TOPIC: Royal College of Ophthalmologists
Double standards 10 Feb 2016 20:43 #61
• Newsapaper cutting previously posted in 'BBC News & Press' Topic.
• Statement from a legal firm in Scotland, given to the Herald before publication.
Much as they have since tried to pretend they didn't know, the Royal College of Ophthalmologists were fully aware of the claims against Dr Teenan, yet allowed him to remain on the Refractive Surgery Standards Working Group.
A blatant display of double standards here, because - when attempting to get me off the Working Group, David Moulsdale emailed the College to say that his lawyers (Schillings spelt with a 'C' David!) believed that my legal case against Russell Ambrose t/a Optimax was, "an absolute conflict of interest".
I was suing Russell for breach of agreement (currently am again) while Teenan has multiple claims against him for alleged negligence.
Conflict of interest?
Like I said, double standards!
So much more to tell...
The following user(s) said Thank You: Jimmy B
Turned a blind eye... 09 Feb 2016 23:49 #62
Some background info before my 2nd instalment of last month's LAG meeting
A number of people have advised me that they sent emails to the RCOphth President complaining about Dr Teenan’s appt to the Working Group but received no response.
It is therefore surprising that the College took OE’s complaints re me at face value while ignoring those about Dr Teenan.
As I mentioned at our recent meeting, pls read: www.opticalexpressruinedmylife.co.uk/…/jacquis-story…
Please also read the email below for reasons why David Teenan should not be on the WG. Two years later there are countless more legal claims against him and I am sure the legal firms involved will be happy to confirm this.
Had I remained on the Working Group I believe people would have had no issue with Dr Teenan’s inclusion, safe in the knowledge that I would provide a fair balance, but unfortunately the scales have been tipped and Dr Teenan's appointment now wholly unacceptable.
I will provide more info in due course, although as it only took two pieces of spurious evidence to remove me from the WG, one would expect this to be unnecessary..."
"Dear Prof Keogh...
I will continue to send random samples of emails so you are aware of the scale of problems within the refractive eye surgery industry.
It should be kept in mind that whist elective this is NOT cosmetic surgery and the industry deserves its own review without further delay, but more urgently it needs government regulation!
I now advise damaged Px to ask their GP for NHS referrals - as very few have done before and I will be recommending this action on a number of websites in the hope added pressure on NHS resources will bring attention to the industry's wrong doings and negligence.
I also encourage people to report surgeons responsible to the GMC, with at least four recent complaints of negligence against a well known RLE surgeon employed by Optical Express, Mr David Teenan.
The refractive eye surgery industry claim an inflated 99% success rate for laser surgery, but even if we believe that the risks are still at least 10% higher than those of routine medical procedures carried out every day.
The industry have also told patients left with problems following RLE surgery there is 1 in 10 chance of complications. If they admit to that then I guarantee the reality is far higher.
I look forward to serious attention eventually being given to what is already a crisis for the estimated 10s of thousands suffering.
Read patient accounts here - just the tip of the iceberg!!
Royal College of Ophthalmologists 07 Feb 2016 00:53 #63
While you’re waiting for my next instalment of last month's Lay Advisory Group meeting, I thought some of you might be interested in reading the RCOphth's Annual Reports from 2012-14 (2015 not yet available).
You will notice the absence of any reference to the refractive eye surgery industry.
John McDonnell and I have been fighting for government regulation since 2012, yet after her inauguration as College President in 2014 Carrie MacEwen made no attempt to meet with us.
And while I was member of the LAG she did not once discuss refractive eye surgery with me, or show any interest in what I was doing.
In reply to my invitation to Bad Eye Day in October she wrote,
If Carrie actually cared about this scandal then why did she ask to meet with my MP, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, instead of with Jeremy Hunt - or someone at least purporting to be a health minister?
In 2014 I refused to believe it was true when an OE insider told me that David Moulsdale had assured his inner circle that he had, “an understanding" with the new RCOphth President, a fellow Scot.
Now I’m sadly not so sure
NB: I have recently been advised, as the College is a charity, that I should discuss my concerns about the College Trustees with the Charities Commission.
