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August 2009


Number Soup

We are drowning in number soup again.

The UK medical blogosphere is getting worked up about some numbers released last week by the Patients Association. The consensus seems to be that the numbers are a classic example of foul play by statistics. But perhaps they are not.

Revalidation Pilot Launched

Dr Maurice Colon, National Lead on Revalidating Doctors reports: ~ Well, I can tell you, we are all having a spiffing time down here at Revalidation Central.

The Collapse of the Probability Function

One of the more striking changes in medicine in recent years has been the increasing use of - and reliance on - numbers. Now, cosying up to numbers is all very well, as long as you understand them. Most doctors do not.

Thriller Killer

The news that Michael Jackson’s physician, Dr Conrad Murray, is to be charged with manslaughter for allegedly killing Jacko with an anaesthetic called propofol raises many questions – not least of which is why was propofol being used in the first place?

Drive-By Doc Sparks Union Spat

Dr Richard “It seemed like a good idea at the time” Smith, late of the BMJ, continues to blog on the BMJ website. It now appears that his former colleagues have been having a laugh at his expense by replacing his erudite words with their own tedious scribblings.

The Locum’s Guide to UK Mental Health Trusts

Dr Helen Bright once observed that locums are all too often asked to “swim in troubled waters”. Many locums will agree. Often the clues that the trust is in trouble can be spotted early on – provided one knows what to look for – which allows one to beat a hasty and hopefully painless retreat before the sharks come out to play.

The Lies of Others

Twenty five years ago, the General Medical Council’s Annual Retention Fee for doctors to remain on the Medical Register was £20, and the “Blue Book” – the Council’s code of professional conduct for doctors – ran to some thirty pages. Today, the same fee is £410, and the code, which is now issued in several volumes, runs to hundreds of pages.

The Peter Squared Principle

Hierachiology – the “-ology” that studies hierarchies – was founded by Dr Laurence J Peter, who also gave his name to the eponymous Peter Principle: that, in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence.