Weekends used to be a time for R&R. Even the Lord felt He’d earned a day off after putting in a six-day week. But such antiquated practices are on the way out in the latest NHS revamp. The Prime Minister has promised us seven-day access to our GPs for routine consultations, so seven-day access we shall have. Continue reading →
I know there’s a Lynton Crosby-decreed pre-election purdah on all matters NHS, but…
Dr Poulter: On long-term work force planning, the hon. Gentleman suggests that there is suddenly a crisis in GP recruitment—which I do not think is necessarily correct—but if the previous Government were serious about investing in general practice, they should have trained a lot more GPs than they did (Hansard, 5 Feb 2015: Column 442). Continue reading →
I saw my dear uncle recently – the only one I’ve got left.
Born in 1929, a former manager for Midland Bank (and no fan of HSBC), he proudly told me (again) about the letter he’d received from his excellent MP, Sir Richard Shepherd, congratulating him and my aunt on their diamond wedding anniversary (a family first). Continue reading →
Jeremy Hunt was answering Health Questions in Parliament last week, and on the matter of access to GPs he disclosed: “I took my own children to an A and E department at the weekend precisely because I did not want to wait until later on to take them to see a GP”.
Now, it may be that the Secretary of State was acting quite naturally in the best interests of his children. It would be quite wrong to pry into the personal circumstances of Mr Hunt’s visit to A&E, or to conjecture about the nature of the accident or emergency which had befallen one (or both) of his children. Continue reading →
Right across the political spectrum, there is now broad acceptance that there’s a real and truly worrying recruitment and retention crisis in General Practice. Not only are experienced GPs retiring in droves; new medical graduates are avoiding that branch of the profession like a bout of Ebola. Surgeries are starting to close because of their inability to find replacements for retiring partners, with the inevitable knock-on for surrounding surgeries who have to adopt the dispossessed and abandoned patients. Continue reading →
Question: “What is the Government doing to ensure there will be enough GPs in the future?”
Answer: “We’ve set up a quango.”
It’s not really an adequate response, is it? But that essentially is what Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Health, told the Bishop of Norwich last week in response to a parliamentary question. The Bishop was concerned about “the age profile of current practising GPs, their increasing role as commissioners, and the impact of the introduction of revalidation for all doctors”. The Minister played a straight bat, explaining that the Government has “set up Health Education England (HEE) to deliver a better health and healthcare workforce for England”. Continue reading →
Dementia is a purgatorial madness. Whatever form it takes – Alzheimer’s, Vascular, Fronto-temporal, Creutzfeldt-Jacob – it is not only the patient who suffers, but their entire family.
The disease reduces the victim to a shell of humanity, emptied of all joy, emotion and recognition. As cognitive ability declines, so too does the memory, the capacity to feel, dexterity in language and the intelligence to reason. Tears give way to mourning; despair to grieving for the living. Loved ones become strangers; relationships are turned to shadows. It is a dreadful affliction; terrifying for the victim, and profoundly distressing for all around to witness. Continue reading →
The baby and maternal deaths at the Morecambe Bay NHS Trust in Cumbria must be a cause of unbearable grief to the families affected. Bereavement is often silently endured, but the pain of loss is so intense that it never really passes. Each grieving journey is unique, yet common to all is an overwhelming feeling of being suspended helplessly somewhere between exile and death.
To learn now of allegations that the hospital’s systematic incompetence and alleged medical malpractice may have been subjected to a cover-up by NHS regulator, the Care Quality Commission (CQC), can only compound the sense of natural violation. It is an agonising thing to lose your baby; it is intolerable, unjust and offensive to have been duped and deceived about the circumstances of that loss. Continue reading →
In the midst of euro-economic turmoil, distracted by Leveson and the tedious texts and tweets of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the Government is finalising its plans to monitor and log every website you visit and store every IM, tweet and text you send. The police already have draconian extra-judicial powers to intercept your email and telephone communications, but the surveillance state is an ever-encroaching beast of unquenchable omniscience, scattering all feeble libertarian squeaks in its wake.
In opposition, David Cameron categorically opposed Labour’s Big Brother agenda: he rejected national ID cards out of hand and objected to security requests for 90-detention without charge. Indeed, he said quite unequivocally: “If we want to stop the state controlling us, we must confront this surveillance state.”
In office, however, he is proving to be as centralising and authoritarian as Tony Blair and New Labour ever were, all under the guise of needing to prevent acts of terrorism and smash paedophile rings. So, if you’re practising shooting zombies on ‘Left for Dead’ or knocking off a few vanity years on Facebook, beware: we are all now suspects; your every move is being monitored. Continue reading →