03 April 2010

Where have all the bloggers gone?

Since the retirement of Dr Crippen, medical blogger extraordinaire, there has been concern about the health of the medical blogosphere.

In the early days there were some good bloggers out there but they appear to have run out of steam recently and some, probably worried about being exposed, are no longer publicly viewable. Others suddenly disappeared after being revealed. Quite a few never really got off the starting blocks.

Below is a list of what Dr Grumble has loosely labelled British Medical Blogs in his Google Reader. If you know of others than should be listed put them in the comments and if Grumble has time he will add them in. It is only in compiling this list that Dr Grumble has come to realise how many good bloggers have disappeared into the ether.

A beginner's guide to being a junior doctor

A fortunate man

A GrumpyRN

A Life in the Day of A Basics Doc

An English Physician

A New Kind of GP

Antifroth

Aphra Behn -danger of eclectic shock

Bad Medicine

Campaigning for Health


Chez Sam's

Crossing over to the Darkside
(invited readers only)

Doctor Bloggs

Doctors from the Future


Dr Aust's Spleen

Dr Da Vinci

Dr Informed

Dr Jest's Caseblog

Dr Phil Yerboots's Consulting Room

Dr Rant

Dr Rachel Joyce's Blogspot

Dr Rays focal spot


frontier psychiatrist

FrontPoint Systems Ltd (now defunct it seems)

geepeemum


GP Informed

GP Lite: The New NHS


Green the Health Service

Health Blog

HospitalPhoenix (once glorious, now defunct)

Inside Surgery

Lake Cocytus


Life in the NHS

Margaret McCartney's blog

Militant Medical Nurse


Mousethinks (invited readers only)

Musings Of A Disheartened Doctor

NHS Secretary

Nice Lady Doctor

Non Timeo Sed Caveo

Northern Doc

Northern Doctor


Nurse Ratchet

On-Call Blog (invited readers only)

Our NHS

Pathologists Anonymous

Pondering Practitioner

Quasi Serendipita

Ramblings on Fruit and Chocolate (mostly about fruit and chocolate but Grumble gets a mention)

Sandman's progress

Save Bedford Hospital


Secret Doctor's Diary

The Angry Medic

The Brown Stuff

The Cockroach Catcher

The Ferret Fancier

The Fuddled Medic

The Hippocratic Oaf

The Jobbing Doctor

The Junior Doctor

The KnifeMan

The Little Medic

The Lowly Worm

THE NHS EXPOSED BLOG

The Psychiatrist Blog

The Student Doctor Diaries


The Witch Doctor

Trick-cycling For Beginners (invited readers only)

Two Weeks on a Trolley

Ward 87

Wishful thinking in medical education

Medical blogs form an important, perhaps the only, record of how grass roots doctors and others were thinking at a particular time. A glance at the list above will show how the problems related to MMC and MTAS motivated some medical bloggers. The impact of Darzi is another recurring theme. Perhaps this quiet period in the medical blogosphere is a lull before the storm of a new government. We shall see.

Concern has been expressed at the loss of Dr Crippen's past posts which many consider to have the status of an important historical record. Fortunately Crippen's blog was selected to be archived for posterity. Whether or not all of his posts were captured Dr Grumble is unsure but at least some of them are available at the UK Web Archive where presumably they will be available for ever.


STOP PRESS
:
Just two days after this list was posted Julie McAnulty kindly volunteered to take on the task of producing a better list which will in due course will have separate pages for patient blogs, student blogs etc. It is called MediBlogUK.

34 comments:

Cockroach Catcher said...

Thanks for the mention. One of the reasons I write about other things like, food, wine, opera, travel and nature is my personal way of dealing with my frustrations with what has been going on in the NHS and these other blog posts allowed me to continue to blog about the NHS that I spent my whole professional life on. I believe that patients get a better deal when money is not directly involved. I have psychiatric patients transferred from PRIVATE care to our care and they fare better, much better.

The Cockroach Catcher

madsadgirl said...

You haven't listed the Little Medic's blog, So I'm a Doctor, Now What? I know that he posts only sporadically these days, and this may be in part because of his testicular cancer, but he was a good read as a student and can still write a good post.

Dr Grumble said...

I have rectified that omission, Madsadgirl. For some reason he is not in any of my reading lists.

Dr Grumble said...

By the way it has suddenly dawned on me who the Little Medic is. He has scattered rather a lot of clues so presumably he won't be too surprised.

Fuddled Medic said...

The Student Doctors Diaries and The Angry Medic?

Dr Grumble said...

I have added those two, Fuddled Medic. I wasn't familiar with the Student Doctor Diaries.

