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Private Eye

October 24, 2017

Private Eye Medicine Balls 1452 September 8, 2017
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 1:56 pm

Hunt v Hawking

Why did health secretary Jeremy Hunt choose to have a public spat with Professor Stephen Hawking about statistical analysis and the future of the NHS? Accusing Hawking of spreading ‘pernicious falsehoods’ was a high-risk strategy, but Hunt has an ego, is proud of his record as health secretary and took the bait. Hawking suggested the NHS is heading towards a US-style insurance system, run by private companies, citing the increasing involvement of the private sector in the NHS as evidence for this. Hunt argued the government has no plans to introduce an insurance system and the private sector currently takes only 7.7% of the NHS budget. But as former Tory prime minister John Major during the Brexit debate; ‘Michael Gove wanted to privatise the NHS, Boris Johnson wished to charge people for health services and Ian Duncan Smith advocated moving to a social insurance system. The NHS is about as safe with them as a pet hamster would be with a hungry python.’

In 2005, Hunt co-authored a policy pamphlet with Gove, Douglas Carswell and others which proposed a universal insurance system for the NHS and stated; ‘Our ambition should be to break down the barriers between

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Private Eye Medicine Balls 1451 August 25, 2017
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 1:53 pm

Chris Day, Round 3

In 2014, Dr Chris Day was a junior doctor working on the Intensive Care Unit at Queen Elizabeth hospital in Woolwich, which at night routinely did not adhere to national staffing levels, putting patients at risk and placing huge stresses on the competent and dedicated staff. Day made a protected disclosure detailing these concerns on the night of 10 January 2014, but the Trust and Health Education (HEE) decided not to act on them, terminating his contract with what Day believes were false allegations and stalling his progress to consultant. HEE is an executive non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Department of Health, which – with local Deaneries – recruits doctors in training, supplying them to various Trusts, monitoring and appraising them. Like many whistleblowers, Day was forced down an employment tribunal route. His legal team argued that HEE should be held accountable for any detriment he has suffered under employment and whistleblowing law. HEE contended that “even if the facts alleged by Dr Day were true, HEE could not be liable in law for any acts causing him detriment.” In taking the case to court in 2015, Day discovered that the government was arguing 54,000

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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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