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BMA suspends retired GP for questioning evidence on smoking in cars

Last November I was a guest on the BBC Radio Wales phone-in.

We were discussing smoking in cars. Also on the programme was Dr Brendan O'Reilly, a retired GP and a member of the British Medical Association. I wrote about it here:

Brendan (a smoker) was extremely critical of the British Medical Association and its extreme anti-tobacco agenda. The gist of what he was saying was that the BMA is not only wrong to call for a ban on smoking in all private vehicles, but the union's behaviour could seriously damage the doctor-patient relationship.

I supported Brendan's commonsense attitude and said that, in my experience, he was far more representative of most GPs than the organisation that claims to represent them.

See: Doctors losing faith in the BMA

This morning I read that:

A retired GP has been suspended from the BMA Welsh Council until 2014 after he questioned the evidence behind the BMA's campaign to ban smoking in vehicles on BBC Radio.

Dr Brendan O'Reilly, a retired GP, has also had his BMA membership suspended until he provides ‘an acceptable written apology' to four named BMA members, including Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of the BMA science and ethics committee.

In a hearing held yesterday a BMA Council panel said they considered Dr O'Reilly's language when describing his opposition to the BMA's use of statistics on the risks of passive smoking in cars as ‘unacceptable'.

Full story: Retired GP suspended after questioning BMA stance on smoking

Bizarrely, hours after the Radio Wales programme was broadcast, the BMA itself admitted getting its facts wrong. In a press release issued on Thursday November 17 the BMA confessed that its claim that smoking in cars generates 23 times more toxins than you would find in a smoky bar was incorrect:

"Further studies demonstrate that the concentration of toxins in a smoke-filled vehicle could be up to 11 times greater than that of a smoky bar. We apologise for this error."

See: Smoking in cars: BMA admits error

See also: Thanks to the BMA, doctors can no longer be trusted to tell the truth

At the time I also reported an email sent to my old colleague (and former MSP) Brian Monteith in which a former GP admitted that:

"the use of unchecked and erroneous data by those apparently representing all doctors is unforgivable; indeed a public retraction for the use of this would not be out of order"

but added that:

"Whilst the BMA's pronouncement is based on erroneous data, the sentiment behind the health prevention message is sound."

See: Erroneous data "unforgivable" but message "sound"

Conclusion? So much for free speech. The end justifies the means and woe betide any doctor who dares criticise his own union.

What a fine, principled group of people. Not.

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Reader Comments (9)

Introduce the good doctor to Prof Evin,Dr Enstrom and Dr. Kabat among others..............Im sure theirs many more Professional assasinations out there too done by the hand of TOBACCO CONTROL!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 13:03 | Unregistered CommenterHarleyrider1978

"What a fine, principled group of people. Not."

Still think it wrong to use the N-word or make comparisons with the originators of Smoking Bans?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 16:04 | Unregistered CommenterThe Blocked Dwarf

BD, I stand by my views, yes. If you want to influence the moderate majority the use of the word 'Nazi' in relation to tobacco control is mostly inappropriate, counter-productive and self-defeating. If anyone thinks it is appropriate then this probably isn't the blog for you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 16:13 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

I'm more convinced that removing a dissenting and questioning professional from a post because of political ideology rather than sound evidence is more comparable with McCarthysim.

Either way there is something deeply rotten within the BMA. How far backwards do these social regressives want to take us?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 16:42 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Simon, maybe times are changing: Have you seen this interview with prof. John B. Davies from Health Scotland’s Qualitative Bar Study on Smokefree Legislation:

"I am beginning to see gas chambers ..."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 17:49 | Unregistered CommenterKlaus K.

What next with the good doctor: sackcloth, a label bearing the message 'Heretic', his public recantation, penance and plea for forgiveness? He's right; the patient-doctor relationship is damaged by the zealotry of which he is now a victim himself.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012 at 18:01 | Unregistered CommenterNorman

"originators of Smoking Bans" - TBD.
And who would they be?
Because I would bet my life that the "originators of Smoking Bans" were not the NAZIS.

Easy money.

Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 4:39 | Unregistered CommenterFredrik Eich

@Pat and Fred, you're both absolutely right but Simon dislikes it when the comment section goes too far off course so I'll stop there. Although there is a possible doctoral thesis in 'Will The True Father Of The Smoking Ban Please Stand Up?' if any Post Grad happens to be reading...

Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 8:51 | Unregistered CommenterThe Blocked Dwarf

Smoking bans occurred in America earlier than Nazi Germany. The Germans were students of American eugenics.

Eugenics is dictatorial. In general terms, we can at least refer to antismoking – or even healthism, more generally – as a supremacist cult. Questioning dogmatic beliefs, agenda, methodology, or fraudulent claims is met with punitive measures.

Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 13:40 | Unregistered CommenterI say

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