Conflict of Interest? 02 Feb 2016 23:59 #64
Taken from the RCOphth 'Conflict of Interest Form' required to be completed by all surgeons on the Refractive Surgery Standards Working Group, including Dr David Teenan...
My questions to Kathy Evans concerning David Teenan's COI and his place on the Working Group...
Kathy's guarded and minimal reply - which avoids actually answering my questions
NB: As Chief Executive Kathy Evans reports to the RCOphth Trustees/Council members, and her words are entirely theirs!
Royal College of Ophthalmologists 01 Feb 2016 18:23 #65
I am very sorry that Miss R has eye problems of her own, but while any form of eye disease is emotionally distressing, a natural disease does not come with the emotional package that botched refractive surgery brings. If I had injured my eye in a riding accident for example, or suffered a natural eye disease, I would not feel as though I had been violated, and I would not be suffering from PTSD.
I have the classic symptoms of RSSS, which is caused by having your eyes treated as a money making commodity, of no importance, not properly informed and being lied to after they are trashed.
Either the college have no idea (hard to believe), or they should be truly ashamed of their actions.
Me and the College... Part 1 28 Jan 2016 20:47 #66
This is a relatively long story and I therefore intend to break it into at least three instalments.
In early April 2015 I was advised that the Royal College of Ophthalmologists were forming a Refractive Surgery Standards Working Group (WG), essentially to write new guidelines for surgeons, and that a lay advisor would be appointed to the group.
I contacted the College to express my interest and they coincidentally had a vacancy for a new member on the Lay Advisory Group (LAG).
After a successful interview on 16 April, John McDonnell MP (who provided one of my two excellent references) jokingly told me that I had finally joined the establishment - this is of course the same establishment who’ve allowed, and continue to allow, the unregulated industry to damage tens of thousands of eyes.
I was almost immediately nominated as lay adviser to the WG but asked not to publish details until the surgeons had been appointed and the College made their own announcement.
In retrospect perhaps I should have ignored this and followed David Teenan’s example. OE’s UK Medical Director announced his appointment to the WG before the College did, to support his (unsuccessful) bid for a place on the board of the ESCRS. Read 27 May ’15 post @ 21:06: www.opticalexpressruinedmylife.co.uk/ind...o-all.html?start=110
Not understanding why a letter to College members on 12 May named the surgeons on the WG but not me, and increasingly impatient to announce my good news, I called the College in early June. and spoke with Penny Jagger, Executive Secretary to Kathy Evan (Chief Exec) and Carrie McEwen (President).
Without actually stating what soon became obvious, Penny said there’d been 'some problems', as perhaps I might have guessed, and that they were trying to work out a way for me still to be able contribute to the WG.
I feigned innocence and wrote to Kathy Evans on 9 June, "I’d appreciate it if you would call me as I am concerned that my place on the Working Group has still not been announced.”
Apologising for the delay Kathy replied on 19 June, "We are still working through the composition of the Working Group and I will get in touch with you when all members have been identified.”
The first of many lies I have since been told by Kathy and other College members!
Eventually, on 29 June Kathy informed me,
"We invited you to join the group, aware of your campaign to improve the standards of the sector. We have since received unsolicited information that you received a police warning about your approaches to one individual in the sector and that you have sent an email declaring that you “despise this industry” and state, in offensive language, that you will destroy it. We have taken legal advice on the matter and have come reluctantly to the conclusion that, despite your passion and knowledge, the evidence points to the fact that you would not be a constructive member of the group.
We therefore feel we must withdraw your invitation to join the Refractive Surgery Standards Working Group. We would welcome you as a member of the Lay Advisory Group on the grounds that, whatever your views about Laser Refractive Surgery, you would be able to contribute to the wider work of the Lay Advisory Group, as you indicated at your interview. It next meets on Thursday 13th July, please let me know if you will be able to attend.”
I replied on 1 July,
"I am absolutely horrified that the RCOphth made this decision without allowing me the right to reply.
While I have little doubt of his identity, I ask that you divulge the source of your “unsolicited information”, and provide details of the “police warning” I allegedly received.
I also ask for a copy of the email I sent to your source stating that I "despise this industry”, containing “offensive language”.
I look forward to receiving all of the above without delay as I too will be seeking legal advice.
