Sunday, 20 January 2008

Medical blogging- a crossroads?

I happened upon this rather enjoyable piece of the Witch doctor's the other day and just wanted to reiterate what was said. As most of you know Dr Grumble spoke here of the reasons behind his withdrawal from blogosphere. Quite a few interesting comments were made at the time, and I have just noticed that sadly Dr Grumble has removed his blog as a result of fears for his safety. Dr Grumble is spot on with this comment, the NHS cannot take constructive criticism and this is a huge problem that holds back progress:

"We are all new to blogging. Inevitably we have made mistakes. In my view the NHS cannot take constructive criticism (because it sees criticism as not being constructive). If you intend to criticise the first priority is to keep your identity secret. Without anonymity your comments and thoughts are stifled by concerns about what the averse consequences of your free thinking might be. Stifling honestly held opinion is not a healthy thing to do."

I would urge anyone that has time to read Dr Grumble's eloquent words here, his thoughtful and articulate commentaries will be considerably missed in my opinion. I am not one for conspiracy theories, but explanations for government policy reforms frequently revolve around perpetuating the self interest of politicians and their political parties, and our political system has been shown to be not entirely free of corruption.

The Witch doctor wants us to play a game of joining the dots. It does not take a PhD in logical thinking to come to a rather sinister explanation that Dr Grumble was hinting at. The government cynically and deliberately reduced the responsibility that doctors take for their patients with the new GP contract, this was done by offering a pittance for out of hours work that GPs could simply not afford to take on. This has left a gap through which the 'Britnell bulldozer' can be forced through, as more and more of routine NHS work can be farmed out to the major health care corporations. The dodgy links between politicians and business as regards the health care beggar belief, Patrica Hewitt being the latest to cash in on her political status with a job 'advising' Boots.

The government will pretend that this ideological reform is not privatisation, this is a lie, it is. In fact Labour and Blair were elected on an anti-privatisation ticket in 1997, which makes this agenda of destruction all the more galling, it is fundamentally antidemocratic. Some would argue that as we have elected these people, this is democracy; I would argue that our politicians have a responsibility to represent the best interests of the public, and that going back on promises is rather the opposite of what is meant by 'democracy'. The privatisation is particularly galling because it is an inefficient use of our money and the service could be much better if money was more effectively spent on the 'NHS', and not filling the pockets of corporations close the HMG. Dr Ray nicely hits the nail on the head with this piece that neatly deconstructs Labour's cynical war.

The thing that infuriates me most about all of this is the complete lack of open and honest policy making, and an NHS culture that is completely resistant to constructive criticism. The public could get a fantastic health system for relatively little if the government chose to work with people, to cooperate with the experts, if they chose to listen and respond to criticism, rather than silencing and intimidating those who speak out. That's why I intend to continue blogging and sticking it to them, and it is also good to see Dr Crippen back waging war again.


Dr Ray said...

Garth, I'm not sure how you managed it but you must have linked to my blog while I was still writing it! Or at least checking the spelling.
Interesting we are both speculating about the same thing. My blog is not quite dead but its GCS is well below 11. Rita Pal has killed her blog too.
Good news and bad news for you. Good news first. I came across your blog very high up on one of the blog charts. Around 15 for medical blogs worldwide. Dr Rant was 45. Bad news is that you don't get many comments (like myself); that makes me wonder who is accessing your blog so often and staying quiet. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Garth Marenghi said...

Dr Ray,

It's certainly partly down to the fact that I don't allow anonymous comments like most other blogs, a lot of comments seem to come from people who hide behind the anonymous tag.

one thing I'm not sure of is why the ferret's technorati authority keeps dropping, even though I'm getting more readers and so on, don't quite understand it?