Friday, 30 March 2007

Come down from the trees

The CMO published another long winded report in 2006 on the topic of medical regulation. In a rather typical fashion he pretended that he was doing it all in the name of 'patient safety', however to the astute observer his report was a yet another in a long line of vicious assaults on the autonomy of the medical profession. The CMO's proposals unsurprisingly increased the government's grip on the medical profession by shifting powers to politicised bodies, while doctors must bear the financial burden for several new and unproven processes of registration, revalidation and appraisal. While there are also a few awful ideas such as lowering the standard of proof from a criminal to a civil one, and handing more powers to the numpty-like PMETB who frequently have trouble tying their own shoe laces.

Overall the response to the report was very mixed and several proposals were particularly unpopular, including the burden of proof change and handing work to the incompetent PMETB. The consultation process was conducted in a particularly subtle manner, meaning that the time people had realised there was a consultation it was already finished. There were also several gaping flaws in the process; it was ludicrous to listen to the opinion of patients on the lowering of the standard of proof, but then again this government only ever ask the people who it knows will give the 'correct' answer.

The following questions were sent to the DoH under the Freedom of Information act. The DoH is using some very fishy stalling tactics as we speak.

" I am writing as regards a FOI request about the CMO's
report from July 2006. I have some specific questions.

1. Before the report was published, with who did the CMO
discuss the possible content or suggestions to be included
in the report?

2. Did the CMO receive any advice advice before embarking
upon his work on his report? If so who was the advice
from and what records do you have of this advice?

3. Was the possible content of the report discussed by
the CMO with the prime minister, any ministers or
politicians, government advisers, senior DOH officials, or
corporate representatives?

4. If the content of the CMO's report was discussed with
any of the above people, I would like to see records of
precisely what was discussed and who was present.

5. What evidence do you have that the consultation
process for the CMO's suggested reforms has been adequate?

6. Do you have any records or documentation of any
possible discussions of this consultation process between
the CMO, DOH officials, ministers and advisers?

7. If you think the consultation has been adequate then
how would you reassure members of the public and medical
profession who are concerned with certain areas of the
CMO's report"

These are the CMO's alleged intentions for his dismantling of medical regulation:

"• improving patient safety;
• harmonisation of regulation for all health professions;
• stronger management of fitness to practise at local levels;
• more co-ordination of actions between regulators, employers and
other related bodies;
• clarification of the standards expected of health professionals."

If these were his genuine intentions then why would the DoH be so keen to withhold this vital information that has been requested under the FOI act? This makes the whole process look corrupt and underhand, and his quoted intentions appear to be nothing more than a smokescreen. His real intentions are arguably:

"•achieve further personal honours and career progression
•hand control of the medical profession to politicians in order to catalyse NHS privatisation"

This story has more to roll. Watch this space.

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