Senior MPs have called on the NHS to take action after it emerged that a surgeon working in London hospitals has been involved with the running of 5G conspiracy groups.
A PoliticsHome investigation has identified Matthew James, a consultant plastic surgeon working for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS trust, as a moderator of two groups involved in spreading disinformation about 5G technology to thousands of people.
The groups, which have a combined membership of almost 3,000, have been actively involved in sharing discredited information about the high-speed internet technology as well as discussing conspiracy theories related to coronavirus and its links with 5G.
Mr James, who identifies himself on Facebook as a “constructive plastic reconstructive surgeon” has also been an active member of the groups, including suggesting that illnesses such as autism and Alzheimer's disease are linked to vaccines and 4G technology.
In one post from May, Mr James shared an article about the use of aluminium in vaccines, adding: “Combine aluminium with 4G microwaves is it any wonder...we have autism alzheimer's adhd and glioblastoma."
Despite urging members to avoid linking 5G to the coronavirus pandemic, he also suggested 4G technology "may cause a weakened immune system".
And he liked a post sharing an article which concluded the "real problem" with the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan may be “with the 5G electromagnetic radiation weakening people’s immune systems, not to mention possibly making the virus itself more virulent".
And in a further comment, he suggested the roll-out of the technology was part of an “experiment on the nation”.
"Is it any wonder we have the highest set limits for Radiofrequency safety levels in the World," he wrote.
"It's to support 5G TECH BRITAIN - and the coming experiment on a Nation.
"What will Alzheimer's ADHD Autism Cancer and Autoimmunity levels look like in 2030 - if the masters of Chaos get their way."
The surgeon's comments have triggered calls from MPs for the NHS trust to take action, with Labour’s Shadow Digital Minister Chris Matheson telling PoliticsHome: “The allegations are very concerning and the trust needs to investigate this fully as there is no place for crackpot conspiracy theories during the current crisis.”
Concerns about the spread of 5G conspiracy theories on social media have risen in recent months after broadband workers were subjected to attacks and three mobile phone masts were set on fire.
Conservative MP Giles Watling, who sits on the Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, told PoliticsHome the posts were “incredibly serious”.
“An individual that presents himself as being a doctor could potentially cause much more mayhem,” he said.
He added: “We have the example of the doctor who said the MMR jab caused autism and one must be really robust in getting the message across that fake news, wherever it comes from must be found and called out and spread across social media that this is fake news.”
Meanwhile, Damian Collins, the former chair of the DCMS committee who led the Commons inquiry into Cambridge Analytica, said NHS Trusts should order staff not to contradict public health information.
“This is really concerning. We know that bogus conspiracy theories around 5G signals being a cause of COVID-19 have created damaging real world consequences,” he said.
“We’ve seen arson attacks on mobile phone masts and telecom engineers have received abuse in the streets.
“For someone who posts on social media, where they also reference their medical qualifications, this is even more damaging. People may have been misled into taking these conspiracies more seriously because they were being posted by someone who clearly worked in healthcare.
He added: “I think NHS trusts should issue guidance to their staff that if they are posting on social media and also referencing their medical qualifications, then they should not contradict public health information.”
A spokesperson for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have spoken to Mr James about his social media activity, which does not represent the views of the Trust."
But they added: "We are confident that his personal opinions on this matter do not impact his work as a plastic surgeon.”
Mr James has been approached for comment.