Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Count Down

As Tony Blair counts down the days until he leaves office, he told BBC One's Politics Show today that reducing NHS waiting times, building more schools and tackling anti-social behaviour were among his achievements. Despite a Royal College of Nursing report claiming that 22,300 NHS jobs have been lost in the last 18 months, Mr Blair defended his record on health. He said: "When we came to power, people used to die on waiting lists waiting for their heart operations. People don't do that any more." [?]

On the same day as Mr Blair was trying to sell or spin his NHS legacy, Mr Johnson (Chairman of the British Medical Association) said: "It's disgraceful that thousands of our best doctors could have their NHS careers wrecked through no reason other than government mistakes and poor workforce planning." Also in yesterday's Private Eye MD described that "Meanwhile on Planet Patsy the health secretary fails to see a problem. " MD continued "Thanks to the insolvency of NHS pie, many [junior doctors] have had funding for study leave and training courses withdrawn. Curiously, indebted trusts are still managing to cough up millions to hire management consultants such as KPMG and McKinsey, to tell them to save money by, er, cutting all funds for training."

Mr Blair's NHS legacy will have even more coverage on 24th April when a mass Parliamentary Lobby has been organised by RemedyUK, concerned about the future of doctor training and subsequent patient care. The picture above is taken from NHS Blog Doctor and represents "Planet Spin".


Anonymous said...

Did you know that your also nominated on BritBlog awards today... I'm a big fan of your blog... well deserved nomination. Sarah

Anonymous said...

Well done on your nomination. I am a big fan of your blog too and check it every day

Anonymous said...

The NHS seems one big mess at the moment..

David Anthony said...

I think it's important to acknowledge that things have improved from the patients' point of view, but I don't think many on the employee side can say that things have improved.

When the focus is purely on money and targets, the human side of the equation is bound to suffer. I think the junior doctors mess illustrates this quite well.

Just remember, every object that spins here on Earth will eventually run out of momentum and fall to the floor. ;)

Dr Andrew Brown said...

Private Eye's "MD" is of course the indefatigable (and amusing) Dr Phil Hammond, who first exposed the problems with cardiac surgery at Bristol.

DA is quite right about the unfortunate effects of focussing on only money & targets. The NHS is a highly complex organisation that evolved slowly over 50 years. Over the past decade the Government has made major changes, based on management theory and aimed at reducing both the power of the professions and costs. In such a complex organism these changes are having unpleasant and unexpected side-effects.

Basically I don't think the Government knows what it is doing. It admitted as much over its management of the petrol crisis (about 7-8 years ago). It hasn't admitted as much over the invasion of Iraq. It is a collection of weak individuals under the leadership of a man with a narcissistic personality disorder (if I can be so bold when commenting on a psychiatrist's blog!)

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. I feel better now. :-)

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Thanks David. If things have really changes for the better from the patients point of view, then that would indeed be a massive NHS success. There is no better measure than that. The primary aim of the NHS is patient care. Which is why training and long term training is paramount. If doctors in training don't get the training they need now then that is detrimental for long term patient care. Michelle

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Thanks Dr Andrew Brown. Indeed MD being the very funny GP Dr Phil Hammond! The private eye also has some great leadership and has quite a unique way of sharing magazine profits with their writers... it's an interesting and successful business model and leadership model. Michelle

Ian Lidster said...

Isn't spin such a polite euphermism for 'bullshit?' Yet, politicians everywhere get away with it. Well, there was an old newspaper adage that we used to cynically apply which was, 'never underestimate the intelligence of your readers.'

Anonymous said...

I think he is self-delusional, what treatment would you suggest?

QUASAR9 said...

lol! Michelle love the pic

Ian lidster life is full of 'spin'

Elle, Michelle could give him nhs treatment, see how he likes it. lol!

Man in a Shed said...

Computer weekly report that consultants (IT not medical) in the NHS IT project are being paid at a rate of £2400/day. (I've heard similar figures for certain IT consultant firms highly regarded by NuLabour in other government fields).

Not hard to see where the money goes is it.

Richard Bacon MP is reported as follows:

"Questions by Richard Bacon, a Conservative MP on the Public Accounts Committee, established that consultants on the programme were earning up to £2,400 a day. At the end of July 2006, there were 471 consultants/contractors engaged with NHS Connecting for Health, the government agency running the NPfIT."

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Thanks for the extra info Man in the shed.