Simon Wessely is Chair of Psychological Medicine at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neurosciences (IoPPN), King’s College London. Born and educated in Sheffield, he studied medical sciences and history of art at Trinity Hall, Cambridge (1975-78) and finished his medical training at University College Oxford, graduating in 1981. Professor Wessely has been a consultant liaison psychiatrist at King’s College and Maudsley Hospitals since 1991. He has a long standing interest in the boundaries of medicine and psychiatry, and in particular unexplained symptoms and syndromes. He is also interested in military health and established the King’s Centre for Military Health Research. Its flagship project, a large-scale ongoing study of the health and wellbeing of the UK Armed Forces, has had a direct impact on public policy and on forms of treatment and help for Service personnel. He is Civilian Consultant Advisor in Psychiatry to the British Army and has visited services in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is a trustee of Combat Stress and his contributions to other veterans’ charities include cycling (slowly) seven times to Paris to raise funds for service personnel in need. Professor Wessely has over 750 original academic publications, and has also co authored a text book on chronic fatigue syndrome, a history of military psychiatry and a book on randomised controlled trials, although none are best sellers. He is active in public engagement activities, speaking regularly on radio, TV and at literary and science festivals as well as writing columns for many national newspapers. He is a Foundation Senior Investigator of the National Institute for Health Research, and Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. In 2012 he was awarded the first Nature “John Maddox Prize” for Standing Up for Science, and was knighted in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List. In 2014 he was elected President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Simon Wessely responds to the huge amount of recent criticism that has surrounded the publication of a follow-up paper of the PACE trial into chronic fatigue syndrome. This extended blog presents the PACE trial and its main results, but also reminds us what makes a good RCT, as well as exploring how well PACE measures up.[read the full story...]