16 August 2008

Gordon and Grumble

Does Gordon Brown listen to Dr Grumble? Don't laugh. Don't immediately dismiss the idea. Dr Grumble is about to reveal incontrovertible evidence that he might.

Any long term readers of Dr Grumble will know that this topic has come up before. In the days when Dr Grumble blogged mostly about MTAS and MMC a few of Dr Grumble's readers were convinced that the great and the good who were wrecking wrestling with doctors' careers were reading what old Grumble had to say. Dr Grumble was never convinced. But there are few people who are not self-centred enough to search the web for their own names. Even now if you enter 'Dr Grumble' into google you will find references to the MMC crisis though most of the original posts were deleted long ago. Did Dr Grumble refer to the individual in charge MTAS/MMC? Well, that would have been a challenge because, as he pointed out, there was nobody in charge. Dr Grumble once had a post saying just that. But nobody listened. But did the great and the good read Grumble? That we will never know. But we do now have a good idea.

Dr Grumble knew the names of all those involved in the MTAS/MMC debacle. He put up their pictures. He raised the issue of resignation. Some resigned. Many did not. These people are powerful. For Dr Grumble it was dangerous territory. Those posts are long gone. Was Dr Grumble's concern for his own welfare justified? He thinks it was. It is now known for sure that the great and the good are lurkers. They want to know what the Grumbles of this world think. But they do not reveal themselves. Can this be damaging? Yes. Does Dr Grumble have any evidence for that. Yes. Dr Grumble was wise to have taken down his previous posts on these topics. As he has said on many occasions, these people are powerful. They have the power to ruin your career. It is just not worth it.

But there is another side to this. If the great and the good read Dr Grumble doesn't this mean that jobbing doctors can actually have an influence on things? And that makes blogging not a pastime but a responsibility. This blog is, perhaps, getting serious.

So what about Gordon Brown? He cannot possibly read the blog. Or can he? Take a look at NHS247. Dr Grumble was invited to put his blog on this site and agreed. Bloggers are easily flattered. And they want to be read. You can find Grumble here. Perhaps you are already reading this on NHS247. Dr Grumble agreed to this without really knowing what NHS247 was all about. When Dr G pressed the 'about us' tab this is what he found:

This will be the principle (sic) source for the Prime Minister to "listen and lead" on healthcare policy.

A site has been set up so that the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, can listen to the likes of Dr Grumble. Is this sensible? What a responsibility for Dr Grumble. Will it be Lord Grumble one day?


Jobbing Doctor said...

Congratulations, Grumble.

Lets hope that promises of listening to the likes of us is not a false one.


Dr Andrew Brown said...

Politicians may be closer in nature to doctors than we like to think. Of course they demonstrate self interest and have to make compromises and toe the party line on the way up, yet somewhere underneath all that there remains the fact that part of their original motivation was to help people. "Politics is nothing but medicine on a grand scale", and all that.

And it is difficult for them to find out what people think, because they tend only to come into contact with those who have ascended the greasy poles in their own professions and/or have their own self interests to promote.

Also, politicians are not stupid. So it is quite plausible that they should be interested in blogs written by rank and file NHS doctors.

I think that this places a considerable responsibility on bloggers to write temperate postings. These are likely to be more effective than rants, however cathartic the latter may be. Your blog appears to fulfil this criterion, and is a pleasure to read.

I'm sorry that you feel threatened. As a GP I am more secure, though no doubt the powers that be could make life difficult for me if they wished. All the more reason to be temperate and informative.

Dr Grumble said...

The parallels between doctors and politicians had escaped Dr Grumble. If there is a vocational element to the work of a politician it's odd that they do not seem to recognise that same element in doctors. Another similarity is the politician's 'surgery' which gives them at least something of the sort of direct contact doctors have with people and their problems - though not on anything like the same scale. Certainly it doesn't seem to give them the understanding of what people think that they really need.

Dr Grumble is probably fairly safe but why take a chance? He has an official educational role and has met some of the key players in MMC. He has tentatively put his case to them but has always been robustly put down. More esteemed figures than Dr G have had the same response. These people are powerful. It is better not to cross swords with them if it can be avoided. Arguing with them directly is not profitable. They have a fixed agenda. Their masters ensure that they are rewarded appropriately. Anybody who gets in their way is vulnerable. If the young doctor who was supsended had realised that he would still have a career. Dr Grumble has two children at medical school. He needs to work for a little longer.

Dr Grumble said...

Dr G has just heard that the young doctor suspended for his scatological comments about a senior figure in medicine has been reinstated. A victory for common sense - though whether he should ever have been reported is quite another matter.