Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Mangling Medical Careers - Gordon and Labour's ghastly legacy

With the election looming I thought it worth emphasising just what 'new' Labour have done to the NHS and doctors since they came to power in 1997. Instead of working with professionals, they have demoralised and undermined them with their megalomania and top down control freakery. This short tale is from one of many who have had their career destroyed by Labour in such a heartless fashion, it gets across just what this current regime represents:

"In short, MMC has destroyed my career. In the space of 18 months, I went from being told I had the natural talent be one of the best cardiac surgeons in the world by my consultants to being dumped on the scrap heap. I got a LAT registrar post in London Deanery after only 12 months as a cardiothoracic SHO only 6 months of which were adult cardiac. With only that 6 month SHO experience, I went on to perform my first skin to skin set of grafts after only 5 and a half months and over 10 first operator cases by the end of my first year as a reg.I then went on to start a PhD and suddenly MMC started.
The goalposts changed overnight and I went from being perfectly positioned to be able to start applying for a number to being "too experienced". My research, papers, logbook of cases, experience all count for nothing; if fact they are a burden. There were no gaps in my CV and application form last year. I had all the exams, courses, cases, presentations, publications, research, everything. I could operate. My bosses wouldn'e even come in for major trauma or emergencies knowing full well I was capable of dealing with it. I didn't even get shortlisted yet my SHO who couldn't even take a saphenous vein without help got an NTN in cardiothoracics.That's just the start.
Since I graduated in 2001, the NHS has changed beyond recognition. At work, management treat us with disdain and contempt, doing everything they can to show us who really is in charge. I can't even plan to go out in a couple of weeks as I don't know what my oncall rota for May is. With some luck, it will be out before next weekend but not necessarily. My fiancee, a GP, now spends more time doing paperwork than she spends seeing patients. Not only that, but she's forced to do extended hours for no additional pay, just the threat of a pay cut if she doesn't. Childcare is a nightmare as both of us often have to work at times when none is available. The boys are now used to doing their homework in the surgery and falling asleep there as they are still there till well after their bedtime, or sometimes in the back of her car while she's still doing visits.There are now more administrators in the NHS than doctors and every new target begets a new layer of management with no change in the number of doctors or even a reduction. Enormous sums are bing wasted on useless initiatives and there's no money available for the things that really matter.
There are a lot of other things going badly wrong with medicine but it doesn't end there. The economy is total mess. GB's chancellorship saw the worst raids on public assets there ever has been. Our pensions have lost a huge amount since his changes in 1998. His irresponsible borrowing, reckless sales and expenditure means we'll be paying the price of his wastage for decades to come. The current tax burden on those in actual employment is higher than it ever has been, even the 90% income tax for the highest earners back in the 70s. The fabric of society has been eroded such that nobody feels that they have any responsibility for anything anymore yet everyone has a firm belief that they have many unquestionable and irrefutable rights. Our civil liberties have been eroded so much that 1984 isn't fiction anymore."

Thanks Gordon and thanks Tony, thanks New Labour. When you hear Gordon talk of how they value the NHS and its staff, I suggest you read the above and remind yourself of the reality of the situation. Gordon and his cronies pretend they care for the NHS, they clearly do not. Maybe the next lot will be no better, one thing is sure though, it is hard to see how they could treat the medical profession with any more disrespect.

Monday, 19 April 2010

The vote: an insult to those who fought for it

As the election fast approaches, one could be forgiven for getting carried away with all the excitement about polls, TV debates and campaign trails. If one takes a bit of step back then one can see our democracy for what it really is, a steaming pile of dishonest horse manure.

The vote should mean something, many people have fought and died for the right to vote, politicians even claim to this day that not voting is an insult to those who fought for the right, I disagree with these politicians. The vote has come to mean very little and this is one great shame.

There is no genuine choice, despite the endless shiny waffle and propaganda in the mainstream media, if one quickly scratches beneath the surface then one soon sees that all the major political parties have pretty much identical policies on the key issues. The vote is practically meaningless, it is a token gesture, party politics is corrupt and has run out of democratic steam.

Take the health service for example, there is simply no choice for voters on policy, all the major parties are not questioning the market ideology, the PFI schemes that are wasting billions, the privatisation agenda, the dumbing down and dis empowerment of the educated professionals. The mainstream media are silent on this scandal, bloggers are the only genuine voice against this disgrace and the election propaganda goes on and on.

