Monday, 21 January 2008

Ferreting through medical news and blogging - 1

The way health care is run is going to change rather dramatically over the next few years, and there doesn't appear to much that the general public can do to stop it, short of strapping oneself with explosives and taking a trip to the DoH headquarters in Whitehall. The government is intent upon a campaign of wanton destruction, having wasted billions on the internal market, the stage is now set for dishing out yet more juicy contracts to the altruistic private sector. The links between government and business are as close as ever, but I'm not quite sure that they'll be working in the best interests of the general public. It's hard to be very sure of what exactly they are up to, as various firewall-like defense mechanisms such as the Freedom of Information act mean that information and consultation are kept to an absolute minimum, until the next dastardly scheme has arrived on one's doorstep, and by then it is too late.

There is some positive news from Lancashire with a PCT pulling out of a CATS deal with Netcare due to its extremely poor value for money, I just wonder how much compensation Netcare will get for their efforts though. I remember reading in the Telegraph at the weekend that the new tendering process for private firms building schools meant that as much money was spent tendering as was spent on the schools themselves, showing the rather obvious downside of using private competition in the public sector. The NAO has also looked at the overall value for money that the public sector has extracted from PFI deals and unsurprisingy found PFIs to be poor value for money. Shockingly, a large number of UK trained physiotherapists cannot find work in the NHS following graduation, and this is despite there being unacceptably long waiting times for physiotherapy up and down the country. It shows what happens when political needs are given precedence over clinical ones, billions are wasted on ideological reform while patients are left to fend for themselves.

Virgin is set to enter the primary care 'market' in 2008, one wonders whether their health care will be as outstanding and reliable as their trains? One thing that is sure though, is that they will put their shareholders first, and this may have rather grave implications for NHS patients. Virgin health care are keen to point out the care is still 'free at the point of delivery', this couldn't be called privatising primary care then could it? On a tangent, it seems that top down orders have resulted in PCTs trying to suppress the reality of Practice Based Commissioning. Interestingly 'The survey shows only 12% of GPs feel PBC has improved care', so while primary care must be overhauled because only 90% of patients are happy, billions will continue to be wasted on a scheme that appears to be an unpolishable turd.

In the blogging world Sam points out the important job that Remedy are currently doing for juniors, this is especially relevant now with Remedy's job update site being a lifesaver for many doctors struggling through a rather disorganised and shambolic application process this year. Congratulations are in order for Barry Monk, I would disagree with him slightly in that the pinnacle of his career would be winning a seat in parliament at the next election, fingers crossed of course. More good work from the Witch Doctor too, showing us just where 'retail medicine' will lead us, and it ain't pretty. Dr Grumble has sensibly supplied a link which can help all of us medical bloggers avoid trouble with our musings, blogging about work is certainly a very grey area; I deliberately do not mention anything to do with my daily work as I want to keep well away from this grey area. I cannot believe that anyone could get in trouble for having political opinions, Labour has not quite turned Britain into Iran, yet. Pay peanuts, you get monkeys, Dr Crippen hits the nail firmly on the head, the NHS can't even afford peanuts though with so much money being wasted on ideological gimmicks.

I have already commented on Dr Ray's interesting deconstruction of Labour's NHS tactics, this is perfectly demonstrated by Alan Johnson's rather ominous absence from the public eye. This tactic of avoiding criticism and open debate has been used more and more frequently by Labour of late, call me a cynic, but I think it's a sign of a regime that knows it is forcing through unpopular policy and is just trying to minimise the commotion surrounding their antidemocratic reform. Front point has not been in action for a while, but this piece on the importance of the continuity of care is particularly relevant in the context of the government's push for more Walk in Centres and Polyclinics. Henry North links to this fantastically amusing piece from Bloggerheads about SOCPA, could the government really be 'authoritarian and stupid', and maybe they are reading and planning new laws to punish people who even have the audacity to call them 'authoritarian and stupid'? Straying off into non-medical things, the Policeman's blog has been on top form keeping an eye out for government newspeak and more gaffes from the Labour loudspeaker that goes by the name of Toynbee. Just to finish with something medical, Dr Crippen tells the sad tale of Luke Solon, a junior doctor who typifies the sad waste of talent that Labour have presided over in the health service; what a waste indeed:
"Yes I'm sad to be leaving some great colleagues and a job that has both tremendous highs (to go with the recent soul-destroying lows) but on balance I am relieved not to be entering into the mad scramble for jobs this year and for the first time in a while I am optimistic about the future. I'm on nights at the moment, being ordered around by "Outreach Nurses" and hassled by A&E to meet their 4 hour targets."
ps please email the ferret fancier for anything you feel should be included next time and it will be considered

1 comment:

Henry North London 2.0 said...

Thank you Garth for the link and the blogroll entry