Monday, 28 November 2011

Support the pension strike

A lot of government misinformation has been and will be spread as the public sector unions' strike arrives this Wednesday.  The simple fact is that the government is using the recession as an excuse to dishonestly shaft millions of public sector workers.  Everyone should get behind the workers.

The BMA are to ballot members on potential action soon and many of us think more could have been done earlier, still the BMA are very much in support of the other public sector unions.

The simple fact is that the government reached an agreement on increased contributions to the NHS pensions of doctors in 2008, with our contributions increased massively to 8% at this point.  The government is now unilaterally trying to double the amount doctors pay into their pensions, despite this long term deal being agreed three years ago.

The government's behaviour has been an utter disgrace in this regard, not forgetting their dishonest privatisation of the NHS at the very same time.  The government is already making about 2 billion pounds in profit per year from the pension schemes of doctors as things stand.  It is outrageous that they are trying to shaft us in this way.

So get behind any public sector staff striking this Wednesday and don't believe the lies peddled by the government.  They will pretend that these cuts are essential and needed, they are most definitely not needed.  The government would prefer to pick on easy targets like public sector workers than bother to address massive issues like the massive corporations which avoid billions of tax every year.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Dr Rant rises above the storm

Dr Rant is back and has had some fairly interesting things to say on recent events:

"For Christ's sake people! GP commissioning is being taken off GPs and given to private companies to do the rationing, right under out noses!! This policy isn't even a 'Tory' policy - it's just plain fucking evil."

This is a very good point.  Petty niggling in the playground should be left precisely where it started, in the playground.

At the moment the current regime is forcing through the most destructive health care reforms ever seen in this country.  The government have lied in doing this and continue to do so, they are privatising the service and not admitting it.  We need to focus on the big issues and the biggest of the lot is the government's negligent white paper of doom.  

The one body that have been putting all their weight into the fight are the NHSCA, the NHS Consultants Association and I thoroughly commend all they continue to do.  If the BMA had used its weight as effectively then the paper may have been sunk by now, alas they have not.  There is still hope, although it is fading and I pray it is not too late to sink this fat corrupt duck.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Someone doth protest too much?

The ferretfancier does not wish to defame or incite hatred.  Obviously there has been a bit of medical storm brewing in the last few days and I only think it right that my readers are pointed in the direction of the information so that they can make their own minds up.

Dr Zorro and Dr No have some rather interesting tales to tell.  Una Coales has her side of the story.

Dr No's eloquent and logical rebuttal of Una Coales' allegations against him in his comments section is particularly key in my opinion.  It cuts like a knife through soggy butter.

One can often tell where the truth lies by looking at the nature of the debate, by analysing the little details, by looking for small inconsistencies and contradictions.  I sense someone doth protest too much and perhaps this gives the game away?

Saturday, 19 November 2011

The GMC, the social media and our lives

It seems that the social media is an area of great fear and concern for many of us in the medical blogosphere these days.  With Dr Rant being take offline and in a state of deep paranoia, I decided to look through the BMA's guidance on the social media.

There are many obvious pieces of advice.  'Patient confidentiality' is key, personally I have never spoken of anything patient-related that has happened at my place of work on this blog and this is a wise thing to do.  'Facebook friends' - it is clearly unwise to befriend patients on the social media, still, this is a very grey area.

 'Defamation' this is a very important thing to bear in mind when on the social media.  Defamation relates to 'an unjustified statement about a person or organisation that is considered to harm their reputation ' and is a very subjective thing.  Obviously we all have a right to free speech and for something to be deemed 'defamatory' it has to be fairly extreme.  A good rule to go by is to pretend that what one writes is being published in a newspaper and if it seems acceptable in this context then it is highly unlikely to be defamatory.

I have looked back through all the ferretfancier's old posts and have found nothing that strays across these lines.  I have called Patricia Hewitt an idiot which is perfectly justifiable, I have labelled Liam Donaldon incompetent which is also very justifiable, I have not referred to any specific patient events, I have not been defamatory in my criticism, I have used evidence to prove my points and have not crossed the line into 'unprofessional' behaviour in my opinion.

'Professionalism' is where this all becomes very very tricky indeed.  In fact the human rights act makes it very clear that we all have a right to respect for private and family life, and if any public body starts trying to interfere with this then they will be on very very sticky ground indeed: 

"Article 8 

Right to respect for private and family life

1 Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2 There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

It appears to me that unless a doctor's behaviour outside of the workplace breaks the law then the GMC or any other public body will be on extremely dicey ground in trying to punish this inidividual.  Article 10 on the 'Freedom of Expression' also makes it very clear that we all have a right to say what we want as long as it stays within the law and no public authority has a right to interfere with this.

It is perverse that the people who are endlessly calling for better patient care and 'patient safety' are the very same people who love to right roughshod over the rights of others to express themselves.  The more free speech and openess is stifled, the worse the implications for health care and patient safety, as we have seen time and time again that we need an open honest culture to drive progress.  A Stasi like system that runs on fear and that kills criticism unfairly with threats works in the very opposite direction to progress.

Friday, 18 November 2011

The GMC: a totalitarian regime?

Much bad in medicine in recent years has been allowed to happen because those in the positions of medical power have been looking out for themselves rather than the interests of doctors, the NHS and patients in general.  It is also true that much progress is stifled because certain vested interests at the top of politics, medicine and medical politics just wanted to serve themselves and will do anything to keep hold of the power they currently have.

"It is like a totalitarian regime: anybody who criticises it is said to be mentally ill - what used to happen in Russia."

These are the words of a high court judge and he was describing the GMC.  Classic signs of a totalitarian regime is its complete inability to react sensibly to criticism, rather than listening and acting to improve things, a totalitarian regime will silence any criticism at any cost, it will brutally throw around its power and ignore due process in trying to bully its own way.

Another thing that is true of totalitarian regimes is there complete inability to take a joke, they will react violently and aggressively to satire or humour when it is directed at them.  Anyone who is a regular in the medical blogosphere will have read the amusing, intelligent and sometimes overly offensive Dr Rant.  There are rumours concerning Dr Rant and the subject of this piece.  Certain fights are rather unwise as they will attract one hell of a lot of unwanted attention and I suspect this may be one of them.