Julie said...

I think I'm going to blog on this, this week. My chief emotion at NHS blogdoctor leaving is guilt. His prolific and talented writing let the rest of us sit back a bit and let him get on with it. I only reached my 200th post a few weeks ago - thats after three years of blogging! I was actually wondering if it might be an idea to set up a website that is simply a list of mediblogs, to allow info to pass round more quickly and so that we know how many bloggers are out there. Here's an example of the set up I mean from Brit Cat;

http://britcat.blogspot.com/

What I am hoping is that with Dr Crippen, it will be a case of 'the best drives out the good' and that we will see the advent of more bloggers coming in to fill the vaccuum that he has left. Maybe we all need to try a bit harder as well. I have been dealing with an ill relative over the past month, but if I have time to write comments then I should have time to blog. Either that or hope that Dr Crippen comes back..

Dr. Thunder said...

Why is Dr. Crippen's blog gone? I know he's retired, but why did he close his page down??

Dr. T
www.twoweeksonatrolley.blogspot.com

The Girl said...

Blogs go through phases, too.

I nearly stopped writing mine until I made it private out of fear of some supervising doctor working out who I was, and now it is back to the way it used to be, apart from the lack of public traffic.

I'm not sure what it is like in the UK, but in Australia it isn't always the best thing for people to be able to attach your real-life identity to an on-line opinion, particularly when you haven't strenuously filtered your opinion so that no one person could possibly take offense.

Dr Grumble said...

It's the same here, The Girl. If you blog on things that actually have happened recently people will work out who you are and when you start blogging you fail to realise how hard you must work to keep your identity secret. There is no end to the number of ways you might inadvertently reveal yourself. Only recently I found my real name in some of the html code as a result of dragging and dropping from my desk top. If your identity has got out or partly got out that can be quite healthy because you are then more careful about what you say. But then you are always holding back which limits the vibrancy of your writing.

Crippen's real strength was that he was not afraid to touch a raw nerve and did not hold back. He often said what I thought but would never dare write - even anonymously. Some of these things were about extremely important issues such as the folly of turning nurses into doctors without sending them to medical school. I tend to skate around such issues. It is not good having issues that are too sensitive to talk about.

There some issues that are just too much trouble. Attacks on certain patient groups are much too hot for me to handle and a public approach in a blog seems somehow not right and unprofessional. I have a post in my head (where it will stay) about the only two patients in decades of work who have walked out of a consultation with me. Both had the same condition and in both I hadn't got beyond thorough history taking focussing on exactly what they noticed wrong before they decided that I wasn't the right sort of doctor for them. There is a small group of patients who will not deal with a doctors who cannot be speedily manipulated. The trouble though is that you cannot help a patient who won't engage. The alternative approach is to play along which is also no solution for that particular sort of patient. That's as far as I am going to go on that one.

I have been quite properly accused of filtering my opinion. You must always avoid any criticism of your immediate employer (Christian Jago, known to me as Potentilla, pointed that out to me). You can criticise health care as a whole but it is unwise to focus on your own hospital. Even criticising the NHS purchaser/provider divide can risk trouble because there can be powerful local vested interests or you may be seen as 'not committed'.

You are right that blogs do go through phases. When you start out you do not think your blog will be found or read. As a result your guard is down and there is even the temptation (and I have seen this in other blogs) to give little clues about who you are. In my very first post (now offline) I described my family and dog and that was enough to be recognised by people who work with Mrs Grumble. I don't know how my students identified me.

Expressing your views frankly does involve causing offence. Have you noticed that politicians tend to be very thick skinned? Crippen's bog was characterised by robust replies. People get particularly angry when you have rumbled them or when they don't really have arguments that stack up against yours. That's only something I have come to realise quite recently. People who are right when you are wrong or partly wrong put their argument for you to consider. They don't need to be angry.

You take a risk if you criticise things such as infection control which is very much a motherhood and apple pie thing. No member of the public will be sympathetic and certainly not employers. You will see that Dr Grumble's post on this particular topic states very clearly that he fully complies with all the regulations and the post itself is essentially innocuous, boring even. But somehow the raw nerve was still hit because there were over 30 comments. I am sure Crippen would have done it better but, as he said to me privately, his position was safer than mine.

madsadgirl said...

A New Kind of GP is a recent addition to the blogosphere who seems to be missing from your list, and though he hasn't written anything for a month or so The Knife Man is another. Oh, and there is Frontier Psychiatrist, too.

Anonymous said...

Bring back the Brit Meds!

Dr Grumble said...

