Monday, April 23, 2007

A Guest Blog - Dr Rupert Beale

The following post has been written by a medical Senior House Officer - he is a doctor twice over (qualified as a medical doctor and has a PhD). He is one of the doctors caught in the middle of the changes to medical careers. He is an experienced and excellent clinician, is married and has three (very lovely) children:

"Many thanks to Michelle for inviting me to contribute. I'm one of roughly 30,000 doctors caught up in the Modernising Medical Careers fiasco as I try to complete my training in general medicine. Tomorrow I am going to lobby my MP to do all he can to bring the government to account over this astoundingly incompetent implementation of a very bad idea. I suppose I am generally an optimist, but even someone fully dosed up on the strongest happy pills would struggle to think we are going to be able to entirely reverse the government's policy. Depressingly, we are looking for damage limitation in one form or another.

I'm not going to recite the litany of blunders and half-baked lunacy that has led to the sorry mess we find ourselves in now. What I'd like to do is highlight the various forces at work behind what is happening at the moment. Unless you are immersed in what has been going on, you may not even have heard of some of them. My main point here is that there are so many of them, each with an important role in this process and each claiming to represent some disenfranchised body such as patients, voters, junior doctors, the NHS, medical education, surgeons etc. Since there are so many of them, I propose a simple classification scheme:

Forces of Darkness:
The Department of Health Trying to control doctors to serve political ends
NHS Employers Trying to drive down the cost of doctors by manipulating supply and demand
Patricia Hewitt Trying to save her sorry political neck
MMC (Modernising Medical Careers) It has lost its head (twice). Like many other stupid things, this still runs around the farmyard
MTAS (Medical Transportation to Australia Service) computerised system for selecting doctors on the basis of their creative writing skills
PMETB (Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board) set up to wrest control of medical training from the Royal Colleges.
Deaneries Cravenly implementing Hewitt's policy because of legal threats

Forces of Light:
RemedyUK Noble organisation, shoestring budget, run full time by junior docs. Oh, sorry – actually run by full time junior docs.
Prof Morris Brown et. al. Actually most of the consultants are against MMC, but until now very few of them have had the courage to say so. See blog post 'Medical Heroes'.

BMA Hasn't even bothered to find out the views of its members, let alone actually do anything.
BMA JDC (Junior doctor's Committee) They have been in the review. Then out. Then in. Then used by Patricia Hewitt as evidence that junior doctors support the review findings. Muppets.
Royal Colleges Moribund organisations that will shortly go the way of the once powerful medieval guilds.

You will notice that the Forces of Light are outnumbered and out-gunned, but since it's St George's day and the situation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland isn't as bad...
Cry God for Morris, England and Saint George!"


Unknown said...

I note you have changed 'Dr Tempest's strongest happy pills' to 'the strongest happy pills'...

Unknown said...

Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George! (Shakespeare, Henry V)

Dr Michelle Tempest said...

Thanks Rupert - thanks for writing a guest blog. I edited out Dr Tempest's happy pills... hope you don't mind that I edited out my name...just it's your post.
I hope that all doctors are looking forward to the march tomorrow and I'll see you there!

Anonymous said...

It is great to get views of docs who are caught up in this mess

Anonymous said...

I am appalled by the debate in the Commons, the Tories won hands down, Patsy was absent for most of it, at no point were there 50 MPs in the House. They really don't care about the effects of MMC on either the doctors or the patients. Andrew Lansley was impressive and both opposition parties were well briefed. Norman Lamb was quiet and reasonable. But after a good debate given how thin the Honourable Members were on the ground, Labour managed to feed 280 odd through the lobby and the Opposition could only raise 213. Shame, when are Labour MPs going to show some backbone? If our Blair Babe voted I'll have her in the local press!