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Private Eye

June 24, 2019

Medicine Balls, Private Eye Issue 1487, 11 January 2019
Filed under: Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 8:08 pm

Neverending Day

Whistle-blower Dr Chris Day’s acrimonious four year legal battle with Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust and Health Education England appeared to be over in October when he dropped his claim against them before cross-examining any witnesses, and agreed a settlement agreement declaring that all parties had miraculously acted in good faith all along. As the Eye reported (Eye ), ‘after suffering six days of cross-examination by two tax-funded QCs, Dr Day decided not to risk financial ruin and agreed to drop his claim. In return, Dr Day will not be pursued for eye-watering costs.’ However, Day has now applied to the Employment Tribunal to set aside the settlement agreement and to request a reconsideration of the judgement, after disagreements about whether he was threatened with costs were made public. Day’s lawyers argue that when agreeing to the settle Day was ‘operating under a mistake or pursuant to a misrepresentation’. The application hearing should determine who is telling the truth. 

The discussions surrounding the settlement agreement were supposedly protected by ‘without prejudice privilege’, and Day remained compliant and silent leading some to wrongly conclude he’d received a pay-off. However on November 13, Dr Day was contacted by Telegraph journalist Tommy Greene with

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Medicine Balls, Private Eye Issue 1486, 28 December 2018
Filed under: #health4all,Private Eye — Dr. Phil @ 7:59 pm

Food for Thought

Nutritional science is complex and conflicting, but the simplest strategy comes from activist and author of Food Rules, Michael Pollen; ‘Eat food, mainly plants, not too much.’ More recent research on the microbiome, the trillions of bugs that live in your gut and make it unique, is well summarised by Professor Tim Spector in the Diet Myth; ‘The most dangerous myth is the notion that we all respond to food in the same way, that when we eat food or follow certain diets our bodies behave like the bodies of identical lab rats. They don’t. We are all different. The obsession with the limited view of nutrition and weight as calories-in versus calories-out is unhelpful and distracting. The truth is that each of us responds to food differently even if the food and the environment are identical.’

Despite this variability, Spector draws some firm conclusions. ‘Diets that are high in sugar and processed foods are bad for our microbes, and by extension for our health, and diets that are high in vegetables and fruits are good for both.’ Spector is a fan of whole foods and variety – ‘your gut is like a garden’ – it

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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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