Its not often I get accused of making an…
“…..accusation of conspiracy by public health officials.”
….in fact it’s never happened. This accusation by Child Health Safety is something which I take very seriously and something which clearly deserves comment. Especially as it ruined my Friday afternoon session on the C64 classic Jack Charlton’s Match Fishing.
The background to this was an article published on May 3rd titled “The UK’s Fake Welsh Measles Epidemic – Only 8 Cases Confirmed For March – 302 Wrongly Diagnosed and “Notified” By Docs. The post itself has spread across the web like an infectious disease, being rehashed and reproduced with much delight on a number of websites including beacons of reason Gaia Health and David Ickes ‘Exploring the Dreamworld we believe to be real’ site.
The post itself is actually short, but it is highly inflammatory and makes some very major claims and accusations. The central claim is that
For the entire period 1 January to March 31, 2013 for the whole of Wales there were just 26 laboratory confirmed cases out of 446 notifications: 10 in January, 8 in February. And in March just eight cases out of 302 notifications for the whole of Wales. That is a percentage rate of over-diagnosis and over-notification in March of 3774% or just 0.027 of notified cases were actually measles
which in the mind of CHS is a smoking gun which can be taken as evidence that the measles epidemic was in fact fabricated.
It’s didn’t take too long before people started asking questions, and sure enough it turned out that CHS was wrong – spectacularly and comprehensively wrong. The assertion that all ‘notified’ cases are laboratory tested’ was shown to be false and thus no conclusions could be drawn on over reporting. It was also clarified by Public Health Wales themselves that the majority of measles tests are sent to UK labs for confirmation and are not reported in the figures for Wales.
In short CHS had relied upon incomplete figures and any conclusions, calculations and accusations which were made based on these figures were fatally flawed.
Now from time to time we all make mistakes, but if you are going to use figures to back up serious accusations against doctors and public health officials like these
The UK’s Fake Welsh Measles Epidemic – Only 8 Cases Confirmed For March – 302 Wrongly Diagnosed and “Notified” By Docs…[…]…There was just ONE laboratory confirmed case out of 183 notified cases in March – that is 18,200% over-diagnosed…[…]…That is a percentage rate of over-diagnosis and over-notification in March of 3774% or just 0.027 of notified cases were actually measles – and it is medical professionals who do the diagnosing and notifying. Kind of knocks your faith in the ability of doctors to diagnose a basic childhood illness…[…]…Now you can see the extent of the scam being run by public health officials in Wales, UK.
and encourage widespread dissemination of these accusations
[ED’s REQUEST TO READERS: – repost link to this on Facebook, blogs, websites, Twitter, newspaper online comments please & email your families and friends – people are being scammed by health officials and the media – (added: 5/May/2013)
you’d be well advised to check and double check the figures.
And if subsequently you are found to be wrong I believe there is a responsibility to correct any errors you have made and acknowledge this fact. CHS however chose the dark side. They engaged in deflection tactics and claimed that I had made an
“…..accusation of conspiracy by public health officials.”
when what I actually said was very obviously directed at them
“The paragraph I quoted is relevant to the All-Wales Surveillance Laboratory-Confirmed Infections, which is a central part of your conspiracy.”
An opinion that I stand by. But arguments over who said what and about semantics are only helpful in deflecting attention away from CHS’s errors in the interpretation of the data, something they still refuse to acknowledge
“Your problem is […] – you are saying the figures for tested are higher than those in the reports of tested and compiled and published by Public Health Wales – but you provide no evidence of that.
I’m guessing the following comprehensive and implicit statement from the Public Health Wales website – the very source CHS used in the first place – I provided wasn’t sufficient then?
“Please note that samples taken from patients in Wales are not always submitted to laboratories in Wales for confirmation of the organism causing illness. This is particularly true for suspected cases of measles and mumps where the majority of samples are sent directly to the specialist reference laboratory in England for confirmation. Confirmations made by labs from outside of Wales will not appear on the CoSurv All Wales Surveillance of Laboratory-Confirmed Infections reports as these only include data submitted by or via Welsh laboratories. As a consequence, totals of laboratory-confirmed cases of some diseases in Wales (such as measles and mumps) maybe higher than those published in these monthly reports.”
Despite the clarification statement on what is or isn’t in the reports CHS continue to make up their own interpretation based upon such sound logic as
If the reports were that incorrect there would be no point publishing them.
or alternatively just claim that the qualification statement shows they are right
There is no point sending them for “confirmation” if the results are not sent back. So Public Health Wales will have ALL the data.
based only on assumption. So the big question is who to blame? CHS has already got their arse covered
“And if they are wildly higher than those published by Public Health Wales without qualification we suggest you take it up with them. They published them for everyone to read – without any qualification whatsoever – CHS did not publish them…[…]…Furthermore, the reports themselves published by Public Health Wales contain no such qualification and set out the figures as all of the laboratory tested cases.”
Now this is an argument which I would actually have some sympathy with except that CHS accept no blame for their own part in misusing the figures and they are playing semantics again. The fact that the reports previously had no qualification ignores that fact that the website hosting the figures now does , and that the most likely way people will miss the qualifying statements is by clicking directly to the pdf reports from CHS’s post. It also ignores that fact that this data didn’t force CHS to make wild and lurid accusations against public health officials, to misinterpret that data or to be too lazy to seek clarification. This was entirely of their own doing.
I don’t want an apology from CHS.
But I believe the doctors accused of over diagnosis and the public health officials accused of scamming the public do deserve a full and frank apology. Equally I believe that now CHS has been informed that the evidence does not support the claims they make, they have a duty to retract, remove, or clarify the post which contains the following misinformation:
- That all notified cases of measles are laboratory tested
- That only 26 measles cases were laboratory confirmed between Jan and March 2013 in the whole of Wales AND
- That the All Wales Reports on Laboratory confirmed cases of measles, contains the results of all tests undertaken
- That over diagnosis of Measles in March 2013 was 3774%
Unless they do, it goes from an understandable mistake to incompetence or wilful misinformation. And some might conclude CHS is perpetrating a scam* themselves.
* When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.
CHS continue to defend their post by citing dubious figures and then attributing these to anyone critical of their original post. These figures appear to have originated from CHS themselves (see ED response to Jerry’s post May 13 1:10pm) .
CSH has confirmed in the comments below that they will not be removing the claims they made which are based upon incomplete data contained within the All Wales Laboratory Confirmed Measles Reports. They claim the reasons are that
in February and March Public Health Wales started a scare when on their own admission they did not have the figures to back it up.
So there you have it. The way CHS deals with a lack of data is to counter it with poorly researched data and then stand by them even after this is pointed out to them. The fact that they claim
They [Public Health Wales] omitted to tell the public the truth. That is gross and irresponsible conduct of public health officials who are civil servants paid from taxes of citizens of this country when they appear to be serving another agenda in acting as they did.
sounds almost like (whisper it) a conspiracy.
As promised in the below comments, I went over to CHS to discuss some of the ‘off topic’ issues that they raised. My comment was held in moderation and then deleted without being published. This seems rather hypocritical after the CHS had made a big fuss when they wrongly accused me of ‘blocking’ their posts so I dropped them a twitter message asking them why and they didn’t respond. I then noticed them tweeting this
So there you have it. Child Health Safety not only provide inaccurate information which they refuse to retract, but they will only debate in their echo chamber blog where they can control what is published and by who.