Thursday, 31 March 2011


The Vatican is currently having a conference on satanism and exorcism. 
They claim to be approaching the problem with "seriousness and scientific rigour" As if there were any scientific evidence of these phenomena. I find it difficult to believe that 21st century people can even talk like this. Do they have no insight into how stupid and archaic they appear? They obviously don't know what the word "science" means.

According to a Father Nanni you can recognise that someone is possessed because they garble in foreign languages or nonsensical gibberish.” I don’t think he has to look too far.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


I was in a pharmacist’s shop today. Pharmacists like to portray themselves as skilled and highly trained medical professionals, able to give consultations and advice on a wide range of minor medical conditions. This impression is strongly promoted on the web site of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society.

This impression is however somewhat spoiled when you walk into a pharmacists. The one I went into today was a typical example. Three prominent displays in particular. One was for homeopathic products, and another selling magnetic bracelets. The third was for minoxidil for hair loss, claiming a 90% success rate. In fact a study in the Lancet in 1987 showed only a 10% success rate.

The impression I gained was less of a reputable and ethical medical professional, and more that of a snake oil salesman, peddling his quack wares.

Well pharmacists, you can’t have it both ways. If you want the status of an ethical professional, then you have to show some ethics. And as long as you promote quackery for financial gain then you are no more than jumped up grocers, with all the integrity of Arkwright.

And the perils of not

It seems like you are no better off if you get someone else to do it for you.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

the perils of wanking

A little harsh surely. It seems to me that it is going to be awfully crowded in Hell.
And there must be something special in store for this guy.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Blasphemy laws

One of the countries with the most draconian blasphemy laws is Pakistan. The law there allows the most excessive punishments for blasphemy, including the death penalty. It is also the case that when those charged with blasphemy are either acquitted, or escape death, there is often a violent backlash from the public demanding death to the transgressor, not only in Pakistan, but in other moslem countries too. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

Even those who have campaigned legally for a relaxation of these medieval laws put themselves at risk as these two men have found to their cost.

The vile murders of these two men in the name of the “religion of peace” has likely had a major effect, but not what the assassins would have hoped for.

For almost ten years a number of countries, mainly those of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) have tried to get the UN to endorse the view that religions should be protected from criticism, and to adopt the concept of “defamation of religion”, as part of the UN resolution on religious intolerance.

The UN have now rejected this concept and have cited the deaths of the two men as a factor in coming to their decision. They have also stated “What is needed now is for countries, such as Pakistan, that have blasphemy laws to eliminate them.” 
The two murders were vile, unjustified and unnecessary. It is some small comfort that the assassins have seen their act backfire on them.

Friday, 25 March 2011


Here is another cartoon which has been refused publication in some quarters, supposedly because it might hurt someone's feelings, but in reality because of the cowardice of various publishers.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Forms and more forms

Some years ago, on a flight to the USA, I had to fill out a visa waiver application form. One of the questions I had to answer was, “Have you ever been involved in genocide, terrorism or war crimes?” I could not remember having had any such past so I answered no. It did occur to me though that, had the answer been yes, I would hardly have admitted to it on the form, and I would have answered no anyway.

This phenomenon of filling in forms with the “right” answer, instead of the truthful one is going to be widespread wherever there are a plethora of forms to fill in, and the NHS is no exception. But the NHS has a solution to this problem of non compliance with form filling. It’s another form.

Not long ago every hospital in the land started using the WHO checklist for surgical patients. In fact not many of us would take issue with this form. Although the incidence of errors during surgery was already very low that is not much consolation to the few patients who wake up with the wrong bit removed, or left inside. So the form has received a generally positive reaction, and is always, as far as I can see  conscientiously filled in.

But there is such a thing as taking the piss. A new form has now been issued, the purpose of which is to confirm that the WHO form has been filled in. That’s right, a form 2 to verify completion of form 1. What next? A form 3 to verify completion of form 2?

Remember some of your tax is going to pay the purposeless twat who thinks up things like this. What obviously has not occurred to this person is that, if you haven’t filled in the WHO form this is a disciplinary offence, so you are hardly bloody likely to admit it in writing, are you?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


The GMC are undergoing some changes to their fitness to practice procedures at the moment. It had been intended that the GMC would restrict itself to investigation and prosecution, with adjudication being taken up by a separate body, but this proposal, sadly, has now been shelved so the new changes are going to be little more than cosmetic. 

The GMC will continue to fulfil the roles of investigator, prosecutor, judge, jury and executioner. So doctors who come to the attention of the GMC can expect to be treated as fairly and impartially as Captain Blackadder, the Flanders pigeon murderer. Add to that the fact that the GMC only have to satisfy themselves of guilt to the standards of a civil court, and not to criminal standards. In other words, to their own satisfaction.

