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Accountability

BMJ 2002; 324 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7342.925 (Published 13 April 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:925
  1. Edmund Hey, retired paediatrician
  1. Newcastle upon Tyne

    Public accountability is all the rage these days, and I would like to do a little “raging.” Everyone agrees that accountability is a good thing, but its application seems painfully patchy.

    If Mrs Mellor's complaints had been handled openly, the public would now know why they were dismissed

    Penny Mellor, the campaigner who worked hard for more than three years to get Professor David Southall called to account for his work to prevent child abuse in Stoke-on-Trent, wanted public accountability. She has now had her own dose of this, because last month she was sent to prison for two years (BMJ 2002;324:754). She was found guilty, in open court, of conspiring to abduct a schoolchild protected by a court order imposed after paediatricians in Sunderland became concerned over the fabricated nature of a sibling's health problems.

    Mrs Mellor believes most accusations of Munchausen's syndrome by proxy are ill founded, and she has long been a major contributor to a website where such issues are aired (www.msbp.com/). When she got to …

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