Saturday, 24 December 2011

Quackery of the lowest form possible - exploiting dying cancer patients

Exploiting those who are dying of cancer for their very last pennies is one of the most contemptible and disgraceful things humanly possible, yet it does not appear to be stopping some 'cancer experts'. The story is of a poor chap with end stage metastatic lung cancer:

"The first of these people is the proprietor of Cancer Options. Cancer Options is a private consultancy offering advice to cancer patients. It is run by Patricia Peat who is a qualified nurse. My dad went to see her and she told him the good news, if he followed her advice he could be tumour free in 3 to 4 years. She advised him to have intravenous vitamin c, to have oxygen therapy, heat therapy and to take a myriad of supplements."

Words fail me. This poor man has been sucked in by this dishonest quackery, he has spent thousands of pounds on unproven nonsense in the vain hope of extending his life, he and his family have been lied to and deceived. I am disgusted and appalled the more I read of the nonsense peddled by these malignant charlatans. High Vitamin C does not prolong life in cancer patients, don't let any quacks tell you otherwise.

The 'cancer experts' at the heart of this scam are nurse Patricia Peat (registered nurse and Dr (not medical) Chris Etheridge. They work together at Cancer Options which they call 'private, cancer consultancy where you can obtain consultancy, research and coaching for all the different cancer treatments and therapies."

Cancer Options, as well as all of Ethergidge's other schemes including Integrated Cancer Healthcare, bear all the classic hallmarks of first class quackery. Firstly neither is a medical doctor, one is a nurse and the other has no medical training at all. Secondly they are clever in the way they have worded their scam, it is all about 'supplementing' and 'complementing' traditional treatments with their integrated hogwash.

The emphasis is on 'herbal remedies', 'diet', 'holistic therapy', 'detoxification', 'supportive regimes', 'natural complementary treatments' and on and on. It is expensive rubbish that will provide no benefit to cancer patients. These first class charlatans are exploiting the sick to make a handsome living, they are beneath contempt.

Spare a thought for the poor man with lung cancer and his family, he has been taken for a ride when at his weakest, he has trusted these Charlatans because no honest individual would pretend he can be cured. This all goes to show just how pathetic the government's regulation of 'complementary' medicine is, no medically qualified practitioner would escape the GMC's wrath for such unethical, immoral and disgraceful practice. It appears routine for companies and quacks to make false claims about their 'alternative' quackery, and nothing is done, the regulation of this dodgy industry is so very limp.

Beware of Charlatans like Peat and Etheridge, if a type of 'medicine' is described as 'complimentary' or 'alternative', then there is a reason for this, it is because there is no decent evidence that it works. One would be better off saving one's money, eating a few leaves from one's garden and keeping well away from this deplorable quackery.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Bevan's run - Save the NHS from Lansley!

The government's health bill is an absolute disaster waiting to happen, of course it is not anything completely new, it is a continuation of the destructive market based reforms that have been going since the days of Maggie Thatcher.  Having said that though, Lansley's terrible paper is a rather rapid turn along this road of doom.

The media haven't really explained things properly to the public.  The reality of the bill is that it is a fast track towards a privatised NHS in which the tax payer merely pays private firms for health care.  This has simply not been explained to the public.  Part of the problem has been Lansley's lack of honesty and part of it has been the media's lack of objective analysis for whatever reasons.

Two people who have always said things exactly how it is are Allyson Pollock and Clive Peedell.  I would strongly advise popping past the former's site and reading some of her fantastic analysis of Lansley's dog's dinner.  The latter has been working and campaigning harder than anyone, in fact he is organising a protest run, called Bevan's run:

"January 10-15th, 2012. 160 miles in 6 days from Aneurin Bevan's Statue in Cardiff to the Department of Health, Richmond House, Whitehall, London. To protest against the Health and Social Care Bill and NHS privatisation. Calling at Witney (David Cameron's constituency). Follow me on Twitter @cpeedell and #bevansrun."

Bravo Dr Peedell.  If only the BMA had such fight and guts, we would not be in such a mess.  I would strongly recommend than anyone who cares about the NHS pays Dr Peedell's blog a visit and considers joining him for a part of his protest run.  If everyone thought and acted like Dr Peedell then the likes of Lansley would never get their malignant bills through Parliament.  I would urge everyone to think about getting involved in Bevan's run and at a minimum, forwarding on this information to their friends and colleagues.

Do we really want to tell our children that as Lansley stood next to the NHS with his box of matches and can of petrol, that we stood idly by and did nothing? 

Thursday, 1 December 2011

The NHS is in utter crisis - Trauma disaster

The way trauma care is handled in the UK is in the process of being centralised.  This means that a small number of more specialist centres are meant to be taking a far larger proportion of the workload in order to improve the patient outcomes.  That is the theory anyway.

Now for the reality.  The government is starving the NHS of cash and despite the current service reconfigurations the so called specialist centres simply do not appear to have the funds to be able to increase capacity and handle this extra workload.  The result is a disaster of pretty sizeable proportions.

David Goodier, an excellent and highly conscientious trauma surgeon at Barts and the London, has resigned due to systemic failings regarding the standards of care and management failing to take his warnings seriously.  This is an incredibly brave stance from a really noble surgeon.

His resignation letter can be read in full.  The concern I have it that this is no isolated example.  The same lack of care and concern from management that has resulted in genuine patient harm at Barts and the London is highly likely to be going on in many other hospitals and in many other specialities other than trauma surgery.

The combination of the government's target driven top down approach to the NHS combined with the failed reforms which have left numerous NHS trusts struggling for small change, has resulted in a management structure and system that ignores harm being done to patients, as long as targets are met.  It is disgraceful.  Bravo to David Goodier for taking this brave stand.