Friday, 30 October 2009

Ex-postman sacks Prof Nutt: government shows contempt for independent advice

Professor Nutt has been told to resign as chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse Drugs (ACMD) after a series of controversial outbursts including accusing ministers of ignoring scientific evidence to distort the drugs debate.

This is a disgrace. It makes an utter mockery of the government bothering to have any so called 'independent' advisers. Prof Nutt had the audacity to tell the politicians how it was, i.e. that the politicians were pandering for votes by spreading propaganda and scaremongering, and in the process they were ignoring the scientific evidence.

Policy should be based on evidence as best it can, it should not be made up in order to satisfy the tabloids and it should not be drawn up by people with no detailed knowledge of the particular policy area. Just imagine what this kind of pathetic bullying does to all the government's independent advisers, they are hardly going to be inspired to giving their honest opinion in the future are they?

This government is an utter disgrace.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The BNP sideshow - corrupt politics fuels the rise of the far right

The news headlines will be dominated by talk of Nick Griffin of the BNP appearing on the BBC's Question Time program tonight. Whatever one thinks of the BNP, they are a political party and they have a right to their views as long as they are within the law of the land, therefore the logic of various 'anti-fascist' groups appears sadly lacking to me. It has always been apparent that the far right and the far left often end up resembling each other, the BNP and the anti-fascist groups could both do with a good long hard look at themselves in the mirror.

Anyway I digress, the point I intended to make was that the BNP have become more successful in recent years for one reason and one reason only, and in my opinion it is nothing to do with the BNP's policies or approach. The reason for their rise is the complete and utter failure of all our major political parties to represent the interests of the general public. The majority of people in this country have become completely disillusioned with politics and this means that a small number of idiots have shown their disillusionment and frustration by voting for the BNP.

Only just over 60% of people voted at the last General Election. There is just so little choice for voters. There is nothing to choose between the major parties is virtually all the key policy areas. For example as regards health, all the major parties want to continue privatising the NHS, they all want to continue to waste billions in continuing the same deeply flawed market based reforms. There is no democracy, the vote that previous generations fought so hard for has come to mean nothing, our political system is corrupt and the far right will continue to prosper until the mainstream politicians start to mend their ways.

There is very little sign that our political masters will remedy this situation anytime soon though. Gordon Brown has signed us up for the Lisbon treaty despite promising in the Labour manifesto that there would definitely be a referendum on this issue. More and more power is being surrendered to the corrupt and unaccountable bureaucracies of Brussels, this is yet more fuel to the fire of resentment and frustration that is felt by a large percentage of the electorate. The spotlight should be on the way in which our current political parties are representing their own vested interests and not the interests of the electorate, not the bigoted BNP.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Numpetry in the NHS; the Walk in Centre Quacks

"Am on call this weekend as a ENT reg and received a call from a "Senior Nurse Practitioner"(her words) in a local walk in centre. She had seen a chap in his seventies with hearing loss for the last week.She had examined both his ears and had found nothing abnormal.
Upto this point, no problems with the conversation. She then proceeded to tell me that she wanted me to admit him and arrange an urgent scan.
She did not have any idea of what type of hearing loss he had. She had never heard of Rinne's or Weber's and got very annoyed when I proceeded to question her further. According to her, she had been taught that sudden hearing loss required a scan as this could be an acoustic neuroma.
Before the usual Noctor supporters on DNUK jump up and say that I should have just accepted to see the patient, I did tell her that she could send the chap to the hospital and he would be assessed by my SHO and me.
But she insisted that he needed to be admitted and scanned. Oh and proceeded to ask for my GMC number.
I am normally a patient person when it comes to dealing with stupid fools but this really annoyed me. However I managed to stop myself from swearing at her down the phone and spoke to one of the doctors in the same centre. He was a locum chap who saw the patient and examined him properly and called me back.
The patient had actually had a cold and developed a conductive hearing loss over the last week.And he is going to come to the ENT clinic next week for an audio and review.What I can't understand is how these poorly trained idiots are allowed to work without supervision? What are the assessment criteria for them to be certified to work in a independent/semi-independent environment?And if they cause such trouble for small specialities like ENT, how much of a hassle do they cause other, busier specialities. "

