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Private Eye

October 24, 2017

Private Eye Medicine Balls 1450 August 11, 2017
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 1:49 pm

Pay up or die

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s pledge of £1.3 billion to improve mental health services may repair some of the damage of the last five years but it’s unlikely to provide ‘parity of esteem and provision’ with physical health services. Indeed, it can be divisive and harmful to separate the two as they frequently occur together. Chronic physical illness can have profound psychological consequences, and those suffering severe mental illness are far more likely to die prematurely from physical illnesses (Eyes passim). What’s needed is the holistic care of properly funded GP and community services.

The Health and Social Care Act (2012) made it unlawful to discriminate between physical and mental health, but the NHS has always raided mental health budgets to prop up other, more high profile services. There are now 6,000 fewer mental health nurses and 170 fewer psychiatrists in England than there were in 2010. In 2016, a government report found mental health services can’t cope with demand. Suicide in England was rising following many years of decline, with 4,477 people killing themselves in an average year. There was a 10% increase in the number of people sectioned under the Mental Health Act. One

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July 30, 2017

Private Eye Medicine Balls 1449 July 28, 2017
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 11:59 am

Bloody Mess


When patients are seriously harmed by healthcare, they should be told the truth as soon as it is known, and compensated promptly for the degree of harm they have suffered, irrespective of the causes. Investigations need then to occur to try to ascertain the causes of the harm, whether anything could have been done to prevent the harm and whether individuals or institutions need to be held to account for any errors. Lessons need to be learned to prevent future harm. But patients need to be given the truth and financial support to allow them to live as best they can with the harm they have suffered.


The belated announcement of a public inquiry into the thousands of haemophilia patients given blood contaminated by HIV and hepatitis C in the 1970s and 1980s shows how far the NHS is from this ideal. Patients and relatives have been asking for this for nearly 30 years, and while at least 2,400 have died from their infections, many more have suffered not just from the unpleasant illness and treatment, but from a protracted, emotionally exhausting fight for truth, justice and compensation


Some of the haematologists and department of

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Private Eye Medicine Balls 1448 July 14,  2017
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 11:49 am

Assisted Dying (Part 2)


“There seems to me to be significantly more justification in assisting people to die if they have the prospect of living for many years a life that they regard as valueless, miserable and often painful, than if they have only a few months left to live.” So said Lord Neuberger in the Supreme Court in 2014. A 54 year old UK citizen called Omid T, who has an incurable but not terminal disease called Multiple System Atrophy, is currently challenging the law in the hope of being allowed to die.


Omid was born in Iran and came to the UK aged 12 in August 1975. He married in 1990, has three children and worked as a property developer until about 2008, when the first signs of MSA appeared. His speech became slurred and walking and writing got progressively harder. He is now largely confined to my bed with a urinary catheter and needing help with all his personal care. He separated from his wife in 2015 and doesn’t want his friends and family to see him suffering nor remember him as he is now. In 2015, he tried to end his life by taking an

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Private Eye Medicine Balls 1447 June 30,  2017
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 11:47 am

Hunt Rides Again (Again)

The parlous state of the NHS and social care came top, or nearly top, of many ‘voter issues’ polls but Theresa May has again decided on more of the same, reappointing Jeremy Hunt as health secretary to force through £22 billion efficiency savings while the Brexit chaos plays out. The NHS is currently 7 years into the most austere decade in its history. Demand rises at 4% per year and yet there is ‘negative real per capita growth’ (i.e. funding cuts) planned for 2018/19 and 2019/20. Cuts in adult social care have already left half a million fewer people with publicly funded social care now compared to five years ago, and many are having to use the NHS as a safety net. To balance the books, the NHS will simply have to provide less for less. Longer waiting times to see a GP and get hospital treatment, longer journey times as local services are closed and some treatments not available at all. And the levels of work-related stress amongst staff will simply keep rising.

The required £22 billion savings could come in part from selling off idle NHS buildings and land to property developers. Otherwise it’s

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June 20, 2017

Preventing Serious Harm – Time for a National Whistleblower Centre
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 8:05 am

Preventing Serious Harm – Time for a National Whistleblower Centre

In 2011, I was asked on behalf of the Home Office to interview anti-radicalisation experts for the relaunch of the Prevent training programme for professionals to ‘ensure vulnerable individuals receive proportionate support at the earliest stages of radicalisation.’ I was asked as a doctor with a long history of supporting NHS whistleblowers, who simply believes we all have a duty to raise concerns about serious wrongdoing in any situation, and that authorities have an equally binding duty to listen, investigate swiftly and fairly, and protect those who raise concerns.

Prevent training has now been accessed in person or online by close to a million public sector workers and volunteers, and is compulsory for many. According to the home office, 92% of those who have attended training ‘left the session with an increase in their awareness of radicalisation and confidence to ensure vulnerable people receive proportionate support.’ I have received more mixed feedback, including hate mail from those who believe Prevent is anti-Islam. Since 2011, the training has covered all forms of extremism but it’s very rare that an attack by a right wing ‘Christian’ extremist ever leads to calls

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