn’t come across as doctor bashing; I think both Linda and myself have some appreciation of what a difficult journey you’ve had.
Rather than full minutes, here is a summary of our take-outs:
We’ll send out a communication within our weekly update to point members to appropriate existing guidance: The clinical knowledge summaries seem appropriate. Ideally we’d seek a hook for this (something that makes it timely to draw readers’ attention) and we thought that announcements around the NTA Building Recovery in Communities consultation might be appropriate.
I mentioned that Antony Chuter, the chair of our PPG, is managing a session on involuntary addiction. This is the session that we offered in our earlier correspondence. Antony will include involuntary addiction to pain relief medication in the session. I will pass Barry’s details on to Antony so the two of them can discuss session design. I will also tell Antony about David, Baylissa and Jenny.
I’d be interested to learn about Prof. Ashton’s bids to the NIHR. Perhaps these will inform Linda’s efforts in this regard. To recap, Linda suggested that she knew several doctors who have interest in this area. A well-designed piece of research offers much opportunity to progress this work, albeit to a longer timescale and subject to funding.
I mentioned Pulse, GP magazine and Drs.net. The first two are print and electronic newspapers aimed at GPs. Drs.net is a doctors’ (not solely GPs) forum, which only accepts contributions from doctors. They all have an overlapping readership and all are very effective ways to reach GPs. Stories and ‘conversations’ published in these journals often stimulate further debate. No single channel, other than statutory edit, will reach all doctors, and that’s why I think the emails and conference – plus whatever other activities you can stimulate, will contribute. We talked quite a bit about getting the profession on side and I’d emphasise that I think this is essential to making progress. I think the above initiatives are a good starting point.
It’s interesting and sad to hear about Adam Ant, I agree that media stars can draw attention to otherwise hidden issues, though I suspect it can still be difficult to harness this publicity and turn it into something productive.
As you know I’m off the rest of the week but will pick up the baton again on my return.
Head of Communications