Their attitude towards doctors can be summed up as “you are guilty until proved innocent, and if by some miracle you do escape conviction then you are still guilty but you just got off with it this time matey.” Indeed a fellow blogger has likened referral of a colleague to the GMC as like handing him over to the Gestapo. 

In fact it seems they find the whole process of a hearing a tedious waste of time before getting to the sentence. It is no exaggeration to say that sometimes the verdict and sentence are determined before the hearing, a process known as “draft determination.” 

This attitude is illustrated by their latest ruse, where they intend to “encourage doctors to accept proposed sanctions .....without the need to refer the case for a hearing.” In other words if you confess, and accept punishment, you can save yourself the bother of a trial, rather like the Spanish inquisition. Despite their ludicrous assertions that this is somehow to the doctor’s benefit it is in fact just a way for them to screw you without having to go through the bothersome and tedious business of finding some evidence. 

My advice to anyone presented with this option is NOT to confess to anything. Make them go through the hearing process, it is your one chance to present your case and have everything in the open. And if it still goes against you you can then take it further, to the high court where the bastards consistently lose. And by calling their bluff you will probably find they are the ones who back down, knowing they have bugger all.

Monday, 21 March 2011


One of the statements one commonly hears from the proponents of alternative medicine is "what's the harm?' The idea being that, if conventional medicine alone is not enough, then alternative medicine, even if there is no evidence of efficacy, may give the patient some comfort. And at least there is no harm.

Anyone who thinks along those lines should read this, and this.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Up until 1952 today would have marked the German “Volkstrauertag”, the day of remembrance for war dead. In 1952 it was changed to November, though for obvious reasons not the 11th. The two clips below both commemorate dead German soldiers, one from the 1940s, and the other much more recent. 

The uniform has changed, and so has the flag. The allegiances have also changed. In the first the Germans were our bitterest enemies and in the second they are our closest allies, such are the cruel and stupid realities of politics. But soldiers remain the same. The song in both clips is the same, and so, in all probability are the faces.

Patients - Psychiatry

Thursday, 17 March 2011

The mouse that squeaked

So the BMA have had their special meeting and called on the Health Secretary to abandon the proposed NHS reforms.

As a hospital consultant I feel very much on the sidelines here, but some things are perhaps more obvious from that perspective.

Firstly, assume there were general consensus within the BMA and the profession at large. There is no doubt that the BMA are as effectual as this lot. They are completely ineffective and clueless when purporting to represent the profession as a whole. And don’t count on them to show enthusiasm if you need help as an individual. I have seen a colleague, a BMA member, request assistance with a bullying employer, who was simply fobbed off by the BMA. The harassment continued until the poor bugger resigned, the BMA having turned it’s back on him. They are the only union ever successfully sued by a member for failure to represent.(1) & (2)

But they don’t have a consensus. Even though the delegates at the meeting were generally united in opposition, wee Hamish, like a yapping west highland terrier came across as a Lansley apologist, effectively scuppering the stronger proposals.

As for the profession as a whole. There are many doctors who do not support the BMA on this issue, and 91% of 18,500 doctors polled by the BMA failed to respond, either because of apathy or opposition. With this level of support what could any representative body do?

Lansley is no doubt fully aware of the true level of threat posed by the BMA, on a par with a toothless and neutered miniature poodle, and has already announced that he is going to ignore them.

He is also aware of the profession’s achilles heel, and, Bevan like, knows that stuffing mouths with gold is going to undermine opposition even further.

As long as the profession are represented by the BMA we will never have any influence. As a lawyer friend of mine once observed, those who are members are wasting their money.

Monday, 14 March 2011


In that last picture the pope is shown wearing a condom for a hat. Many of you may think that it is not possible to do this, but here is a genuine picture of a young lady demonstrating that it can be done.

Mystery person

Well that one was too easy. Anonymous got this one right within a very short time. It was of course Joseph Ratzinger.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Mystery person

A slight variation on the mystery object.
Who do you suppose this is?

Saturday, 12 March 2011


A matter of principle

The Witch Doctor draws our attention to this article showing that the government are acquiring a number of GPs to promote the concept of commissioning.

That government should do this should come as no surprise, it is inevitable. Given that there are some 40,000 GPs in Britain it should also come as no surprise that they should be able to find some supporters.

Those GPs that genuinely believe that commissioning is a good idea are entitled to their opinion. Their arguments should be listened to, even though they might be a minority voice. If they support the idea as a point of principle then that should be respected.

I suspect however that a proportion of those speaking out in favour are not motivated by principle. There will be those whose principles are guided by the prospect of self advancement and self enrichment, as I have pointed out before. Medicine as a whole seems to me to have more than it’s fair share of such mercenary individuals. 

I am reminded of a quote from Groucho Marx
“These are my principles. If you don’t like them I have others.”

