Exposed: Belfast brain surgeon who offers quack gay cures
Josh Parry, above, a reporter for the Liverpool Echo. went undercover to investigate a church that claims to cure homosexuality – and discovered that its pastor, Dr Desmond Dele Sanusi, inset, works as an NHS brain surgeon in Belfast.
In this report, Parry revealed that the Liverpool branch of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries on Breck Road believes it can cure gay people with a three-day starvation programme.
Sanusi – “an erudite Bible scholar” – is a doctor registered with the General Medical Council, and is believed to be working as a neurosurgeon for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust.
The trust, which oversees eight different hospitals, confirmed that Dr Sanusi was an employee, but refused to declare his job title or which hospital he works in.
They also said that they are “looking into” the Echo‘s claims with a multi-department investigation.
Parry found the church’s assistant pastor was offering “deliverance” therapy – often referred to as “pray the gay away”.
The church’s website also suggests the “cure” should be undertaken by victims of sexual assault and child abuse.
When approached with Parry’s findings, Sanusi repeatedly denied that the church discriminated against gay people – and said that any advice given out was not sanctioned by himself – and instead advised a 24-hour fasting period.
If you come to the church to come and pray to come and know God better you are welcome. We don’t discriminate against people. [The programme] been running for over 20 years and nobody has dropped dead.
As part of the therapy, Parry was told that he should starve himself without drinking any water for up to three days in order for the “cure” to be more effective. At no point was any medical examination offered.
Companies House records name Dr Sanusi as the director of Converriage Ventures Limited, registered to an address in Warrington. which is described as a “financial management business” which also has interests in the
Regulation of health care, education, cultural and other social services and other human health activities
The company was formed in 2016 with £250,000 worth of shares.
Although Sanusi’s’s involvement with the church is not believed to be in contravention of any rules or regulations, the church’s recommendations go against a memorandum of understanding signed by over 15 professional medical bodies in 2015 – including the NHS.
The document was signed by 15 governing bodies including the NHS, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and states that there is “no evidence” that conversion therapy works, while there is evidence it has “the potential to cause harm”.
The Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries website – which also has a “meet the pastor” section featuring Sanusi, advertises deliverance therapy sessions which are held every three months.
However experts slammed the programme as “dangerous” for both mental and physical health, and said the Echo’s’s findings are “extremely concerning”.
Dr Louise Theodosiou, consultant psychiatrist from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said that the fasting element of the therapy poses “huge” risks to physical health, and could impact on the brain function of those undergoing the treatment.
If a person doesn’t eat for 24 hours, while that wouldn’t lead to a significant deterioration in your brain function, you certainly wouldn’t be functioning at your normal rate of mental agility or acuity. It would be dangerous, for example, for them to drive.
You can imagine a person would be extremely thirsty after that length of time so there may be a situation where you exacerbate underlying health conditions and then overload your fluids in your desperation to relieve your thirst.
A spokesperson for the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust said:
Belfast Trust is investigating the claims put to them.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn