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Private Eye

June 22, 2016

Private Eye Medicine Balls 1420
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 11:27 am

Why are so many doctors and scientists in favour of Remain?

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.

The best guess of the net saving of withdrawing from Europe if there was no pursuant economic crash is £27 million a week. Even if every penny was spent on the NHS it wouldn’t even wipe out the current deficit. If there was an economic crash, it would wipe out any saving and make the NHS funding crisis even worse. The EU is not a prominent threat to the NHS as Article 168 clearly states that the organisation and delivery of health services is a national responsibility. A far greater threat to the NHS is the current UK government’s creeping privatisation and outsourcing of vital services, and a lurch to

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June 5, 2016

Private Eye Medicine Balls 1418
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 10:16 am

Who wants to be leader?

Whatever the result of junior doctors’ July ballot on their proposed new contract, they will continue work shifts and hours that wouldn’t be tolerated in any other safety critical industry. The central issue was always that we don’t have enough junior doctors to staff the NHS safely, but then we don’t have enough at any level. NHS Employers produced a tactless report with the Nuffield Trust last week, inviting senior nurses and others to ‘fill in the gaps in the medical workforce’. Quite where theses senior ‘medical infill’ nurses would come from is unclear. From September 2009 to January 2016, the NHS dispensed with 2,293 nurse consultants and matrons.

On June 8, High Court action by the junior doctor group Justice for Health was due to start to determine whether health secretary Jeremy Hunt can legally impose the latest version of the new contract, as he has repeatedly threatened, if junior doctors and medical students vote to reject it. This has now been postponed until after the junior doctors ballot result is announced on July 6. Any contract is only as safe as the staff available to work it, and we’ll find out in August

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June 1, 2016

Private Eye Medicine Balls 1417
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 11:02 am

It’s the Capacity, Stupid

It’s painfully clear to anyone works in or needs the NHS or social care services that we don’t have the capacity – equipment, technology, beds, staff – to cope with the demands placed on us. This is down both to lack of investment – the UK spends less of its GDP on health and social care than other Western European countries –, an ageing and expanding population, and massive waste, particularly on political reorganisations and reforms that are not evidence-led, cost a vast amount in time, money, effort and goodwill – and end up making little or no difference to the length or quality of people’s lives, and may even cause harm.

90% of consultations in the NHS occur in general practice, for a fraction of the funding. If general practice fails, the NHS fails. The belated bung now promised for GPs – £2.4 billion extra a year by 2020-21 – is not new money and may not stop the service collapsing. Sadly, much of it is likely to be wasted on non-evidence based political vanity projects such as opening surgeries for 12 hours on a Sunday when no one wants to be there, useless

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May 14, 2016

Private Eye Medicine Balls 1416
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 8:12 pm

Free the Canaries

‘It is deeply ironic and paradoxical that we are killing, through work stress, the very people who are charged with caring for us.’ So said Professor Michael West, a Senior Fellow at the King’s Fund, to a meeting of London GPs and their staff last week. West highlighted the stark contrast between the values of the NHS – compassion, collaboration, treatment according to need – and the reality. The NHS has the highest levels of work related stress, staff illness, bullying and discrimination of any organisation he has studied in over 30 years. 26.8% of NHS staff have significant anxiety and stress – 50% higher than in the general population. And long-term, unremitting stress can kill.

Not investing in the NHS is disastrous not just for patient care but also for the economy. Prompt, high quality healthcare returns patients and their carers to work. The NHS employs 1.4 million people – a huge benefit to the economy – and is crying out for more doctors and nurses. Any yet disastrous workforce planning means many great potential doctors are refused entry to medical school, and many great nurses may be put off nursing by the abolition of bursaries.

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April 18, 2016

Private Eye Medicine Balls 1415
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 6:01 pm

Blood on the Tracks

When David Cameron and health secretary Jeremy Hunt refuse to listen to the pleas of just about every doctor and patient safety expert worth listening to, you have to ask why. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (the AMRC) – which represents all of the 22 medical royal colleges and faculties – is the latest to urge the government to suspend imposition of the junior doctors’ contract and return to negotiation as the BMA is keen to do, but Hunt is not for listening. ‘That train has now left the station. The matter is now closed.’ Although it clearly isn’t.

Either Hunt and Cameron are living out the conspiracy that the NHS must be irreversibly harmed to break it up for a sell off. Or they refuse to be beaten by the BMA whatever the cost to patients. Or they’re in denial about the fact that the NHS has run out of time and money to recruit, train and pay sufficient staff to provide compassionate, competent care around the clock. Staff are already working dangerous hours to cope with vacancies, rota gaps and record demand, and the service is only just held together by altruism and

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