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Kinky again

I am looking again at that picture of Jesus spanking a young lady I put up a few posts ago and noticing something I hadn't seen before. What is that bulge in Jesus robe just below the girl's hips? Is it his knee? Or is it something else?


According to this publication we are in for a bad summer again. On May 21 this year we will begin a 5 month period of “horrible torment” at the end of which not just the Earth but the entire universe will be destroyed.

Here is a suggestion that could just possibly make a huge quick profit. If you meet someone who really claims to believe this drivel offer him £5000 for his house and everything he owns.

Metrication again

Although some nurses have problems with metric height measurements the weight in Kg is not usually a problem for them. Not so midwives. This is a true story related to me by a friend. 

Friend is, by her own admission, somewhat well nourished, with a BMI that often goes over 30. 

During her last pregnancy she attended a routine ante natal appointment and was weighed by a midwife. The scales indicated 36Kg, roughly a third of friend’s weight. Without batting an eyelid the midwife wrote down 36 Kg on the notes. Friend pointed out that this was obviously wrong and told the midwife her weight as taken that morning at home, only to be told that her scales at home were defective.

Friend persisted in trying to get the midwife to see sense, and suugested that the clinic scales were defective. The Midwife then said she would test them. So what do you suppose she put on the scale as a test? A single sheet of A4 paper! WTF?


Far be it from me to suggest that some of our nursing colleagues can be a bit dim at times. I know that any such suggestion is likely to invite a cyber kicking.

But what is it about nurses and their inability to understand metric units when it comes to patient height? Every week I see some howler written down. According to the recorded heights we regularly have patients who are 168metres tall, or 1.68 cm. And all sorts of other blatantly obvious errors.  Surely they know what a centimetre is, or a metre. Don't they?


Some of you might remember this post, where it appears from a picture taken from a catholic publication, that not just catholic priests, but Jesus himself enjoys the attention of young boys.

Well he appears to have other kinks as well. This picture, again taken from a christian publication, indicates that he likes to take down young ladies’ trousers and give them a good spanking. Wouldn’t we all?

Monday, 7 March 2011


This is the new Chief Medical Officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies.
Let's all hope she does a better job than the last idiot.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Colleagues - general surgery

A blessed generation

Another headline today brings home to me how extraordinarily lucky NHS Consultants of my generation have been, from start to finish.

Firstly our medical school education was for the most part free, and financially supported. Then we found ourselves in highly respected occupations with security and good pay. The final icing on the cake was our generous pension scheme.

Most of us appreciate how well treated we have been, despite the onerous hours we used to put in. I think this awareness of our privilege is in no small way why most doctors have such a strong sense of dedication and loyalty to the NHS, and have been prepared to put so much in over and above our contractual duty. And why they are so prepared to fight to keep the NHS.

Contrast that with now. Medical students today have a huge financial burden to face. On qualifying they then have to service enormous loans with a steadily eroding income. Their training has been fucked up completely, their careers uncertain. And now even the pension goal posts are being moved.

If doctors of the future lack the devotion for the NHS we have, they can hardly be blamed.

Perfect incongruity

Whilst finding that last song I also found it used as the track to this stunning, and incongruous piece of film. 

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Lili Marlene

It occurs to me that many of my younger readers will not be familiar with the melody "Lili Marlene" referred to in my previous post. This is the original 1939 version by Lale Andersen, before Marlene Dietrich made it famous.

Another miracle

Another example of a religious figure being seen in nature has been reported. According to the article the picture below shows the virgin Mary in a rock formation. I suppose you can see a vague impression of something looking like a pregnant woman, though why that means she has to be the virgin Mary is beyond me.

But if you look at the picture with such  credulousness there is more. What is that dark figure immediately to her left? It looks like a man, his left arm around her shoulder, two legs clearly visible, and dressed all in black. A Priest perhaps?

It looks to me like the guy is having what is known as a “knee trembler”, and that Mary is a virgin no more.

I still think this image of Jesus is more convincing.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

A song

In 1944 Lance Sergeant Harry Pynn, serving with 79th Division in Italy wrote a song called “the Ballad of the D Day Dodgers” to articulate the frustration of British soldiers in Italy with the fact that the British public thought they were having an easy time, compared with soldiers serving in Normandy.

Subsequently verses were altered and added by other soldiers, including one criticising Lady Astor. 

In the spirit of this tradition I have adapted this particular verse to a more contemporary matter.

To be sung to the tune of Lili Marlene.

Dear Professor Needham you think you know a lot,
Standing on your soap box and talking tommy rot
You, Scotland's sweetheart and her pride
We think your mouth’s too fucking wide
That’s from your MTAS victims in sunny Albany

Got it.

Found it on you tube after a little search.
Sweet isn't it? 
I don't know if it was made with anyone specific in mind but my experience of the NHS leaves me with a long long shortlist.