Sunday, 28 October 2012

Happy Birthday

Today would have been the 100th birthday of Sir Richard Doll.
The man who first established the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Since his original study smoking rates throughout the world have declined steadily, although in the UK the rate has plateaued at a stubborn 20% or so who persist with the habit regardless, and who are all candidates for a Darwin award.
Another man on the shortlist for having saved the most people from premature death in human history.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


“Freedom isn't a demand, it's a life I'm living. Freedom isn't bodily freedom, but freedom of the mind, belief, expression and thought. You are calling for freedom for me but I struggle for your real freedom. “

Monday, 22 October 2012

Spot the difference again

The best political weapon is the weapon of terror. Cruelty commands respect. Men may hate us. But, we don't ask for their love; only for their fear. 

Over time this system will not only provide greater assurance to patients about the competence of their doctors, it has the potential to enhance patient safety and improve the quality of medical care in the UK

Spot the difference

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Revalidation will be a world leading system and we are confident it will make a major contribution to the quality of care that patients receive through supporting doctors’ ongoing professional development.

Car crash

The government and the GMC have both recently been putting out a fair bit of propaganda about revalidation, with Hunt and Dickson both stepping up to pontificate about how this will vastly improve the quality of medical care. I’m not really sure who this propaganda is aimed at. The impression I get from my lay friends and former patients is that they don’t really know or care about revalidation, and if you google “patient satisfaction” you find such a consistently high level of happy punters that you wonder what the powers that be think they are going to achieve.

So perhaps the propaganda is aimed at the medical profession. If it is then they’re wasting their time. Peruse the medical blogs and speak to your colleagues and you find a strong consensus that the whole process is a bag of shit. A pointless, oppressive, time wasting, expensive exercise that is nothing more than a further attempt to intimidate and control doctors.

Even if the process were to be administered by a competent and well regulated body it would still be a bag of shit. The fact is though, that it is to be administered by the GMC. Widely perceived, with good reason, as incompetent, inconsistent, overbearing, arrogant and out of touch. The point has been made also that they are answerable to no-one. Their own performance in revalidating will be unmonitored, unassessed, and unregulated. They will be able to act pretty much as they please. For any unfortunate doctor who is unhappy with their verdict there does not appear to be any appeal mechanism. 

Putting together the inherently flawed process and the all powerful GMC is a recipe for disaster. Just about the only people who can’t see that are Jeremy Hunt, a politician who believes in homeopathy, and Niall Dickson of the GMC.
"The Emperor is wearing no clothes"

I’ve pointed out before that we have only ourselves to blame for this imposition. If the profession had stood up and simply announced that every one of us would boycott the process, then revalidation would have sunk without trace. But I’ve also pointed out that we, as a profession, don’t seem to be able to organise ourselves.

So all we can now do is sit back and wait for the inevitable.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Life of leisure

Those of you with sharp eyes may have noticed a single word change on my home page that indicates a major change in my life. Yep, I hit 60 and retired at some time in the last 12 months. I had thought I would continue blogging, particularly on NHS subjects, but very rapidly found that I no longer give a shit what happens in the NHS, and I don't suppose I will regain any interest until the time comes when I start to need it. heres hoping that that won't be for some time.
My blogging input has already declined in the last few months, and I think this lower frequency of posts is going to be the norm. But I'm not shutting up shop. Anybody out there who has an NHS story they would like aired can send it to be and I will consider posting it.
I expect as I settle into retirement and develop new interests I will start blogging in a different direction.
Thanks for all your comments over the last couple of years.