My unique position, as both damaged patient and lay person with extensive knowledge of the refractive industry - especially from a patient's perspective, would have been invaluable to the Working Group, which is of course why you invited me.
Your decision to withdraw this invitation therefore makes my position on the Lay Advisory Group untenable and I will not be attending the meeting on 13 July as I have no wish to be associated with an organisation ultimately controlled by corrupt businessmen.
Meanwhile, I am also concerned that you asked me not to publish details of my appointment to the Working Group until it was officially announced, so must assume that one of your colleagues leaked the news to your ‘informant’.
I believe your action totally discredits the RCOphth and increases my concern that I am the only person who actually cares for patients' welfare.“
No doubt the College Council then breathed a collective sigh of relief - until I was pressured by supporters to think again, advising me that I would be better off inside the College where I would be listened to (yeah right!).
I considered all the reasons put to me, and after a lot of soul searching I agreed to stay on the LAG.
I was genuinely looking forward to attending my first meeting expecting to meet like-minded members who would support me, but instead I was met with hostility and virtually ignored.
It was only in October that I discovered the reason for my unwelcome reception, after reading an email disclosed under my Subject Access Request to the College.
Sent to LAG members from Chair Tom Brembridge on 15 July:
I need to give you some background on our new member appearing tomorrow.
We invited Sasha Rodoy to become a member of LAG with the idea also that she would become a member of the Refractive Surgery working group. Sasha has had her sight damaged by laser refractive surgery and has a mission to prevent what happened to her recurring to anyone else.
After Carrie and Kathy and I interviewed her it came to light that she is involved in litigation and has had some harsh things to say about ophthalmologists and the College. We withdrew her involvement in the Refractive Surgery Working Group and spontaneously she withdrew herself from LAG.
However we were then surprised to receive her email saying that she is coming tomorrow. Rather than saying that we do not want her involvement at all I have taken the view that we should welcome her tomorrow and see how it goes. Hopefully she will be charming and reasonable, as she has been in previous face to face meetings. She has been told that we can't tolerate any description of LAG meetings and discussions being aired on social media.
The links to her twitter and facebook accounts are here:
Provided all goes well I intend to draw her in to our work by asking her to provide a LAG draft response to the GMC paper on Guidance for Doctors conducting cosmetic surgery. The parallels with laser refractive surgery are very close and she has patient experience in this area.
I thought it would be useful for you to be aware of the background before the meeting.”
No wonder I felt like a cuckoo in the nest!
I was shocked at their deception, because at my first LAG meeting - totally unaware of Tom’s email, I’d bared my soul to my new ‘colleagues’, explaining that I’d been unfairly removed from the WG and asking for their support in my fight to be reinstated. Not one of them was honest enough to speak up and admit to having already been informed that I’d been removed from the WG!
I followed this with a lengthy email, which included details of legal claims against David Teenan, but again, not one reply or acknowledgement. In fact one of my 'colleagues' (Miss R) jumped at the chance to take my place on the WG in October, when, "The chair took chairman’s action and asked a suitable member of the Lay Advisory Group to undertake the task.”
At a meeting with Kathy Evans in July I told her that whoever they replaced me with on the WG, they might as well put a doll in my seat.
And they have.
Miss R has zero understanding, experience, or knowledge of the machinations of the refractive surgery industry.
With all due respect, her area of expertise lies in other areas, most especially with her own natural disease, about which I have as much knowledge as she does about my area of expertise - that has taken almost five years of my life to learn: a result of relentless research and hard work.
No matter that I have respect for two of the surgeons on the WG (not as much for one of these who colluded with David Moulsdale), they are obviously concerned with protecting their own incomes, and therefore some issues that I would have mentioned from a patient’s perspective will not be addressed.
This is why my voice on the WG was so important, and exactly why Moulsdale went to such lengths to silence me!
At our meeting with hand picked Council members on 4 December (28 were available to attend but only 8 were allowed!), Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell argued that the College should reinstate me, that I am in a unique position, as damaged patient and patient advocate, and that it was vital to have me on the WG. Peter Tiffin replied that, as someone suffering with eye problems herself, Miss R was ‘suitable’.
