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Professor Hooper's letter to the Observer


Senior Member
This letter was submitted by Professor Hooper to the Observer, in response to the article by Robin McKie "Chronic fatigue syndrome researchers face death threats from militants", published on Sunday the 21st of August 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2...igue-syndrome-myalgic-encephalomyelitis/print

Professor Hooper was contacted out of the blue by the reader's editor of the Observer. They spoke at length on the telephone and the editor asked Professor Hooper to respond to Robin McKie's article.

The editor indicated that the responses to the article were building up into a feature length article for the Magazine section and Professor Hooper agreed to submit a longer article as well as a letter.

He received an acknowledgement from the reader's editor saying it was there intention to use the letter but the following day he received a further email from the same person to say it would not be published.

From Malcolm Hooper Ph.D.,B.Pharm.,C.Chem.,MRIC
Emeritus Professor of Medicinal Chemistry
University of Sunderland, SUNDERLAND SR2 3SD

Chief Scientific Adviser to the Gulf Veterans' Association
President: the National Gulf War Veterans and Families Association, NGVFA, (2002)

25 August 2011

Dear Sir

No right-minded person condones any campaign of vilification against psychiatrists but equally, no right-minded person can condone what psychiatrists like Wessely have done to the UK ME community over the last 25 years.

It is indefensible to liken people with ME to the Animal Liberation Front; this is an attack on the whole ME community, not only the few people who have behaved irrationally.

ME has been in the medical literature for the last 70 years and classified by the WHO as a neurological disorder since 1969.

The recent International Consensus Criteria for ME produced by 26 world experts from 13 countries shows ME to be a complex, chronic illness of which post-exertional malaise (inability to recover after exercise) is the cardinal feature. This makes exercise dangerous and sometimes fatal. There are multiple symptoms and multiple clinical signs showing dysfunction and dysregulation of all the major organs and systems of the body.

No NHS clinician has the autonomy to regard ME as a somatoform disorder. The Department of Health has confirmed in writing that: ICD-10 is an NHS Information Standard..There is a legal obligation for Department of Health to provide ICD data to the WHO for international comparison. The NHS was mandated to implement ICD-10 on 1 April 1995, at which time there was a formal consultation. Implementationapplies to NHS organisations and their system suppliers, such as acute and foundation trusts, primary care trusts, and the NHS Information Centre. The Wessely School psychiatrists, many GPs and NHS neurologists are in breach of this mandate.

For Wessely School psychiatrists to continually ignore the scientific evidence is wilful ignorance but to advise the DWP decision-makers and train ATOS examiners that ME is a mental disorder is deceitful and abusive; to section patients with ME and remove them from their distraught families is abusive; to make sick people worse by inappropriate interventions is abusive; to deny them financial support necessary to survive is abusive; to mock them and to misinform others about their serious disorder is abusive; to insist that they suffer from wrong thinking and a fear of activity when they suffer from a very serious medical disorder with reproducible multiple systemic abnormalities is abusive.

These psychiatrists, who have direct and lucrative links with the Insurance industry, have been reported to Parliament. The industry stands to lose millions if it has to pay out for a severe life-long physical illness whereas psychiatric (functional, somatoform) conditions are usually excluded and lower benefits paid by the DWP.

The true ME story has yet to be told.

Malcolm Hooper

Permission to repost.


Senior Member
Many thanks daisymay - and to Prof Hooper again. What would we do without him all these years. The true ME story has yet to be told despite this peculiar decision change. (One wonders who advised who)


Senior Member
I hope that the reason they decided not to publish this letter is that it doesn't contain scientific information about ME that the UK general public is not receiving. While true, I suspect his letter sounded more like a self-defense than an authoritative scientific refutation of W's position.

That's what I hope. :D
I reckon one problem was its length: 423 words. I didn't have access to the lengths of the letters that were published in the Observer before (I think they can be seen on the website now) but my "research" on 19 letters in the Telegraph on Friday showed they ranged from 23-182 words with a median length of 66 words. Judging by the letters that were published (including the much shorter MEA letter), the Observer may be similar.

But perhaps the information will be used for the magazine.


Senior Member
Thank you

Thanks Prof Hooper for writing a reply to the biased and untruthful article in the Observor. It is very strange and disappointing that Prof Hooper's response was stopped from being reported to the British public. It appears that Wessely is allowed to say anything he wishes without any basis but Prof Hooper is in effect being censored.