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Wrong Anthony Pinching?

Prof. Anthony J. Pinching

Associate Dean for Cornwall

Peninsula Medical School

Direct Phone: +44 **** ******       

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Peninsula Medical School

St. Lukes Campus, Magdalen Road

Exeter, Devon EX1 2LU

United Kingdom

Company Description

The Staff at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (the College) are undoubtedly its most valuable resource. The effective development and retention of high quality staff is therefore one of the highest priorities for the College as it aims to a ... more

Find other employees at this company (323)

Background Information

Employment History


The Steering Group Inc

Louis Freedman Chair In Immunology

St Bartholomew's Hospital


Medical Schools Council

Principal Medical Adviser, Professor



Department of Microbiology and Immunology


Professor, Medical Advisor
Sussex & Kent ME Society

Associate Fellow
Medici Quartet

Associate Dean
Cornwall Music Therapy Trust

CFS and ME Service
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust



Web References (196 Total References)

whooper - The Hummingbirds' Foundation for M.E. [cached]

The recently-released Minutes of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on ME of the meeting held on 16th November 2005 contain a record of the presentation made at that meeting by Professor Tony Pinching, Associate Dean for Cornwall at the Peninsula Medical School and Chair of the NHS CFS/ME Service Investment Steering Group. It is this Steering Group that defined the criteria for the new "CFS" Centres in the UK; it also oversaw the bidding for and the allocation of the .5 million of Government funding. Thus, as Chair of the CFS/ME Service Investment Steering Group, a heavy weight of accountability rests on Pinching's shoulders.

One can but ask yet again why someone in a position of such responsibility as Professor Pinching appears to be intent on wilfully ignoring the large body of international researchers calling for sub-grouping of "CFS" as a matter of urgency.

Comments on the NICE Draft Guideline by Margaret Williams on behalf of the 25% ME Group [cached]

Given the intimation mentioned above that there will be no major changes to the Draft Guideline, it is a matter of grave concern that on 16 th November 2005 Professor Anthony Pinching, Chair of the NHS "CFS/ME" Service Investment Steering Group, informed the All Party Parliamentary Group on ME that "Services will implement the NICE guidelines after these are announced in April 2007".