The above tale is one of many that happen on a regular basis in the NHS. Before the same old trot is rambled out in defence of empowering the ignorant, I am not insulting anyone without a medical degree. I am talking of any worker who is empowered way beyond their means. This includes GPs who try to do the job of consultants after hardly any extra training, they then call themselves GPSIs and try to work as specialists. This includes several varieties of nurse specialist who are employed in roles in which they have to work as general physicians, they simply do not have the knowledge or training for these roles. Walk in Centres sum up the inefficiency of the new privatised NHS, there is no continuity for patients, there is precious little training for staff and these centres cost a hell of a lot of money for the appalling quality work they do.

At the same time as the ignorant are empowered and overpaid, we have people with a lot of training who are wasting their time carrying out menial tasks when they could be doing other more productive things. It certainly appears that a lot of proper nurses are rather appalled by what is going on, it seems that these days proper nursing is being completely neglected and basic standards are not being maintained on the wards:

"All of the above may be true for a minority of senior nurses but unfortunately the vast majority of band 5/6 nurses seem to have lost the plot. They can no longer prioritise work effectively, they cannot safely administer medications, they cannot measure and record patient observations correctly or add up simple MEWS scores correctly and they cannot recognise the signs of a deteriorating patient. Lets get the basics right before we disappear up our own backsides."

Quite right.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Hospitals will go bust, the cultural revolution goes on

The way the NHS works is never simple, in fact in gets more and more complicated every year as the layers of bureaucracy and management exponentially proliferate. The current financial crisis means that NHS funding is being cut. PCTs are therefore having to cut budgets.

As a result of being forced to comply with various expensive and wasteful top down initiatives such as PBC, Choose and Book, ISCTs and other forms of privatisation, the PCTs have less money for all our local hospitals. PCTs have also massively expanded their own staff which has further reduced the amount of money that trickles through to the frontline providers of NHS care.

So funding cuts, useless stupid reforms and bureaucratic inefficiencies are all resulting in massive funding cuts to hospitals. Unfortunately demand increases as medicine advances and our elderly population expands. This means that all around the UK PCTs are starting to refuse to pay hospitals to treat patients, they have no more money, the market has completely failed.

This market failure demonstrates just how stupid the government's market based approach has been. The patients who need treatment will not go away, there will be two potential outcomes to this disaster. Either hospitals will simply have to cancel all elective non emergency work as they are not being paid for it, or hospitals will have to go under financially. This is happening as I write up and down the UK.

It is a no win situation for the hospitals, the aim from the government has been to force hospitals under in order to ship yet more work out to overpaid private providers; the government will claim it is down to the hospital's inefficiency, this is a lie, if you stop paying anyone fairly they will go bust. Just to think we are paying more in tax in order to subsidise this 'cultural revolution' of change that is destroying our NHS. Thanks Gordon, it's just sad that big Dave will continue the mayhem while the Liberal Democrats don't seem to mind either.

Friday, 2 October 2009

ISTCs kill

I have said it before and I'll say it again, ISTCs are expensive and dangerous. This recent BBC Panorama program says a lot of things that I have said on this blog time and time again.

The comments from the Health Minister and the regulator are beneath contempt, they are either being dishonest or they are completely ignorant of what they speak. The dangerous lack of safety at ISTCs cannot be put down to 'human error', they were down to negligence and a complete rank lack of decent procedure being in place.

ISTCs have been brought in without adequate mechanisms in place to ensure that the care they provide is of a decent and safe standard. This is the fault of the government and the regulator. The only outcomes these shoddy centres have measured are extremely soft and meaningless.

The same lack of transparency is present for many of the government's recent health reforms. No one has looked at outcomes for GP out of hour's services that have been farmed out to dodgy private firms, no one has looked at the dangerous Walk in Centres that often have some rather dodgy staff running them, no one has looked at many new health care projects that this government has forced through in a reckless manner. This government quite literally has blood on its hands, this privatisation has not only wasted our money but has also killed people.