17 April 2010

Betty says hello

Hello, everybody. My name is Betty. You know me here as Mrs Grumble. You may also know that I don't read this blog. That used to be true anyway but John left his laptop lying around and I clicked on the Dr G bookmark and have read the odd post. But that is all. I also found a picture of Belle de Jour on the desktop. For anybody who doesn't know, Belle de Jour is a trollop and what John is doing with a picture of her on his desktop I have no idea.

Anyway you may be wondering why I am posting here. It is actually the first time I have written anything on a blog. I do have a blog (can't do links yet) but John writes it for me. This time it is me writing for him. You see he has a problem. His Trust has told him that he cannot blog during the run up to the election. Perhaps this is tantamount to telling him that he can blog when there isn't an election. I really don't know. John doesn't quite know if they know who he is. Probably they do. He has been careful now for quite some time. There are many things that he does not tell you. They are all local things about which he knows most but can publish least. Perhaps that is OK. On the other hand perhaps in the interests of free speech it is not such a good thing. People should be free to criticise. Like Simon Singh. As I say, I can't do links but if you look at the shared items you will find John has put up quite a good article on this by a scientist called Brooke Magnanti. Weird name that. John says that he has read a lot of her work. He probably doesn't tell you here but at heart he is a scientist as well as a doctor.

Look I'm digressing. The point of this post is to tell you that John is not allowed to blog until after the election. Although I take little interest in blogging I actually think this is outrageous. Why shouldn't a doctor working in the health service keep a blog in the run up to an election? John tells me that some of his fellow bloggers are even putting up for parliament and they are still blogging.

Anyway I want John to keep his job. He tells me that things are getting very tough at work and he thinks a lot of people are going to lose their jobs. It won't be very soon. It takes time to work out how to shed staff. But he says it will happen whoever wins the election.

27 comments:

Heidikraut said...

Hello Betty,

I do think it would be really interesting if someone who was married to a doctor who couldn't blog started their own blog to write about things that they may want to write about....

...surely 'they' can't stop spouses? (or have we moved back to 1890 and no one told me?)

Dr Grumble said...

You are quite right. Nobody can stop Betty.

Where have you been, Heidikraut? What happened to your blog? It was interesting to follow your struggles with German (or was it Germans?) in Göttingen.

subrosa said...

Surely Dr G's not standing as a PPC somewhere without telling us? That's the only reason I can think why an employer would request a temporary halt in blogging.

Doesn't this show the imbalance within this country. Politicians obviously do run the health service and it was never meant to be thus.

Plus they're all insisting they will spend even more money on it - to fund more managers who can further control those who are the core of our health care system. Topsy turvy indeed.

heidikraut said...

hello Dr G - I moved to Athens and changed my name. If you lose your job in the cuts you could always move here where patients will bribe you.

http://tabliope.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

I think it's disgusting that Dr Grumble isn't allowed to post now, surely this is a political decision by your trust managers and being so is anti-democratic.
If you were singing the praises of government,trust management, health privatization policy i bet they would allow Free Speech .

A Patient

LZephaniah said...

Dr G,
Even if you won't be posting here, are you allowed to keep your "shared items" updated? That way at least you can hope for people to read important articles and not just get confused by the election spiel! Look forward to your return, and will keep an eye out in case Betty starts a blog!

Dr Grumble said...

I have always thought the shared items are safe and that my employers cannot possibly object to them. They are really only an index to what I consider interesting or worth reading. I don't necessarily agree with the things I share so I am not, in sharing them, expressing any view.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I despair, but look forward to reading more of Betty's opinions. Being without an employer myself it'd be ok to publish anything Betty or her husband might think about the NHS from their own perspectives as patients/future patients.
Here's to Betty! BendyGirl

Julie said...

Look on the bright side. It means that blogging is becoming a force to be reckoned with. Magna est veritas et praelavebit..

Cockroach Catcher said...

It was interesting that there were some interesting writings in the Old Russia and Old East Germany and Old Mao China and Old Czechoslovakia when there is oppression. Thank goodness Dr G is oppressed. At least he won’t be depressed. What do I know, I only deal with children.
The Cockroach Catcher

Nursing Student said...

This sucks major. Luckily my University haven't found out who I am yet, they woulden't care. But I know the trust I work for in placement would shit bricks if they found out I was blogging, and I would in turn do the same if I found out they found out, so I guess I can understand where your coming from. Perhaps Betty can keep going for the next few weeks, The Doctors Wife diaries if you will ;)

Nursing Student said...

