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Happenstance Coincidence and Enemy Action

Posted by Dr No on 06 July 2010

goodbye.jpgReaders who frequent the pages of the UK medical blogosphere cannot fail to have noticed the decline in blogging activity. Almost a year ago, Dr Rant posted ‘Farewell Lord Darzi’ which was a farewell post in more ways than one. Earlier this year, the sun set spectacularly on Dr Crippen, and more recently The Jobbing Doctor turned off his steady flow of posts in mid-stream. Many of those who are still posting are doing so at reduced frequency. Only L'Oréal Pal continues to post regularly, presumably because she thinks she’s worth it.

Pal, of course, is longer on the medical register – and is therefore immune to GMC sanctions. The rest of us who are still on the register will inevitably wonder from time to time whether the Stasi will one day knock on our door. Those of us who profess anonymity know only too well how thin that veil is, and how easily it can be torn aside. Even Dr No, earlier this year, was offered a holiday he couldn’t refuse.

It may of course be that as the brown-nosed politics of Nu-Labour has given way to the – for now – softer politics of coalition, bloggers have felt less prompted to vent their spleen. But Dr No doubts the silence is one of apathy. The NHS remains in as parlous a state as ever; and only last week the World Photocopying Organisation, otherwise know as WHO, was accused of faking the swine ’flu pandemic, the better to line the pockets of their pals in the pharmaceutical industry.

The other alternative is interference – sinister interference. Dr Crippen was known to be in hot water over his ME posts, and his disappearance coincided with a stiff letter of protest to The Guardian. And The Jobbing Doctor’s sudden disappearance followed soon after a briefly published post critical of a particular hospital. In both cases, not only the blogger, but their entire blog, disappeared from their home websites.

Happenstance, coincidence, or enemy action? Dr No is not sure. For now, Dr No intends to follow the ways of his esteemed colleague, Auric Goldfinger. Two disappearances are a coincidence. But if a third blog disappears in suspicious circumstances, then he will have no alternative but to conclude that the disappearances have resulted from enemy action.


Maybe just irrational fear? Could this perhaps be also the reason why no blogging doctor debates new health changes and policy anymore? Since the coalition government too office, MR Lansley made major changes, but not a word was said around the blogosphere!

I would like to believe that the deafening silence in blogland is due to the non-antigonistic stance of our present coaliton government.

I must admit to being heartened by this: but accept that my belief (in that our present government will fulfill their promises) is perhaps proof of my naivity.

Dr. Crippen left the blogsphere well before the election and if the ME brigade played a part in this and were a reason for his 'demise' this is indeed worrisome.

As to JD, I must have missed his post regarding the hospital. Again, if this was the reasoning (from where?) for this good man to so fear for his future that he should cease blogging; we as society should fear for our freedom.

I do not pretend to know what GMC sanctions could exist here; to the point where doctors fear to tread; and if this was the reason for your temporary absence Dr. No, we should all be worried in our beds.

I think it will take a while for the effect of any change in government policy to be felt at the front line and perhaps people are taking the wait and see approach. It is an odd coincidence that there has been a spate of losses but perhaps it is just coincidence.
I do agree however that the GMC are an added factor. They do seem to take the view that the medical act gives them carte blanche to ignore other laws and rights and make up their own rules in a wholly arbitrary and inconsistent manner.
On the plus side it is nice to see a spirit of cameraderie amongst bloggers.

I have enjoyed reading the concerns and observations of many of the recently "disappeared" medical bloggers and have also reflected on the trend. Having recently read "Dr Tony Copperfield"'s Sick Notes I was struck by the references to the increasing use of protocols, partialists, defensively minded badly trained junior doctors (who may however possess great communication skills and good bedside manner) on the one hand and the nostalgia for earlier times when heads were crammed with facts, training was a survival course and experience was gained by learning from mistakes while being carefully mentored.

I too long for the return of old school doctors, with a general medical knowledge who later specialise; for continuity of care and for doctors who can be trusted. Unfortunately as Dr Copperfield indicates new school junior doctors cannot be trusted to exercise sound judgement and so rely on protocols. The growth of nurse specialists (mainly for cost saving purposes) also requires protocol driven medicine.

Perhaps the mainly middle age, mainly white, mainly male, old school doctors who have "disapeared" have realised sadly that however right they may be the world has moved on (for the worse) and they are now "flogging dead horses". Is that perhaps why they have given up?

The letter to The Guardian about Dr Crippen and ME is in the public domain here, along with updates here. Another anti-Crippen site is here (needs to be the cached version to see it), and another one here. Goggle and you will find more...

Shortly after Dr Crippen disappeared, The Guardian let it be known that they were no longer interested in anonymous medical blogs. Happenstance coincidence or enemy action?

Jobbing Doctor has returned to the fray - which is great news - perhaps he might be able to assist in answering your question?

He (JD) sure is back - he did a sort of fire-cracker number earlier today when dozens of posts suddenly exploded onto his blog.

Good to see him back! The only 'clue' he gives is 'I have had some issues to resolve, and I am happy that they are sorted now' - ishooos being one of those vague modern words that can mean anything - and a photo of two dark shadow figures dancing on a wall...

Check my website for more abuse by the GMC.

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