Politics is broke, meaningless superficial Television debates will not fix this problem, unless someone in a position of power does something about this disillusionment of the general population, then the time bomb will keep on ticking and eventually it will go off.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Quacking chiropractors exposed as Singh gets justice

Calling a spade a spade should not leave one liable to be sued, yet this is precisely what happened to Simon Singh when he took on the quackery of the British Chiropractic Association. The claims made by the BCA that spinal manipulation could be used to treat children with colic, ear infections, asthma, sleeping and feeding conditions and prolonged crying were nothing but utter hogwash. Singh's decision to call their claims bogus has been shown to be 100% correct by the Court of Appeal.

The Court's judgement can be read in full here, and this really is a victory for common sense and for scientific progress. Quacks should not be allowed to make unfounded claims about their dodgy treatments, whether this be companies peddling nutritional supplements, practitioners of alternative therapies such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, chinese medicine, homeopathy and on and on, there are just so many quacks out there.

The way in which the British libel law was used to intimidate by the BCA is rather scary and it makes the case strongly for a proper overhaul of our antiquated and repressive libel laws:

"The ruling, by England's two senior judges, Lord Judge and Lord Neuberger, together with Lord Justice Smedley, was scathing of the way the BCA began libel proceedings rather than taking up the Guardian's offer of a right to reply. It acknowledged that the action had a "chilling effect on public debate". The BCA's actions had created the "unhappy impression" that it was "an endeavour by the BCA to silence one of its critics" "

I would urge anyone reading to sign the petition here are the libel reform site and have a look at the senseaboutscience site here. The likes of the BCA need to be shown up for the dishonest rip off merchants that they are.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

The arrogance and idiocy of politicians

This eloquent letter sums up so much that is wrong with the way that the government creates policy. Obviously this letter refers only to the ACMD (Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs) but the same problems are present across the board. The government's policy should be crafted in the best interests of the general public, when one sees what has happened as regards drug policy one can see that policy is created to satisfy political expediency and not the long term best interests of the public.

The same is true on health, policy is not based on the evidence or on the best expert advice, it is created by politicians and government cronies who have no proper education or knowledge of that particular area, and it is created to satisfy the short term needs of politicians and the Daily Mail, not the best long term interests of our country. Anyway the letter is an excellent insight into the disastrous way in which our stupid politicians create useless policy:

"Dear Home Secretary
Resignation from Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs [ACMD]
With regret and sadness, I am tendering my resignation as a member of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs.
I was honoured to be appointed to this position and I had hoped that my substantial experience of managing drug prevention and treatment services might help influence the committee, and thereby the government, to think about drugs as more of a public health issue rather than focusing narrowly on the criminal justice aspects. This has not been the case.
My main interest and competence is in the field of prevention and early intervention with young people. I have grown increasingly disillusioned not only with the lack of attention paid to this by politicians and the media but also by the ACMD's apparent lack of interest in the subject (with a few individual exceptions).
At our meeting earlier this week, the update report on Pathways to Problems, published on the same day, received scant attention. Indeed, there was no time for questions on the report due to the haste with which we were being pushed to make a decision about classifying Mephedrone; this so that the chair could come to meet with you later in the day and you could do a round of press announcements.
Re: Mephedrone; we had little or no discussion about how our recommendation to classify this drug would be likely to impact on young people's behaviour.
Our decision was unduly based on media and political pressure. The report was tabled to the whole council for the first time on Monday; the chair came to brief you before the whole council had even discussed all of the report. In fact, I still haven't seen the final version.
When, as home secretary, [Charles Clarke] announced that the entire classification system would be reviewed, I welcomed it and was disappointed when the idea was shelved. This needs urgently to be revisited.
We need to review our entire approach to drugs, dumping the idea that legally sanctioned punishments for drug users should constitute a main part of the armoury in helping to solve our country's drug problems. We need to stop harming people who need help and support.
At the end of last year, I decided not to resign over the sacking of David Nutt, preferring instead to see how things panned out and to hope that the ACMD could develop a work programme which would help prevent and reduce harm, particularly to young people.
I have no confidence that this will now happen, largely though not totally due to the lack of logic of the context within which the council is constrained to operate by the Misuse of Drugs Act.
As well as being extremely unhappy with how the ACMD operates, I am not prepared to continue to be part of a body which, as its main activity, works to facilitate the potential criminalisation of increasing numbers of young people.
Yours sincerely,
Eric Carlin"