Oh and I love the shared item today about a whistleblowing doctor calling for safe nursing ratios. Sadly the NMC might listen to a doctor, I don't think they value the Nursing opinion that much. Trusts don't want to hear it, so perhaps the government (or our new one, whoever they will be) will take this on board. It's nice to see a Doctor stepping up to defend Nursing. On my last medical ward we had two sides of men and women. There was 1 nurse on the mens side to cope with the number (6) but the womens side had 14 patients. At best it was 1 qualified nurse and 1 NA covering. It's outrageous. It was an acute medical ward. Really poor patients. Keep up the great "shared item" work Doctor Grumble!

Nursing Student said...

I had to write about this tonight on my blog. It really got my goat (who made that expression?) it's so outrageous!

Cockroach Catcher said...

We live in interesting times: since 1789.”The Cockroach Catcher”

Mike said...

I am no lawyer but I think this action on the part of Dr G employer is a breach of human rights legislation, specifically article 10, but also possibly article 8

ARTICLE 10

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. this right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

Perhaps Jack of kent could give a more reliable opinion

Dr Grumble said...

It has generally been accepted that senior civil servants - the sort that advise ministers - should not take part in political activity. I used to be such a civil servant and when I went for training in Sunningdale the rules were made absolutely clear. It seemed reasonable to me at the time. Formulating policy for ministers and arguing publicly that the policy is wrong makes things impossible for ministers. A civil servant's job is to help the minister do what he wants however misguided that might be so some rights have to be given up in order to do your job effectively. I think that is reasonable in those exceptional circumstances.

However, I am now a jobbing doctor. I no longer advise ministers and I am not part of the management. That being the case I do consider it to be an infringement of my human rights to have to stay mum in the run up to an election. Nevertheless, even if one is right in law, it is never a good idea to ignore the wishes of your employer so I am not going to make any contentious political posts. (I have in fact been told not to blog at all.)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you've got the balls to keep blogging suspecting your employers are on to you. I don't think I'd have the nerve...

I really enjoy reading what you have to say and it keeps me updated on some really important stuff that I wouldn't otherwise hear about.

Anonymous said...

it is quite interesting how politics can influence everything. i guess Hobbes suggestions have done us more harm now....
on the other hand, how's Betty doing? I wonder how she accessed your blog, you people share passwords...hahaha, internal affairs i guess.

Mike said...

And what if, having set a precedent, they tell you after the election is over that they still want you to desist from blogging? I think that by yielding to a bullying management you have let in the thin end of the wedge

Mike said...

Further, on 25 Sept 1997 Alan Milburn, Health Minister at the time made a statement in the House committing the Government to protecting freedom of speech in the NHS.
See
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199798/cmhansrd/vo971105/debtext/71105-35.htm

Motion by Jim Cousins

Anonymous said...

Blogs and social media spaces such as Flickr and Youtube should not be updated for the duration of the election period.

http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Lettersandcirculars/Dearcolleagueletters/DH_115287

English Pensioner said...

My daughter works as a civilian for the police and was told that if she had a blog she should never mention the police. It was even suggested that if someone else (me) blogged on her behalf, she could be done under the Official Secrets Act.
Officialdom is clearly getting scared at the power of the internet

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Mike said...

You can only be done under the official secrets act if you have signed it. This is mandatory for all members of the armed forces, most civil servants, the police, and others but is not required of NHS employees.
Once signed it is for life.

Anonymous said...

It makes no difference whether you have signed the Official Secrets Act or not (except that it may be combined with a Confidentiality Declaration which relates to civil law).

Mike said...

Well yes and no. In practice the act covers those categories of people who are in possession of official and classified information, who will almost always have been required to sign the act. Anyone who has not signed the act is unlikely to come into possession of such information without the act having already been breached by a signatory. NHS employees are unlikely to come into possession of such information, and the act can certainly not be invoked for expressions of opinion.
see http://www.ros.gov.uk/foi/staff_handbook/Official_secrets.htm

Further, Paragraph 330 of the Terms and Conditions of Service for Hospital Medical and Dental Staff says that "A practitioner shall be free, without prior consent of the employing authority, to publish books, articles, etc, and to deliver any lecture or speak, whether on matters arising out of his or her hospital service or not."

Purple Haze said...

Also had similar email round Wales earlier in the week (about NHS employees not expressing political views and blogging / talking to media),

Luckily, as a GP, I am not an employee then :-D, but an independent contractor. If they want me to act like an employee they can give me annual leave and sick pay too!