Posts tagged with Privatisation


Kipper the Nipper

The BMA are at it again. By leveraging (Dr No has been reading too many financial reports of late) proper indignation at unspeakable parents who use their cars as smoke-houses to kipper their kids, they now propose a ban on all smoking in any car – even when the smoker is the only occupant. Perhaps they even want to ban smoking in cars when there is no one in the car. Bloggers and commenters too numerous to mention have pointed out the libertarian and practical legal objections to a total ban – but what about the science behind their proposal? Their briefing paper carries the mark of the BMA Board of Science on its front cover – so the science had better be good. But is it?

Hostle Intent

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”

—Franklin D. Roosevelt: First Inaugural Address: Saturday, March 4, 1933

Now that the elections and referendum are over, and the results have knocked the egg out of Clegg, the talk has turned, as it will, to what the Lib-Dems must do to lay themselves sunny-side up again. The general thrust is that they need to get tough, rattle a few sabres, perhaps even fire a few arrows, and so assert their identity in the face of their coallusion partners, the Tories. A top candidate for the sabre rattling treatment is of course the NHS reforms.

Lansley’s Barking Spider

The Ollie Wright/Indy/Number 10 axis of spin has spun again, choosing today to front page a week old ‘let’s be friends’ letter from Dr Clare Gerada to the Prime Minister. Why The Indy ran last week’s news as today’s front page is quite beyond Dr No. Perhaps the wheels of spin spin slowly at the Indy’s offices these days. Those at the BBC however were up to speed, at least when it came to peddling the Indy spin. Radio Four’s Today programme grabbed the week old story and put it at the top of the day’s news, and gave Dr Gerada one of the coveted post-eight o’clock news slots: doctors in massive climb-down. In the event, the story back-fired. Humph humped, but Clare was clear: the RCGP position remains the same - the bill must go.

Ex Labour Con

The thing about orthopaedic surgeons is they like to throw things about. When not throwing prostheses at pretty nurses, or scalpels at pesky students, they like to throw prime ministers off wards. Mr Cameron and his retinue were excised from Guy’s Hospital the other day, as swiftly and effectively as a bunion from Miss Marple’s foot. The only thing missing in the drama was a red flashing light at the centre of the surgeon’s bow tie.

Meanwhile, Alan Milburn, late of the Red Party, has taken the Daz Blue Rinse Test, and been found to be whiter than white. He hasn’t just nailed his colours to the mast, he has sprayed them all over the Torygraph. He has accused the coalition of being lily-livered Yellow Bastards, every sad-man-jack of them.

Would the Real GPs Please Stand Up

Monday’s Channel Four Dispatches programme featured Squeeze Esmail, a sharp professor of general practice, now turned part-time undercover Taliban operative. He lined up some stooges with a collection of red flag symptoms – so-called because they should indicate to any doctor the possibility of serious disease – and fitted them with spook-cams before sending them off to see dodgy GPs, most of whom had un-pronounceable names, and/or worked out of shady lock-up retail premises. The dodgy doctors duly obliged, failing to spot the suicide vests so visibly strapped to their patients chests. Jon Snow presented, with a mixture of knight’s move reporting and come-off-it interviews with Stilton, the chief pongo at the GMC. All in all, the programme raised some important questions, which Dr No may return to another day, but that didn’t stop the Jobbing Doctor from wailing, and hammering yet another nail into his already shattered foot on the cross.

The Core Option

Writing in the Guardian last week, Simon Jenkins had a Big Idea, that small is best. Correctly concluding that central political meddling in the NHS has failed, he opted for the nuclear option. The core of his idea, which like the core of an apple had both rough bits and voids in it, but sadly unlike an apple no seeds, was that, since every other conceivable option has been tried and seen to fail, that left but one course of action: the NHS must be broken up. In prose that crashed about like a driverless juggernaut, the final jack-knifing when it came was curiously more hanging whimper than decisive bang: ‘Denationalisation is now the only version of a public health service not tried’. One fancies a Churchill bell may have been tolling in Jenko’s head. ‘It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried’…‘denationalisation is the best arrangement except all the others not tried’ (sic).

The MBA Mind and the NHS

A program on Radio 4 alerted Dr No to new developments in the world of MBAs. Shocked by the public backlash against MBA graduates for their part in shafting the developed economies, a group of 2009 Harvard Business School alumni have borrowed from Hippocrates to conceive the MBA Oath, an ‘inspiration and accountability tool’, to guide MBA graduates through the business jungle.

Putting aside a natural tendency to view the prospect of MBA graduates taking an ethical oath as more hypocritical than Hippocratic, the accompanying book is still thought provoking. Amongst other things it introduces the idea of the ‘MBA mind’ – that cut throat, greed-is-good brain that powers the suits in their relentless pursuit of profit – not, of course, that the authors word it that way.

Mission Impossible

The Blameless Broadcasting Corporation, which doth protest too much, because it did take sides, by providing skimpy superficial coverage of the Health and Social Care Bill, have at last done something useful. An independent survey ordered by the corporation of over 800 doctors, which we have no reason to assume is not unrepresentative, unlike the GP monkey surveys, has found that only 12 percent of doctors believe GP led commissioning will lead to ‘patients seeing a noticeable improvement in their care’. More than half (55%) disagreed; the remaining third must have sore perineums, for they are still sitting on the fence, saying they don’t know one way or the other.

Dr Smith Has Been Updated

Over on Paul Corrigan’s blog, we learn that Dr Smith has been updated. Whether the update was achieved by a Freeview over-the-air broadcast, or plugging Dr Smith into a USB port isn’t clear, but, following the update, Dr Smith is now crystal clear on how the new NHS commissioning structures will work. This put him way ahead of Mr Corrigan, who in more normal circumstances understands more about healthcare than the entire medical profession put together. But then, it’s amazing what you can do with a bit of IT these days. We shall just have to wait until Mr Corrigan gets updated, and perhaps then he can explain it all to the rest of us.

MTAS Reloaded

Not so long ago, a misguided government, aided by Collegiate lackeys, ruined medical training, in the disaster known as MMC/MTAS. The anger amongst junior doctors was as justified as it was palpable. One particular junior nailed his colours – those colours being rich and brown – to the mast, in a doctors’ only forum. Snooping eyes started, smarted and then popped, and ordered that Scot Jnr – as the doctor became known – be taken out. The ensuing scandal was dubbed Jobbygate, and has continued to rumble on. More widely, a group of juniors formed Remedy UK, but, sadly, Remedy has so far achieved little in the way of a remedy. Today, four years after MMC/MTAS was unleashed, medical training remains in tatters, morale blown, and the contempt for and loathing towards Collegiate lackeys as potent as ever.