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28 September, 2002
The GP Contract Ballot will be early in 2003 after another series of roadshows followed, no doubt, by another negotiators wondering why the DoH takes it all so seriously. Chisholm said that the resource allocation formula was being developed by York University and we all know who that means will have his finger in the. Dear old doctors' scourge, Prof Alan Maynard. Another own goal by Chis & Co.
Hutton has admitted, at last, that recruitment of the 2000 extra GPs has been slow. I should cocoa !! Does that mean he was lying when he previously said there was no crisis? Despite that, the £10k "golden hello" has been extended to all who return to the NHS - if they are fool enough to do so.
The BMA has suggested that Afghan refugee doctors should return home to rebuild their country. Seems reasonable now there's no danger to them. The Afghan doctors agree but say the psychological impact of being away so long means they will need to have the right to come back here.
50% of GPs say the consultation time they have is too short.
An item revealingly suggests that there is a deep seated lack of trust between managers and consultants. Never! Hawker says it must be overcome. Not that his "contract" will help matters.
Managers say they will not repeat recent fixes of the hospital waiting lists. So they did it deliberately? Why not go one step further and have completely transparent lists so that we all know that Milburn has cocked it all up. It's only the fear of him and for their jobs that causes managers issue fraudulent figures anyway.
GPs must be compensated for time spent in appraisals. GPC demands.
No crisis in the NHS but 40 doctors have been imported from South Africa to carry out cataract operations. It's only a few years since Rotary International was sponsoring British surgeons to go to India and Pakistan to do just that. How things change.
Doctors have been told not to risk breaking ethical rules by passing on non-medical details to fertility clinics. Meantime, the number of sperm donors has collapsed since those created by sperm donation have been given the right to seek out their "parent". Another example of politically correct and damaging claptrap.
A large piece covers navel gazing by the BMA which feels it should be reformed. This has been devolved to the "Governance Committee" led by Dr Russell Walshaw who, many dispensing doctors will recall, once told them that a discount clawback of over 20% was reasonable, before having to eat his words. He also vigorously opposed your editor's fortunately successful campaign to democratise GMSC so that all GPs could vote and stand for election. In addition to that he supported the unprincipled DDA Ltd rebels who destroyed the original DDA. One must be concerned about the outcome of BMA reforms under such leadership.
The project leader for this reform is one M/s Julie Coulson aka Mrs Ian Bogle. M/s Coulson was/is managing editor of bmanews. The Bogles seem to be cornering the market in BMA matters.
Back to the consultants' contract, next. Somebody asked who was going to make the decision on the result of the vote. Rather than say "The voters" which would be too easy and democratic, bmanews simply gives a list of constituencies with no names attached. Perhaps Walshaw could look into this small matter, too. The piece is such a waste of space that it is surprising that any of the many editors allowed it room.
A couple of the Letter Page contributors try to tell the BMA that it is a union and why they have resigned from it. Bogle replies that he doesn't understand.
Back again, in Second Opinion, to the consultant contract. A recently retired - and therefore unaffected - consultant says those who fear managers are paranoid and that the proposed contract is OK.
The new Welsh LMC Chairman, Andrew Dearden warns non-principal colleagues to get on the supplementary lists or they will be prevented from working. They must apply to Gwent HA on 01495 765065. Another bit of useless bureaucracy which could damage the NHS by increasing the shortage of locums.
Reform of SHO
21 September, 2002
Voting papers for the Consultant Contract are being mailed and should be returned within four weeks. In between times the consultants' leader will send yet another information letter.
The police may soon be able to ask doctors to take blood from unconscious drivers or others said to be unable to give consent. BMA ethics will be issuing guidelines for doctors.
BMAS has been taken over by Wesleyan assurance. Dr Bogle - and four others - will monitor standards. Dr Bogle was a GP.
Trinity Pharmaceuticals has been found to have breached its industry's code of standards by claiming to be working with a PCG to reduce its drugs budget.
"Doctors' leaders" have agreed with ex-health Sec, Frank Dobson, that foundation hospitals could create a two-tier service. I would have thought that was the intention. If not, then Milburn has been particularly dim in setting it up.
Disabled access legislation will cost either GPs or the NHS millions of pounds to implement.. This politically correct cash could be better spent elsewhere within the NHS.
The new Mental Health Bill will not be forced through, said Health Minister Jacqui Smith.
There are 12.4% more female surgeons than a year ago. They now occupy 7% of all surgical posts in the NHS.
The mad schemes of appraisal and revalidation roll on. GMC says that appraisal will fail the crtieria for revalidation on three counts: working with colleagues, relationships with patients and health & probity. What a dull lot of doctors the country will have if GMC gets its way.
Chisholm will be sharing a platform with the illustrious Hutton with the intention of tempting more students into general practice. Personally I believe he should keep his mouth buttoned on that subject until it was a profession worth going into. It's not his job to help government.