Both Carrie MacEwen and Peter Tiffin also assured John, that although I’d been removed from the Working Group, I would have plenty of opportunity to contribute to the proposed guidelines/standards.
John and I of course both knew that this was rubbish, which was proven at today’s LAG meeting - where College representatives outnumbered lay members.
I was bullied for trying to speak out - by the College President Carrie MacEwen especially, and threatened by Chairman Tom Brembridge that they would vote to remove me from the LAG if I didn’t stick to their rules (paraphrasing).
I decided that I couldn’t play the College’s hypocritical game any longer and told them I was resigning. Amusingly Tom asked for a vote of acceptance, which was of course unanimous.
I’ll do my best to publish the second instalment asap...
Royal College of Ophthalmologists 09 Dec 2015 16:13 #67
I cannot imagine why Moulsdale refers to Sasha's work as a vendetta campaign. I have spoken with Sasha on many occasions over the years, and our long chats have never revealed any sign of Sasha wanting to seek revenge in any shape or form, but rather improve this industry to protect others. Surely all involved in this industry should want the same?
Meeting with RCOphth Trustees, Part 2 09 Dec 2015 15:46 #68
Lots more about Bernie, but short of time right now... so will get to the crux of the matter and fill in the gaps another day!
Bernie looked punch-drunk by the time I moved on to ask Carrie MacEwen if she considered the use of the ‘f' word (with asterisks) to be more obscene - as she'd described it in her reply to my MP Theresa Villiers - than blinding a patient (see 20 Oct post for Ronnie’s story)...
Then I handed over to John McDonnell.
In no uncertain terms John told the Council members that he considered their reason for removing me from the Working group to be “downright stupid”. He told them, “What Sasha has had to endure is, quite frankly, extraordinary; the weight of a combined and well financed number of companies coming after her means that she’s single handedly had to confront real challenges and threats, always taken legal advise, and I look forward to the book and the film" (I keep telling John no time to write it!)”
He told them I’d never lost a case and never had a case against me won (e.g. OERML), that I know exactly what’s going on, and, “despite the allegations from within the sector, which are not just stupid, but plain misleading!” they should listen to me.
Lots more, but his main thrust was that I am the voice of the victims and it was critical they had me on board.
Peter Tiffin interrupted, at which point John said it was worse than being in the House of Commons - cue laughter around the table - and said. “We need to get standards out there, and because we cant legislate or force people to adopt those standards the only way we can do that is to involve the industry in those standards And the feeling was that because of those unsolicited emails (from David Moulsdale) it was felt that Sasha’s presence on the committee would jeopardise its progress.
But that’s the only reason, we want to get standards out, but we can’t do it without Optical Express being involved. Because if they’re not on board they won’t accept the standards.”
John replied, “Your argument is that you hope the industry will accept the standards. You’re trying to reach a situation where you establish standards and you do that by way of agreeing with the industry itself?”
Peter interrupted and said there might be some they don’t agree with...
John continued, “I completely understand but I think you are giving away too much (that was John being polite). Let me put it to you that you need the voice of Sasha who has unique experience and knowledge of the industry.”
There was no vote, no discussion, Peter Tiffin and Carrie McEwen spoke for everyone and we realised they were not going to budge.
That meeting confirmed everything I suspected.
In September, on the OERML forum, I asked, 'who really controls the RCOphth?'
I think Peter Tiffin provided the answer
Meeting with RCOphth Trustees, Part 1 08 Dec 2015 19:53 #69
After being uninvited from the Working Group in June, with no right of reply, I sent Subject Access Requests (SARs) to both the College and David Moulsdale.
While the College naughtily edited the information David Moulsdale surprisingly did not, and the content of his email correspondence with the College was very enlightening. (Will publish in full at a later date)
• 15 October, I wrote to the RCOphth Chief Executive:
Further to our recent conversation, I am writing to request a meeting with the RCOphth Council/Trustees to discuss my removal from the Refractive Standards Working Group.
It is not my wish to battle but rather to work alongside the College, to ensure refractive eye surgery is made as safe as possible for all who consider it.
