Have you heard of NHS247? Perhaps. You might even be reading this on the NHS247 web site. Dr Grumble, you see, is one of a select group of NHS247 bloggers. The web site claims that the prime minister uses NHS247 as the principal source to "listen and lead" on healthcare. Dr Grumble does not really believe this but that is what it says on the web site. Of course the idea that Gordon Brown might be reading this does give Dr Grumble a little frisson of excitement. But, of course, he doesn't. Perhaps his civil servants give him a little précis. There are certainly civil servants whose task it is to read the blogs and tell those in power roughly how the populace are feeling.
As regular readers will know Mrs Grumble does not read the blog. She never has so presumably she never will. Dr Grumble doesn't mind. The blog is not for her. But on Sunday morning Dr Grumble may blog in bed and today Mrs Grumble's attention was drawn to some cloying musak eminating from the Grumble laptop. Dr Grumble had been checking over the NHS247 web site. Mrs Grumble took a look and immediately thought that NHS247 had all the hallmarks of a government site - especially the dreadful music.
Many readers will guess that a large pay cheque comes from NHS247 to the Grumble account for his scintillating input into NHS247. It might be unwise for Dr Grumble to bite the hand that feeds him. But fortunately Dr Grumble does not get paid so the issue does not arise. Not that it would have stopped Dr Grumble taking a swipe at NHS247 if he thought that was appropriate.
So who are NHS247? Dr Grumble really has no idea. There is a strong implication that they are paid for by government and that they have "insisted on independence" presumably to reassure the likes of Dr Grumble. Nevertheless Dr Grumble is a little uneasy. He has been keeping a wary eye on NHS247.
And that brings Dr Grumble to a comment on NHS247 which read as follows:
Reading around some medical blogs I came across the story of ***** ******.
There was not much detail about what happened, but from what I can gather he has been suspended for something he said in a doctor’s forum. Is this true? Does anyone know any details about what he said or why he’s been suspended?
If this is true, what on earth happened to freedom of speech? It’s absolutely ridiculous that somebody who has worked so hard to become a doctor to help save people’s lives is being suspended for having a bit of a rant out of work hours in an private forum, which has nothing to do with how he does his job!
Does anyone know more about what happened?
Dr Grumble knows quite a lot about what happened. And anybody who has been "reading some medical blogs" and clearly has an interest in the story should know quite a bit. (For those that don't know the story here's a summary.) But the one thing they shouldn't know is Dr Scott's real name. There have been some vague clues as to the young doctor's name but nobody has spelt it out. The medical bloggers and the press have been very responsible in this regard. Fortunately the name on the NHS247 web site is not accurate. But there was never a need to put anything other than a pseudonym.
Dr Grumble has conducted a google blog search with the real name of the suspended junior surgeon and has found not a single mention. He has also tried every permutation and variation on the name. So who has posted this comment? What enabled him to have a stab at the doctor's name? Can we trust NHS247? Just who are they?
Somebody from NHS247 kindly copies the Grumble blog across onto their web site. Dr G can't be bothered to do it himself. Probably she will read this post. They wouldn't want anything too subversive on NHS247. That's why they invited Grumble rather than Rant. So let's see if this provokes a comment. Those of us who work in the NHS would like answers to the following:
- Who are you?
- Are you are private company?
- Who owns you?
- What is your real purpose?
- How are you funded?
- Is this an attempt by government to wheedle its way into our private thoughts?
- How do you feed back what you uncover to government?
- Why is there a lack of openness about who you are and where you are coming from?
- Can we trust you?