Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Pressure grows on Lancet to review “flawed” PACE trial

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 22 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3621

Rapid Response:

Re: Pressure grows on Lancet to review “flawed” PACE trial

PACE proponents, straw men and bricks.

After reading Professor Sharpe’s letter to the Times on the PACE Trial, I have followed the BMJ comments submitted by learned and informed people. I am not learned, but as a carer for some 20 plus years, I am reasonably informed.

Perhaps it would be helpful to look at the divergence of opinion on PACE again, this time metaphorically?

What I see in the PACE proponents’ arguments are “strawmen’, “clutching at proverbial straws.”

Neither is the strawman approach helpful, nor clutching at straws advised.
Neither have have any place in reasoned, scientific argument.

Finally, the "proof of the pudding is in the eating."
If PACE were to have been the "best thing since sliced bread", patients and their families would be embracing it, not rejecting it! No one wants to remain ill and most will do anything to improve their situation.

The only "benefits" coming out of the PACE trial are to the DWP (central Government ideology) and the Insurance Industry.

Straw man
noun: straw man; plural noun: straw men; noun: strawman; plural noun: strawmen
1. 1.
an intentionally misrepresented proposition that is set up because it is easier to defeat than an opponent's real argument.
"her familiar procedure of creating a straw man by exaggerating their approach"
2. 2.
a person regarded as having no substance or integrity.

Clutching at Straws.......
“We drift down time, clutching at straws. But what good's a brick to a drowning man?”
Tom Stoppard, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

"Hamlet told from the worm's-eye view of two minor characters, bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Echoes of Waiting for Godot resound, reality and illusion mix, and where fate leads heroes to a tragic but inevitable end.............."

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 September 2018
Barbara Robinson
Alternative education teacher
Ipswich Suffolk