"Chairman and lead clinician for the programme is Professor Anthony Pinching, a clinical immunologist and Associate Dean for Cornwall at the Peninsula Medical School. He commented: 'The Programme is all about enablement - enabling patients, enabling carers, enabling healthcare professionals: each enabling each other. By creating a fresh, multi-professional and national collaborative team for CFS/ME patients, we now have a framework on which to base enhanced awareness and education' ".
"Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson said: 'I am very grateful to the way in which Professor Pinching has led this programme. The Government's £8.5 million programme to improve services for people with chronic fatigue syndrome/ME has been a tremendous success and has fulfilled its aim to establish clinical networks of expertise. While 65% of the country now has a specialist CFS/ME service, we are keen that the rest of the country follows suit' ".
"Professor John Tooke, Dean of the Peninsula Medical School commented: 'The Peninsula Medical School is proud to have been the host for this important initiative and commends the achievement of Professor Pinching and his colleagues across England for developing services for such a disabling condition.
In the Press Release Professor Pinching refers to "CFS/ME" as a 'beastly illness', but the UK ME community knows that Pinching has a troubling track record in relation to ME/CFS in at least three significant areas:
· in 1989 the Royal College of Physicians agreed to produce a Report that was designed to discredit alternative and complementary medicine approaches to the treatment of allergies and hypersensitivities (which are commonly seen in ME/CFS). Pinching, then at Barts in London, was on the committee that produced this Report. By the autumn of 1991, the Report committee had produced a first draft (Allergy: Conventional and Alternative Concepts). A leading member of HealthWatch (the campaigning organisation to which both Simon Wessely and Charles Shepherd belong that is known for its anti-complementary medicine stance) illegally used the draft Report as evidence against a plaintiff in a High Court action even though on 18 th October 1991 solicitors for the Royal College of Physicians (Field Fisher Waterhouse) had written a letter forbidding use of the draft report, saying: "The College is not in a position to endorse the contents or conclusions of the draft". The draft Report that Pinching helped formulate was never released: it came under massive critical review and had to be re-written, as Fellows of the Royal College described it as "wildly inaccurate" and misleading. However, the Judge accepted the unauthorised draft, on the strength of which he found against the Plaintiff
· During his time as Deputy Chair of the Chief Medical Officer's Working Group, Pinching published an article that effectively pre-empted the conclusions of the CMO's Working Group Report, ie. that the treatment of choice for "CFS/ME" was to be CBT/GET. Pinching stated (i) that CFS was " not related to ongoing exertion" (ii) that the Oxford criteria were " too narrow" (the Oxford criteria being the case definition of "CFS" that expressly includes psychiatric fatigue but expressly excludes neurological disease); (iii) that " over-investigation can be counterproductive to the management of these patients, causing them to seek abnormal test results to validate their illness "; (iv) that "it is helpful to establish with the patient a way of thinking about the illness "; (v) that " the benefits of graded exercise have been shown by randomised controlled trials "; (vi) that "complementary therapists reinforce unhelpful illness beliefs " and (vii) "the essence of treatment is activity management and graded rehabilitation " (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Anthony J Pinching. Prescribers' Journal 2000:40:2:99-196)
· Also during his tenure of the Deputy Chairmanship of the CMO's Working Group Report, Pinching asserted --- in defiance of ever-increasing calls from international experts in ME/CFS for urgent sub-grouping of the heterogeneous label "CFS" - that there was no need for such sub-grouping, which he claimed was nothing more than "semantics" (see CMO's Report, Annex 4). For illustrations of the call by international experts for sub-grouping, see
Despite - or possibly because of - this track record, Pinching was appointed Chairman of the CFS/ME Service Implementation Steering Group for the new Centres, as well as being Lead Adviser on CFS/ME to the Department of Health.
In the NICE Draft Guideline, Pinching is singled out for special acknowledgement. To those of a sceptical disposition, this would appear to be history repeating itself, especially given Pinching's known preference for CBT/GET in "CFS". This prediction is supported not only by his confident prophecy in November 2005 to the All Party Parliamentary Group on ME concerning the implementation of the NICE Guideline, but also by his oral submission on 10 th July 2006 to the Gibson Parliamentary Inquiry on ME/CFS. From the notes taken by those who attended that session (and from their personal reports), Pinching openly and confidently said that he promotes the NICE Guideline and fully supports the biopsychosocial model and the implementation of CBT/GET. This confidence suggests prior knowledge of the outcome of the final Guideline. It was reported that Pinching also emphasised the need to make sure the new NHS services for "CFS/ME" continue to receive on-going funding, and said that the NICE Guideline (due in April 2007) would have an effect on how the Centres "manage" CFS/ME patients, ie. that the Centres would be needed to implement the NICE Guideline. It was reported that Pinching was very proud of the Centres and said that what was now needed was to extend and strengthen the current service by increasing patient through-put, which does not auger well for those with ME/CFS.


The lead adviser on "CFS/ME" to the DoH is Professor Anthony Pinching, who was Chairman of the Investment Steering Group that devised the process and the criteria for setting up the Government's 13 "CFS" Centres (see below); he oversaw the assessment of bids and he allocated the funds. He is one of the 13 Clinical Champions, heading the CFS Centre for the South-West of England; he is Associate Dean of the Peninsula Medical School and is Principal Medical Adviser to the charity Action for ME (Co-Cure ACT:13 th February 2005).

Pinching's views about the disorder are well-known. During the time he was Deputy Chair of the Chief Medical Officer's Working Group Report on "CFS/ME" that was published in January 2002, Pinching stated his views in an article in Prescribers' Journal that was published by the DoH. In that article, he said:
("Chronic Fatigue Syndrome": Anthony J Pinching. Prescribers' Journal: 2000:40:2:99-106).
During his tenure as Deputy Chairman of the CMO's Working Group, Pinching opposed the call for sub-grouping of the heterogeneous term "CFS"; his views are set out in the final Report: the question of subgroups " may be considered a matter of semantics and personal philosophy" (Annex 3, section 3). This does not accord with the views of international experts (see below).
Professor Pinching was one of the advisers on the choice of GDG membership.

Cornwall Music Therapy Trust [cached]

Professor Anthony Pinching , Associate Dean of Peninsula Medical School

Medical Research Council - CFS/ME [cached]

Professor Anthony Pinching - Peninsula Medical School

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