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Private Eye

December 20, 2018

Medicine Balls, Private Eye Issue 1485, 14 December 2018
Filed under: #VoteDrPhil,Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 11:59 am

Broken promises

The betrayal of public services since the 2015 election is far worse than any ‘betrayal of Brexit’. At least the Conservatives managed to deliver their manifesto promise of ‘a straight in-out referendum on our membership of the European Union.’ That same manifesto made a number of promises about health and social care that were ludicrously fanciful at the time, given we were half way through the toughest period of austerity pubic services have ever seen, and have since failed on a grand scale. The Tories promised, in no particular order; ‘We will offer you the safest and most compassionate care in the world… We will improve standards in all areas of care… We will ensure you receive the best healthcare… We will ensure that people can grow old in comfort and dignity…  We will guarantee that you will not have to sell your home to fund your residential social care… We will provide 7-day a week access to your GP and deliver a truly 7-day NHS, so you know you will always have access to a free and high quality health service when you need it most…’ These promises were as nonsensical as anything the Brexiteers conjured up

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November 29, 2018

Medicine Balls, Private Eye Issue 1481, 19 October 20
Filed under: #VoteDrPhil,Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 1:25 pm

Time to Replace the Public Interest Disclosure Act

Anyone who has read the Eye over the last 20 years will know that the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 does not always protect whistle-blowers, nor even assure that their concerns are investigated. Even worse, it gives whistle-blowers false hope that they will be acknowledged and protected as they swim up the salmon trap of self-funded litigation against public bodies bent on protecting reputations using the might of tax-funded lawyers. The end results are predictably disastrous; whistle-blowers too often lose everything – house, job, friends, family, pensions, mental and physical health – while the issues they raise are buried in compromise deals, non-disclosure agreements and corporate inaction.

The consequences for patients and relatives of suppressing whistle-blowers are even worse. Encouraging staff, patients and carers to speak up, and then investigating and acting on those concerns is crucial to patient safety, and far more effective than any amount of top-down regulation and risk management. How ironic that the 20thanniversary of PIDA should coincide with the start of the Ian Paterson and infected blood inquiries, and the publication of the Gosport Hospital Inquiry, where hundreds of lives could have been saved from needless

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Medicine Balls, Private Eye Issue 1484, 30 November 2018
Filed under: #VoteDrPhil,Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 1:17 pm

Brexit and Health

‘No-one takes much notice of doctors, least of all politicians, but all the doctors MD has spoken to are in favour of the UK staying in the EU. Indeed, MD cannot trace one prominent national medical, research, or health organisation that has sided with Brexit. This is partly because of the un-evidence based fantasy bollocks of the Brexit camp and partly because, on balance, doctors and scientists overwhelmingly believe the UK is better off, healthier and safer in Europe.’ So wrote MD before the referendum in 2016, and detailed the risks of Brexit to health and healthcare (Eye 1421 ). As predicted, no one took much notice. Voters reduce complex decisions to simple metaphors. You either feel safe in the arms of the EU or strangled by its tentacles. Facts and risk analyses rarely cut much ice.

But here goes anyway. The 881 days since the referendum have not been kind to the NHS, with growing delays in treatment and alarming staffing shortfalls. There are 12,000 non-UK EU health and social care staff in Scotland and 60,000 such NHS staff in England. The question is not just whether they are allowed to stay – as Theresa May

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Medicine Balls, Private Eye Issue 1483, 16 November 2018
Filed under: #VoteDrPhil,Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 1:12 pm

Prevention Not Always Better than Cure, Mr Hancock


Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has jumped aboard the prevention bandwagon, telling the International Association of National Public Health Institutes ‘If there’s one thing that everybody knows it’s: ‘prevention is better than cure’’. Sadly it isn’t. Prevention, like any intervention, can have side effects that outweigh the benefits as his predecessor Jeremy Hunt found. After meetings with drug companies researching dementia, Hunt decided that GPs needed to pick up dementia earlier, to prevent it getting worse, so he offered them £55 per new diagnosis via screening. The trouble is, the screening tests are often wrong.  Take 100 people over 65, and 6 will have dementia. Screening will miss 2 of them. Even worse, 23 will have a false positive result. Only when the press found people were panicking, selling up and moving into care homes when they thought they had dementia, only to find they had mild cognitive impairment, did Hunt and NHS England ditch the bribe (Eye ..).


There are three types of prevention. Primary, which aims to stop a  disease occurring at all (e.g. healthy living, vaccination).  Secondary, which aims to control a disease in an

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Medicine Balls, Private Eye Issue 1482, 02 November 2018
Filed under: #VoteDrPhil,Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 1:09 pm


Dr Chris Day part 94

In a perfect NHS, we wouldn’t need whistle-blowers. Managers would thank staff for raising concerns and act swiftly to prevent avoidable harm to patients, as happens in many hospitals. But not all. If managers refuse to act and staff refuse to shut up, a protracted legal dispute is inevitable, with the odds stacked heavily against the whistle-blower. In Dr Chris Day’s four year legal struggle against Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and Health Education England (HEE), he at least secured the badge of honour of a ‘good faith’ whistle-blower and managed to extract £55,000 in costs from HEE because of its earlier flawed conduct. Day and his legal team also exposed and then closed a loophole in the law that had previously excluded 54,000 junior doctors from any statutory whistleblowing protection (Eyes passim). But Dr Day found, as many others have, that such protection is very flimsy. After suffering six days of cross-examination by two tax-funded QCs, Dr Day decided not to risk financial ruin like Ed Jesudason (Eyes passim) and agreed to drop his claim. In return, Dr Day will not be pursued for eye-watering costs. In a fantastical joint statement, the two

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