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September 2010


The Intelligent Plank: Deep Analysis 2

Two out of three NEDs clueless, report shows.

Dial-a-death-rate pollsters Dr Foster and pals, the ‘UK’s market-leading provider of information, analysis and targeted communications to health and social care organisations’ has published its 2010 Intelligent Board report.

‘The Intelligent Board 2010: Patient Experience’ challenges NHS boards and NEDs to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ over patient experience.

The report found that only one in three non-executive directors feel ‘very well informed’ or ‘well informed’ about patient experience at their trust. Over half of all NEDs surveyed admitted spending less than 10% of their time considering patient experience.

GP Who Wants To Be A Commissionaire?

Chris Tarrant (to camera): Welcome back to GP Who Wants To Be A Commissionaire? – our new show in which your GP competes to see how big a budget he or she can win with which to buy your healthcare. In the chair tonight is Professor Stevie Paddock, hot from the Royal College.

(audience cheers from the RCGP camp; Tarrant turns to Paddock)

Tarrant: How are you feeling, Stevie?

(music swells as camera zooms in to Paddock who looks hot and sweaty)

Tarrant: Take your time, Stevie, before answering.

Franchising the NHS

It has started, not so much with a bang, as with a whisper.

Buried yesterday in Basildon’s tragically named Yellow Advertiser was an apparently run-of-the-mill story about a new hospital opening. Hidden between other shocking stories - ‘Body found in cemetery’ (‘man pronounced dead’) and ‘Bikers hit the road’ (luckily no one was hurt) - ‘Community hospital officially opens’ told a gentle tale of local gardening legend Ray Stephens unveiling a plaque to commemorate the opening of Braintree’s new state-of-the-art Community Hospital.

The Heart of the NHS

Who, or even what, we might ask, lies at the heart of the NHS?

The short Ester Rantzen answer is of course the patient.

But this is the glib answer. It ignores, for example ‘why’ questions: why, for example, is the patient in the NHS at all?

The answer of course is to avail him or herself of what we now call ‘healthcare’, which is in fact medical care, and medical care is provided by medics – doctors. The doctor is as central to the NHS as the patient. Like a ship and her captain at sail on a sea of sickness, patient and doctor sit together at the heart of the NHS; for a ship without a captain is apt to founder; and nothing is bleaker than a captain on the beach.

MMR Killed My Hamster

The Daily Mail, truncheon bearer to the lunching classes, has once again been trying to hit the MMR-Autism nail on the head. Softened, perhaps, by the indolence of a quiet August Bank Holiday, The Truncheon last weekend let slip a dossier of drivel that managed to combine monumental insult to an honest story about a vaccine damage payout with a level of disingenuity that would have even the Prince of Darkness blush.

The bare facts of the story are straight-forward. Some years ago, a Master Robert Fletcher developed severe brain damage shortly after receiving the MMR vaccine. The family alleged causation, and now, after a 13 year appeal, a medico-legal panel has decided, by a two to one majority, to allow the claim, on the grounds of temporal association. Robert and his family have been awarded £90,000 compensation.