Thanks, madsadgirl. Three more I didn't know about now added to the list.

Dr Aust said...

Delighted to be included, Dr G, especially as a non-medic among medics.

Re. Dr Crippen, it seems many of his posts are archived in a couple of different places, though obviously that is less accessible than the old blog. Apart from his retirement, from things he said on the blog it was clear he felt he was repeating himself, which is something I think all of us who blog for a while worry about. I once had a regular column somewhere but I stopped because I ran out of new things to say, and didn't want to just endlessly re-hash the same riffs.

As to why he took the blog down, maybe he just wanted a clean break. Hard to "leave it be" with the blog still up, though Dr Ray did just that.

Anyway, I hope maybe we will see Dr C back some day once he feels he has something new to write about.

Anonymous said...

Thats alright Dr G, I shall just mention myself

http://www.ward87.blogspot.com

Picked by the British Library for archiving many years ago

RP

BenefitScroungingScum said...

What about all the patient blogs? I wonder if we should set up a British Medical Bloggers blog site just to try and co-ordinate into one voice?
BendyGirl

Dr Grumble said...

It's not a bad idea, BenefitScroungingScum, if somebody is prepared to take it on. From my efforts so far with this I can see that keeping it up-to-date and avoiding ruffling feathers by leaving somebody out might take some effort. But that is not a reason for not doing it.

Anonymous said...

... and there is the innovative 'High Quality Care For All' site too!

http://www.ournhs.nhs.uk/

Dr Grumble said...

There you are. I have even ruffled the feathers of those running an official NHS site. There is no hope for Dr Grumble now!

Julie said...

Well guys,

I've decided it's time to walk the walk. I've started a new blog that's going to be simply links and a blog roll - we can keep adding new ones as they crop up and put different sections in it. I've called it Mediblog UK and you can find it here. Over the next few days, if you don't mind, I'm going to be scavenging your blog lists to add to the site. Here's the link;

http://medibloguk.blogspot.com/

I will get round to setting up separate pages for patient blogs, student blogs, etc, but I'll get this up and running first. Any suggestions are very welcome!

Dr Grumble said...

That's excellent Julie. Much better than my hurried list. I suggest that if anybody feels an important blog has been forgotten they let you know. I hope it is not too much work to keep the list maintained.

Nursing Student said...

Mines a student nurse blog, I don't know if really relevent to your list, but I'm linked from Nurse Anne, and I follow a lot of blogs on your list.

Doc Grumble, a little off topic, but how might I go about getting access to "Crossing over to the Dark Sides" blog? their URL is nursetodoc.blogspot and I would be very interesting in reading a nurse to doc blog. Cheers!

Julie said...

Hi nursing student,

Have added you and the other blogs you follow to the list.

This is going to be a lot of work, Dr G but I think it will be worth it. We'll see how it goes over the next few days.

Dr Grumble said...

I'm sorry, Nursing Student, I don't have access either. The author made the same mistake I did by thinking nobody would read her(?)blog. After a mention by Dr Crippen it became invited readers only. Actually she was not new to blogging. She blogged about her frustrations with nursing before crossing to the dark side. I felt quite a lot of sympathy for her but unfortunately it is not always a good idea to let your negative thoughts out for the world to read and she may well have been wise to go offline.

I have pasted a sample of her past posts here:

http://sites.google.com/site/drgrumble/for-nursing-student

Dr Grumble said...

Good luck with your efforts, Julie.

Methuselah said...

Anyone know if there's an Australian version?

Meths

Julie said...

I might get round to that, Methuselah; I came across a lot of American blogs as well.

Sam said...

Great idea Julie and Dr G and thank you for mentioning me :-)

Dr Phil Yerboots said...

Surprised to see myself in your list, perhaps inspired to remember my password.

Perhaps too busy coining it due to the collapse of the NHS! Or too busy in Mrs Dalleys shop...

Anne Marie said...

Thanks for listing me:) I'm thinking that a Yahoo Pipe of RSS feeds might be useful. I'll spend 20 minutes at it and post the results here.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Great to see MediblogUK starting up! BG

The Angry Medic said...

Yikes, have just found this. Thanks Dr G (and FuddledMedic) for mentioning ol' dead-and-buried me! You've guilted me into starting writing again.

Just been to the MediBlog UK site - good stuff.

Also Dr G, consider putting your reply to The Girl in these comments into an actual post - it's really relevant, especially since I myself was discovered a while ago. Personal security guards are such a bitch to hire.

Anonymous said...

Classically, this would be a list posted on Usenet every month, copied and revised.

pieter said...

appreciate your efforts really a commendable work keep doing what you are