The undertakings cited by the UK medical council pertain only to my health

Dear Editor,

Please allow me to respond to a letter by one Sarah Williams titled `Dr Devonish should explain his status with the UK medical council’ (SN September 3rd, 2018).

The fact that details of the matter are not stated on the website would indicate it is confidential and will remain so. Frankly it has no bearing on opinions I express in my letter writing.

I have undertakings which are based on health and health reasons only. A condition I had since I was a teenager. If it were down to clinical reasons, it would have been stated since clinical reasons are not confidential.

Essentially undertakings are to ensure that I do not work when I’m unwell since I can potentially harm patients or make my health condition worse. I have never harmed a patient, the undertakings are just preemptive steps.

Also Sarah Williams speculated that I have to work under supervision. That’s absolute garbage. Consultants in the UK work unsupervised. I work unsupervised. Not sure where she got that information from since nothing like that is stated on the GMC website.

Clearly doctors are not immune from ill-health and there are lots of evidence to support the fact that they are at higher risk for certain conditions. As a result, in the UK, employers have a duty of care to doctors to ensure that they remain well even if it means making adaptations to their work.

I am glad that Sarah Williams asked this important question. I’m just disappointed that she did not also state other pertinent information that is available on the GMC site namely I am dually accredited as a specialist in Acute Internal Medicine and General Internal Medicine since 2014. Also she conveniently disregarded the fact that I am employed as a consultant at one of the UK’s top teaching hospitals, Notting-ham University Hospital. For me just taking one isolated fact and ignoring the others may be an attempt at discrediting me and the clinical opinions I express.

The fact that I can achieve so much despite having chronic ill health and being black in a predominantly white country is testament to the fact that I’m not an average doctor and the questions I raised in your letter columns should not be taken lightly. Also, the fact that I was an orphan at the age of eight years and being dirt poor with lots of childhood difficulties I wrote about on many occasions would make my achievements more remarkable.

I may also add that before a doctor can undertake specialist training medicine in the UK, he has to pass the very difficult MRCP examination. This examination has three stages and takes at least three years to complete. Some doctors take up to five years. Some doctors never pass it. I was able to complete my examination in a year and a half which is quite an achievement. I was the first from my UG graduation batch to pass this examination. I was the first from my UG graduation batch to become a specialist and consultant. All this I have achieved despite being unwell on many occasions and having to take time off from my training. All this is public record that can be confirmed.

May I also highlight, not to boast, a recent achievement on my part. This June I was made Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (FRCP Edin). This is a prestigious accolade bestowed on outstanding doctors.

Also I may add that for the past year I’ve been a MRCP PACES examiner. This examination is a world renowned and UK specialist examination that less than 40% of the doctors at any given sitting pass. Examiners for this examination would be outstanding consultants and professors. Again not sure if any such examiners are available in Guyana or the Caribbean. I say this not to boast but to highlight the fact that when I express a clinical opinion, it is not coming from any so-called ‘consultants’ in Guyana. It is not the opinion of an average doctor in the UK. It is the opinion of a UK trained and recognised specialist and consultant that can work in any Commonwealth country, including Canada and also Europe. Also, I can work as a specialist in any Middle Eastern or third world country among others. I am not just restricted to working as a ‘consultant’ in Guyana.

I raised some very important questions about apparently unnecessary cardiac invasive tests being done at the CHI and BSH in my letter on the 25th November. To date no response is forthcoming.

Don’t try to attack the messenger because you do not like the message. Believe me, you will never win.

Yours faithfully,

Dr Mark Devonish

MBBS MSc MRCP(UK)

FRCP(Edin)

Consultant Acute Medicine

Nottingham University

Hospital

UK

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