29 February 2008

Cloud cuckoo land

Sometimes Dr Grumble gets the sensation that he is in an unreal world where everybody with influence seems to be on a different wavelength. Take for example the latest initiative from Sir Liam Donaldson. This is what he says:

"Why should the health service, funded by the taxpayer, pay for the care of a patient that's had bad care?

Is this just intended as a soundbite for those with nothing between the ears or has Dr Grumble gone round the bend?

Sir Liam with a former civil servant.

Sir Liam's idea is that if something goes wrong (and he uses the rather bad example of MRSA) hospitals should not only not be paid to try and put the patient right but that they should be fined. He is going to recommend this idea to the noble Lord Darzi. But, really, how can this make sense? When things go wrong it's already enormously expensive for hospitals. If managers do not already realise this (and maybe they don't) will a fine really make them pay attention? And if you fail to pay a hospital for 'bad care' to spare the taxpayer the expense where does the money come from to look after the poor patient? Could it be from another taxpayer? Who else pays for care in an NHS hospital? Does Sir Liam understand how the NHS works or does he live in cloud cuckoo land? Or is he looking ahead to privatisation?

Dr Grumble is bewildered.

This post was first published on 17th December 2007. It has been republished it now because Dr Grumble was amused by this article about how much effort the civil servants in the Department of Health spend doing political spinning for their masters. One of the things they have been working on is Sir Liam Donaldson's wikepedia entry. You can see why. By the way it seems that the patients are beginning to understand what is happening to their health service. For Channel 4 clip click here.


witchdoctor said...

It is interesting how many of your previous posts continue to have relevance. Maybe Dr Grumble carries The Witch Gene, or maybe he is a prophet.

Sir Liam Donaldson sometimes says very strange things. This is one of the reasons The Witch Doctor is interested in him and not so hard on him as are other bloggers. Sometimes it seems he is trying to get a message across about some of the ridiculous things that are going on.

“………or is he looking ahead to privatisation?”

That is how I viewed his comments at the time. A warning. Otherwise it makes no sense. CMOs tend not to be dim-witted.

Similarly, I felt his suggestion for GPs to send opt out letters regarding “The Spine” from patients to Patricia Hewitt was so bizarre that it was intended to stir things up. And it did.

What about MTAS?

What about revalidation?

It must take nerves of steel to be CMO nowadays. He probably knows more about this government’s intentions regarding the NHS than any doctor in the land. If he disapproves of any of these all he can do is resign but even then he’s probably not free to speak out.

He probably also knows more about the mindset of many the great and the good of the medical profession than anyone else in the land. I wonder who meets with his disapproval?

We witches try to find time to listen very carefully to what he says and watch what he does and then try to work out what he is really thinking. We probably get it wrong a lot of the time, though.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

If it were possible to extend Sir Liam Donaldson's logic about accountability, perhaps it will be possible for any junior doctor whose career prospects have been blighted by MTAS (so enthusiastically endorsed by Sir Liam)to take similar proceedings against Donaldson and his pack of hopeless inadequates who caused the mess. No? Sorry, I forgot, ineptitude is not punishable if it from within government. Let those who wish to cast the first stone etc...