Saturday, 16 November 2013

What's up doc?

My dear friends,

You didn't think I'd leave you with nothing to contemplate did you? Here's a quick post to keep you going 

Have a read of this:

Doctors and nurses may face jail for neglect

For those who don't know, I happen to be a doctor. Not a Doctor of Filosofy (to my eternal shame), a Medical Doctor. Suffice to say that many of my friends and colleagues are doctors and nurses and this news has set my social media news feeds aflame. It seems they are none too happy with the way things are being portrayed in the news media for public consumption. 

I must say I'm okay with doctors and nurses being held accountable for wilfully neglecting patients. I may be high minded but I feel we in the medical profession must act in a certain way. Both doctors and nurses are held to a very high standard and so they should be. And so it is. Both doctors and nurses are accountable for everything they do, not just to their patients and relatives, but to each other and professional bodies which have continually raised their oversight for the sake of clinical excellence.

However, I am as displeased with this news as any one of my fellows. The reason for this displeasure is the origin of this suggested legislation. It's origin, as with all legislation comes from politics. 

For a doctor, the most heinous personality trait is dishonesty. It is genuinely intolerable. Anyone can make a mistake. In our profession a mistake can mean morbidity or mortality. Lives can be changed in an instant. This means we should be held to account.

For a politician, dishonesty is not only tolerated, it seems to be lauded at times. Politicians seem generally immune to accountability. Not if they've done something saucy, oh no, then the sordid details of their affairs and chemical dependence is splashed all over the place. But being held to account for the promises they break, the backs they stab and the expenses they steal out of the pockets of every tax paying citizen of the UK, no, not then. Not to mention the undeclared conflicts of interest.

So now we get to the nub of the issue. Why is this happening? Why are doctors and nurses so upset? Why are the politicians, trying to pass seemingly reasonable legislation having such a backlash from professions used to such accountability already?

Perhaps it is because people in those professions are reaching tipping point. We have spent our lives working for a service we believe in, slowly whittled down, run at overcapacity and mocked for even trying. All the while vultures circle the stricken body of the NHS, waiting to pick off the juiciest, most profitable bits. The only reason the service still runs is because of the very doctors and nurses this legislation targets. These are compassionate people who understand that if the service doesn't run, the people who suffer most are the sick and the dying.

As for the general public, a picture of ineptitude is being painted. Thankfully in the most this portrayal is seen for what it really is, an illusion. Yet slowly public opinion is being steered towards an iceberg called "NHS Not Fit For Purpose." I try to warn those outside the system, if you think it's bad now, doctors making clinical decisions with no fiduciary impulse, just wait until an insurance broker does.

We are at a precipice. If the NHS goes, it's gone forever. Forever. It will never come back. Even if someone wanted to, there is no way it could be restarted, it would just cost too much money. Your National Insurance payments would continue, of course, you're not going to get that back. That money would be immediately earmarked for other projects.

We are incredibly privileged having a NHS. Ask anyone you now from the USA, or Africa or anywhere really (excluding perhaps Scandinavia.) 

So what can we do about it? Well, I would say let's start with honesty. Let's be honest about our failings as people and as a service. Let's demand honesty from our politicians. And how about a little more honesty from the news media? 

Am I asking too much? Perhaps. I'd love to know what you think.

Yours in thought,

the Filosofer


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