Chrys Muirhead

A Sunshine Act for Scotland

7 October 2018: Sunshine legislation

6 October 2018: A blot, a stain, or perhaps something worse?

The Scottish public want sunshine: Dr Peter Gordon on Hole Ousia website

"Over two years ago I raised a petition with the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to introduce a Sunshine Act for Scotland. A Sunshine Act would make it mandatory for healthcare workers (and hopefully academics and all allied health professionals) to declare fully any payments including payments in kind. The argument I presented was that a single, searchable, independent register underpinned by statute would ensure transparency, promote scientific integrity, reduce the potential for harm and save money.

Current Guidance in Scotland (HDL62 issued by the Scottish Government) has failed for more than 13 years. Other governance bodies, such as the Royal Colleges, have separate systems which also appear to have failed to ensure transparency of financial payments. These overlapping, but ineffective, systems of governance duplicate costs and bureaucracy to nobody's gain.

My petition was closed earlier this month by the Scottish Parliament as the Scottish Government had committed to 'update guidance'.

One of the actions of the Government in response to my petition was to commission a public consultation.

Gathering public views on Sunshine Act

Last week the public voice of Scotland was revealed:

The Scottish public want sunshine. The majority of participants felt that the publication of financial payments to healthcare professionals should be made mandatory.

read blog post


The official Scottish Parliament page for Dr Gordon's petition can be accessed here.

A Sunshine Act for Scotland page on Hole Ousia website includes the "petition history" of PE1493 and all the "written submissions" made on behalf of this petition.

Open and transparent from omphalos on Vimeo.

Reductionism - truly, madly, deeply: Dr Peter J Gordon, 25Nov16 #HoleOusia

Reductionism – truly, madly, deeply: Dr Peter J Gordon, 25 November 2016, Hole Ousia website

"On Friday the 25th of November 2016 I gave a talk for the Scottish Philosophy and Psychiatry Special Interest Group.

My subject was “Improvement Science”.

The following is based on the slides and the four short films that I presented.

This film is about the potential consequences of inappropriate reductionism:

Reducing the world from omphalos on Vimeo.

Link to 'Reductionism - truly, madly, deeply' post on Hole Ousia website

'Doctors' financial interests should be declared to avoid any impression of impropriety' BMJ Response 11 February 2015

'Doctors' financial interests should be declared to avoid any impression of impropriety'

BMJ Response 11 February 2015, Gee Yen Shin, Consultant Virologist, Dr Rohini Manuel, Public Health England

Editorials: The General Medical Council and doctors' financial interests BMJ 2015;350:h474


We read with concern the BMJ editorial on the apparently laissez-faire approach taken by the General Medical Council (GMC) to reports of undeclared financial conflicts of interest in the form of financial inducements which may have influenced the referral patterns of UK doctors[1].

We are glad to see that this BMJ editorial appears to have had the desired effect of a GMC response to these serious allegations[2].

We agree that doctors should make conflicts of interest declarations where these may affect prescribing and clinical referral behaviour. This information should be made available to employers and patients.

Although GMC Good Medical Practice (2013) guidance covers honesty and integrity, including "Honesty in financial dealings"[3], many NHS Trusts will not have any formal or systematic mechanisms to record any financial conflicts of interest.

As Public Health England (PHE) consultants, we know that PHE requires its staff to complete annual declaration of interests returns every year. This may stem from the Nolan principles of public life which require public servants to follow seven principles of public life, the most relevant of which include honesty, integrity and openness[4] ..."

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'Transparency in drug company payments to doctors' by Dr Peter J Gordon, Hole Ousia blog

"In a BMJ "briefing" Rebecca Coombes sums up the new UK system for public disclosure of payments from drug companies to doctors

Published the 2nd January 2015 in The BMJ, here follows the full article: Transparency in drug company payments to doctors"

"I have met Andrew Powrie-Smith of the ABPI several times. He has made it a personal mission to improve transparency for the Pharmaceutical Industry and I applaud his efforts. My concern is that the medical profession may not yet quite agree with Powrie-Smith that transparency is a "societal expectation". I say this as (1) the voluntary register Who pays this doctor? has not exactly been burdened with declarations, and (2) my research into Registers of interest for all staff employed in NHS Scotland has evidenced very poor compliance with Scottish Government Guidance (HDL 62).

The new database, set up by the ABPI, is a most positive development. We should however be aware that it only applies to the pharmaceutical industry and not other areas of commerce: such as device makers, nutritional supplements, digital technologies etc. It is my understanding that the ABPI Register also only applies to doctors. Do we not also need to consider academics, managers, commissioners, pharmacists, nurses, AHPs, charities all of whom could be paid to "educate" us about a specific condition and a product or test for this. Or to commission a service for it.

Surely however, the main issue with this new ABPI code is that it has no legal underpinning. Doctors can opt out of declaring any financial payments and they so they will not be named.

This is why I have petitioned the Scottish Government for a Sunshine Act (or clause). America has this legislation as do several other countries."

Read Hole Ousia blog post

Powerful Embrace

Powerful Embrace from omphalos

"Anxious I consulted my doctor.

This was 1997.

I was started on Seroxat (Paroxetine). In America this is Paxil.

Today (2014) I am still on Seroxat/Paxil (Paroxetine)

17 years: this has indeed been a "powerful embrace".

After I made this film (in 2011) several of my consultant psychiatrist colleagues expressed concern. I had apparently brokered acceptable boundaries; my thoughts were loose and I was misguided, perhaps even "disordered". Label upon label was how it felt to me."

Link to Hunter Watson's Papers

This is a page dedicated to Papers and Articles by W Hunter Watson, Mental Health Human Rights Campaigner, retired Maths Lecturer, Aberdeen Hunter Watson Petition PE01667: Review of mental health and incapacity legislation @ScotParl; 24 June 2017

PE01667: Review of mental health and incapacity legislation

Petitioner: W Hunter Watson

Closing Date for Online Petition: 03 August 2017

"Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to conduct a wide review Scottish mental health and incapacity legislation and, when doing so, to take due account of recent developments in international human rights law."

I believe that taking money from Big Pharma is ethically wrong

[a statement written for ALLIANCE event 'A Question of Ethics: Members discussion on the ALLIANCE's relationship with the pharmaceutical industry' on 7 February 2014]

  • Psychiatric drugs are used in psychiatric settings to coerce and control psychiatric patients. The drugs alter brain chemicals and cause debilitating side effects which result in more psych drugs being taken to control the effects. In my case the anti-psychotics agitated and depressed me. I was given the anti-depressant venlafaxine which depressed me more, gave me suicidal impulses, I took an overdose. Then I was given the "mood stabiliser" lithium, a toxic drug that requires monthly blood tests. None of these drugs worked to lift my mood. I had to take charge of my own mental health, go against the advice of psychiatrists, to recover and survive.

  • At least 50% of people are unhappy that they were forced to take psych drugs against their will. All of my close family members have engaged with psychiatry. Half of us stayed in the system, the other half went our own way. Of the half who stayed in the system and on the drugs they all lived with physical disabilities. My mother walked with a stick from her 40's onwards, she was on a 3wkly depot injection until she died aged 68. If you go into a mental health day facility you will see many older women walking with sticks. My youngest sister, now in her 40's walks with a stick, her balance is effected, she is on clozapine ....

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