NHS

What's wrong with our public services?

The NHS and the police , is it a drama, a crisis or a mess?

A Doctor, with  a pipe? Seen in Emergency Ward 10A Doctor, with a pipe? Seen in Emergency Ward 10

Now here's a funny thing, it has changed so much over the years, traditionally public service was seen as just one of those things but now it has a life of it's own. The concept of service has been turned around no longer are we the public served but we serve the services. Consider the NHS which has gone from its roots in medicine to being the national religion and people who dare to question this move are apostates. How did this happen? Clearly there is no single reason but the quaint belief that public services are 'free' is there along with other perceptions. At one time people took a pride in their health but now visits to their GP or hospital A & E department are routine and often for trivial matters. It's as if they don't care and seek a form of entertainment as if it's a right.

In 1937 The Citadel by AJ Cronin was published, Cronin was both a Doctor and novelist and this book was a publishers' dream in that it was a record best seller. Although technically correct it was loathed by some sectors of the medical profession. But we may assume that most people bought it for its entertainment value. Cronin was on good terms with Aneurin Bevan and this relationship is generally thought of as the start of the NHS as an idea. Cronin also wrote scripts for the BBC 'soap', Dr Finlay's Casebook, from 1962 till 1971.

in

The lethal state

How to get away with murder

In whom we trust?In whom we trust?
It was one of those ironic moments, on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, John Humphrys interviewed Mike Farrar, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation on the subject of the Mid Staffordshire Hospital Trust. So one failing organisation up against another. The exact death toll stemming from the breakdown in care at Mid Staffs may never be known, it could be over 1000 lives. And on the other side we have the BBC, employer of Jimmy Savile, although a serial hospital botherer and visitor Savile was not, as far as we know, lethal. Even so, this is hardly a platform upon which to build is it?

Humphrys, in Olympian terms gold, silver and bronze, was very much at the latter level. This was the setting used to interview the inept but now very wealthy George Entwhistle, the ex-head of the BBC. Bronze mode is what a boy might expect from the Deputy Headmaster having been caught doing something anti-social in the school library. So with Humphrys on a low setting Farrar had it easy he ran rings around Humphrys, he was brilliant.

And the reason for this? Well Farrar was well trained in the public servant's art of talking but not saying anything. Also Farrar's penny whistle reedy voice blandly cheeped and wailed while Humphrys sounded more like a bassoonist demonstrating his take on a complex musical score.

in

Twitter arithmetic

The significance of numbers

Frankie Howerd Frankie Howerd

As predicted the death toll of UK soldiers in Afghanistan has exceeded 200 in 8 years. This totemic figure will ensure that the media spotlight will shine brightly, for a while, on a number of issues given a trial run recently - equipment shortages is an obvious one. But let's wait and see for it's unlikely that anything related to strategy will be part of a wider public debate.

Tragic as the 200 deaths are they have to be seen alongside the 30,000 over 5 years in NHS hospitals from superbugs, reported in the Telegraph. Over the same period as the war in Afghanistan this would be 48,000 deaths. What a strange world it is, the deaths of soldiers only jars the national conscience when the figure has a certain resonance, yet deaths from superbugs appear to be running at over 100 per week. But the only hint of a debate, which soon turns into a bipolar rant, is when MEP Daniel Hannan makes his opinions of the concept of 'Big State' as related to health provision known on a US TV news programme.

Negligence or corporate manslaughter?

Passing the buck

Dr UrbaniDr Urbani
We hear that in February 2008, Daniel Urbani a German doctor on his first shift providing out-of-hours cover for GPs, killed 70 year old David Gray by giving him 10 times the normal recommended maximum dose of diamorphine. Shortly afterwards he left another patient dead see here.

Last month Ubani was given a nine-month suspended prison sentence in a German court for the UK incident and was fined €5,000 (£4,450) for causing death by negligence. He is continuing to practise in Witten, Germany, although he has been suspended from working in the UK by the General Medical Council's interim orders panel.

We are told that Dr Urbani specialises in anti-ageing medicine and is a cosmetic surgeon. He has a very simple website in ungrammatical English.

Syndicate content