Coroner’s verdict: GMC investigation news leads to a top psychiatrist taking his own life

Top West London psychiatrist took own life after an official complaint was made about his work, reports My London

Four days after receiving an email from the GMC detailing the complaint, Dr Mike McPhillips called police to tell them where he intended to kill himself.

Dr McPhillips left six suicide notes to family and friends, the coroner heard, including to his wife and the medical director at the Nightingale Hospital Dr David Oyewole.

Assistant coroner Dr Anton van Dellen said several of the letters referenced the tribunal being heard in public. The inquest heard he wrote in one note: “Dead people can’t be put on trial so the obvious solution is for me to not be alive.” It was said that, between 2020 and 2022, between five and nine doctors took their own lives while under investigation by the GMC.

Dr Jenny Vaughan, DAUK’s Learn Not Blame co-lead, said the GMC has made a number of changes to the way they notify doctors of complaints against them and the investigatory process but “the problem remains”. It said in a statement to the inquest: “We do have a great deal of concern about the number of suicides… it is our shared experience that doctors under investigation by the GMC often feel they are treated as guilty until proven innocent.”

Recording a conclusion of suicide, Dr van Dellen said: “I have no hesitation in concluding that the information in the content of the communication from the GMC did contribute to Dr McPhillips’ state of mind and therefore contributed to his death.”