I am not as practised in the art of lobbying as others are, as some of my emails prove, but I do believe that I should at the very least be given the opportunity to defend myself against spurious claims made to discredit me and obstruct the purpose of my work.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell would be willing to accompany me to such a meeting (Ccd), however, with his recently increased workload his availability is severely limited and that may not be possible.
It is in all our interests to find a way forward and somehow resolve this impasse, and I look forward to your earliest response.
• 2 November 2015, Kathy Evans replied:
Thank you for your email.
I am trying to arrange a meeting with the trustees, as you will appreciate they are all very busy NHS clinicians (excepting the Lay Advisory Group Chair) and so it is most likely to be with a sub-set of trustees.
I think it is also helpful to be clear about the information that trustees have. You are aware from your Subject Access Request that you are a subject in various unsolicited items David Moulsdale of Optical Express sent to the College. Our decision to withdraw the invitation to the Refractive Surgery Standards Working Group was based on two items received (both attached):
An email that you wrote to Russell Ambrose and then you forwarded to David Moulsdale
A report by Police Officer on your conduct
All items sent by David Moulsdale were read by a small group of College Officers and the College solicitor but the wider group of Trustees has only seen the two items attached.
Kathy Evans | Chief Executive
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists"
• 3 November. Kathy wrote:
"Would you be able to come to the College on Friday, 4th December at 9.00 am? There are 32 trustees and they will not all be available but there will be a good representation present; the meeting will have to end by 9.30 am."
• 18 November, I confirmed that John McDonnell and Seb Corbyn would be accompanying me to the meeting and asked for the names of the College trustees and others who would be attending. I also asked that the 50 documents I’d sent (supporting my argument for reinstatement on the WG) were copied to all 32 Council members/Trustees. - see link below for names.
• 20 Nov 2015:
Thank you for your email. I expect the following trustees to present for the meeting on Friday, 4th December 9.00 – 9.25 am here at the RCOphth:
Miss Gill Adams
Mr Michael Burdon
Mr Bernie Chang
Miss Melanie Corbett
Professor Carrie MacEwen
Mr William Newman
Mr Peter Tiffin
Please send any information you would them to consider by noon on Friday, 27th November so that it can be distributed.
We have been hoping to meet with John McDonnell for some time and so it is good that he can accompany you, along with Seb.
• I replied, "When you said, “there will be a good representation”, given that there are 32 trustees I had expected more than 7 to be present. I had also hoped that the College's solicitor would be present to explain his reasons for advising that I should be removed from the WG."
• 26 November, Kathy wrote: "The meeting on 4th December is scheduled to start at 9.00 am and it will finish in time for the Council meeting to start at 9.30 am"
The significance of this didn’t hit me until I was standing by the RCOphth reception desk waiting for John and Seb at 8.45am.
All visitors have to sign in on arrival, and I overheard a man mention my name to the receptionist. I introduced myself, and he (Tim Dabbs) told me that he was early for the Council meeting because he was also attending mine. We chatted briefly before he went downstairs to the join his colleagues in the meeting room.
Then Prof Christopher Liu arrived and told me the same.
A few minutes later both surgeons came back upstairs and Prof Liu told me that unfortunately they wouldn’t be attending because they’d been advised that they weren’t needed!
Shortly before John arrived I spoke to Carrie and questioned why trustees were being told they couldn't attend. She said it was because I’d asked for a list of names and they didn’t want to add people whose names I hadn’t been given.
There was a Council meeting immediately following mine at 9.30am, with far more than 7 Council members attending.
For anyone who’s missed the point, I refer you back to Kathy’s email of 2 November!
I told Carrie that I’d made it clear that I wanted as many trustees present as possible, so she asked me should she invite Prof Liu to join us, which he did.
Peter Tiffin chaired the meeting and explained the purpose of the College to John - who of course already knew - said their main concern was patient safety, and that the meeting was because, “Sasha has asked for an opportunity to defend herself”.
30 minutes was far too short a time for a serious discussion, we needed at least 2 hrs, but that was why I’d made sure the Trustees had the documents prior to the meeting (including all the emails I’d obtained via SARs) giving them time to read through my ‘evidence’.
I started by addressing the reasons the College gave for my removal.
