Queen’s scientist disciplined after making “inappropriate” commments about GP

A senior clinical scientist at Queen’s Hospital who made “disparaging, inappropriate and unprofessional” comments about a GP on a public forum was found guilty of professional misconduct.

Stuart Jones made numerous web postings about Dr Sarah Myhill, who specialises in the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a Health Professions Council (HPC) hearing was told last month.

Earlier he had claimed the doctor exploited vulnerable patients and reported her to the General Medical Council (GMC) in 2010.

As a result Dr Myhill was suspended for several months before her license to practise was restored but with conditions.

However, during this time Jones went on to public forum Bad Science, run by The Guardian columnist Ben Goldacre, in which he posted a number of derogatory comments about the GP and her work.

Dr Myhill, based in Wales, told the Recorder: “[Jones] got his just deserts. The three months I was suspended were very painful. I thought the world had gone mad.

“What he wrote was very hurtful and damaging. I will do my best to restore my reputation but as the old saying goes ‘mud sticks’.”

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During the hearing, the panel said: “In acting as he did he failed to keep high standards of personal conduct as well as professional conduct and his behaviour fell short of what would be proper in the circumstances.

“This misconduct cannot, in the Panels (sic) judgement, be categorised as minor.”

But the professional body did accept Jones’s motivations were honourable: “Whilst this panel does not question [Jones’s] motivation with respect to his interest in the use of internet sites such as the Bad Science forum to discuss and debate clinical issues, it nevertheless finds his posts were disparaging, inappropriate and unprofessional.”

Jones admitted making disparaging comments on Bad Science but denied misconduct or that his fitness to practise was impaired.

Jones is allowed to continue to work but is subject of a two-year caution order.