• 29 June, Kathy Evans wrote:
We have given a lot of thought to the composition of the Refractive Surgery Standards Working Group, since we attach great importance to its work. As you know, the RCOphth is not a regulatory body but it can contribute to better standards of care to benefit patients through the work of such groups.
We invited you to join the group, aware of your campaign to improve the standards of the sector. We have since received unsolicited information that you received a police warning about your approaches to one individual in the sector and that you have sent an email declaring that you “despise this industry” and state, in offensive language, that you will destroy it. We have taken legal advice on the matter and have come reluctantly to the conclusion that, despite your passion and knowledge, the evidence points to the fact that you would not be a constructive member of the group."
I explained that it was the high street chains I referred to as the ‘industry’ in my email to Russell Ambrose (previous post), with no knowledge of other providers in 2011 .
I said, "I make no apologies to anyone who is offended by my use of F asterisk asterisk K, because the email was not intended for them”, pointing out that it was David Moulsdale who took out the asterisks when complaining to the College simply to add value to his desperate attempts to discredit me."
The ‘police warning’ re Tweedledum was easily explained, and obviously without merit.
• On 14 May, Bernie Chang emailed Kathy Evans and Carrie McEwen:
"If you read the printed articles etc on her view on laser refractive surgery it does suggest from the outset that she would rather see this industry closed down.
I will take advise on this but perhaps we need to ask the Group whether they can work with her?
What happens if we get an resounding No vote from the Refractive Group to her appointment as lay rep?"
• 19 September, I wrote:
In the SAR data I received from Kathy Evans yesterday, I noticed an email from you claiming, "If you read the printed articles etc on her view on laser refractive surgery it does suggest from the outset that she would rather see this industry closed down.”
Please advise where you found this on OERML as I don’t recall saying this at all. And, as your friend David Moulsdale will tell you, I so hate to be misquoted!
Which reminds me, I understand you are involved in the MHRA MPlus X lens investigation. If correct, please advise whether you declared your COI as a surgeon working for Optegra.
Bernie didn't reply.
On Friday I again asked him where he'd found the 'printed articles’, but he just looked at me like a scared rabbit caught in the headlights.
I asked him why he wouldn't answer me, and said, "That’s because they don’t exist, isn’t it Bernie...”, and referred him to Carrie’s response to his email:
• "Dear Bernie,
I have revisited the website and the message that I get is that Sasha wants to raise regulation and standards – 'all surgeons should get the RCOphth training and qualification….' etc - not close the industry down.
The conflict therefore might be that there is unlikely to be any regulation, but only voluntary training and qualifications – and I agree that this could be difficult to handle. If the committee feels that they cannot work with her, then I foresee problems from her as she considers that she is well placed for this role due to her previous experience, which no other lay member has. She has also been nominated by the lay group for the job (I think that she is aware of this). She also would see this as us collaborating with the refractive surgeons and undoubtedly would want to share that with the rest of the world!
As with so many things – it is much better to get her involved with the process, rather than exclude her. In so doing she will begin to understand the real issues that affect regulation of such procedures. Also if she behaves in an unprofessional way, then she would be asked to leave the committee."
I asked Bernie why he had felt it necessary "to take advise on this" and ask the surgeons on the Working Group whether they could work with me?
At that time there was no problem, David Moulsdale hadn’t yet interfered, so why weren't they simply told that I was the lay rep?
I asked who had told David Moulsdale, questioning what right he had to be party to my appointment… asking why he should be involved in writing new guidelines when his surgeons don't even follow the current ones!
Shocking answer in Part 2
Council members/Trustees: www.rcophth.ac.uk/about/governance/rcophth-council/
Royal College of Ophthalmologists 08 Dec 2015 07:42 #70
I have news for the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, if someone suffers horrendous life changing injuries, they grieve and go through a cycle of emotions, and it is understandable that after having her eyes ruined Sasha was suffering great pain and anger at the way she was treated by Optimax, who treated her the same despicable way they treated me.
Any member of the College who doesn't appreciate this should not in my opinion be a doctor, and it is precisely because Sasha has suffered so much, as so many other victims have, and because of her knowledge, experience and integrity, that the College MUST have her on their working committee.
They are using a pitiful excuse to keep her away, and are making themselves look corrupt and disgraceful.