At last somebody is waking up to something this site has vigorously pursued for the past 2 years or so. In a phrase, this government "creates new regulatory bodies more rapidly than many hens lay eggs". Incredibly that quote was from the self-appointed health expert Alan Maynard, so beloved of GPs and others, in a full page article where this 9-5er gives his personal opinion on consultants. The not very favourable conclusion he comes to differs very little from other conclusions which we have grown to expect from him after discussing other medical groups. Maynard suffers with the mind-set of believing doctors are mechanics and patients are cars. Oh, and that they have enormous amounts of time to fill out his footling quesionaires.
A new BMA Craft has been formed, the Staff and Associate Specialists Committee, (SASC). Full details from the BMA.
The RCGP reaches its 50th Anniversary this week. A brief history of the College is given.
In a bma view Peter hawker, consultant leader, defends managers.
Second Opinion comes from a couple of students who tell doctors to think before drink.
Four new medical school open for business this autumn. They are the East Anglia, the Hull, the Brighton & Sussex and the Peninsular medical schools. All are well described together with quotes from deans and others.
14 September, 2002
Whilst Peter hawker says there can be no more negotiation on the consultants' contract the Scots have been gong quietly ahead "clarifying" the issues. The BMA hopes this will help the English to say Yes.
An indignant surgeon has found that even though he retires five days after his GMC retention fee is due he must pay for the whole of the next year. GMC is unrepentant and virtually said "Tough" and that they had no plans to change their policy. Scots consultants' leader says they are out of touch.
A whilstleblower has been dismissed without pay for saying standards in his hospital had led to a patient death. He has won the right to appeal against this decision. The BMA is representing him. Well done, BMA. A wriggling Carmarthen NHS Trust said he was dismissed due to his poor professional relationship with staff.
Scots GP leaders have told colleagues to ignore demands to meet proposed access targets despite the Scots Executive demanding plans be drawn up. Quite rightly Scots GPC is digging its heels in. Another example of Milburn's loss of goodwill.
The draft mental health bill is being opposed - quite correctly - by all sides of the profession.
Involved universities are defending their dumbed down four medical courses which are being widely attacked for being potentially dangerous. To turn their defence on its head, there is no evidence that dumbed down courses will be safe.
Rural doctors have called the DoH out-of-hours schemes unbelievably stupid when applied to country practices.
"BMA says Section 28 must not be repealed". Well, as a Council member I say that and my opinion, since I do not recall Council discussing the matter, is just as valid as that of the Board of Science and Education chairman, Sir David Carter who wants the opposite but is billed as "The BMA wants...".
Scots GPs apparently welcome, what a common word, the rise in MMR rates in the country.
The politicians, despite not providing sufficient resources, are demanding that doctors act to reduce waiting lists in Northern Ireland.
In what seems to be a Scots issue of bma news, it is reported that Scots GPs are to be the first to have an appraisal system acceptable to GPs. Appraisers will be trained and the system will come into action next April - say doctors' leaders.
A full page item deals with training for surgeons in gunshot and knife injuries in the NHS.
A glitzy page deals with four consultants' circumstances relating to the new contract. Of course, all benefit from the changes. Dissident views will be read on DNUK.
Welsh opposition health spokesman, ex-GP Dai Lloyd is featured as being a terror to the government. He doesn't think much about all the advisory groups and targets.
Dr Ian Bogle tells us that he and his colleagues "wince every time our friends in the media describe us dismissively as "the doctors' trade union". That phrase, sums up all that is wrong in BMA House and why doctors have been so badly served over the past decades. He goes on to tell us that the BMA does other things and does them well. Mostly I agree but primarily, and I repeat, primarily the BMA is the doctors trade union and the only body recognised to look after doctors' interests. Bogle, Chisholm, Hawker and the rest should get down on their knees every night and recite: "I am a trade union leader. I am a trade union leader. I am a trade union leader. I am not above that. Doctors depend on me." At the moment they all sound so arrogant and superior and now we know why. If they don't like being trade union leaders then they should make way for people who do - and the sooner the better.
The spat between A&E and GP goes on in Second Opinion as an A&E registrar takes a GP to task for her earlier Second Opinion.
Head-2-Head deals with sperm donors and whether they have the right to anonymity. As both sides are put in the piece I just say that I am convinced that offspring created in this way have absolutely no right to go knocking on anybody's door twenty years later. There are few medical and genetic reasons and any other is purely self-gratification and prurient curiosity which pays no heed to the consequences to the donor's family.
The final two pages deal with an interesting item - surgery renovations and how they may be paid for. Using the LIFT scheme may well leave GPs out of pocket and there are other ways of funding. These are briefly mentioned at the end of the item. LIFT does seem to make GPs even more beholden to the NHS. In short it removes their freedom - as do so many parts of the new contract. However, some inner city doctors may well find LIFT to be the answer.
7 September, 2002
Possibly some movement on the consultants' contract. Dr Hawker, their leader, has been to the DoH with some of their concerns. He says they "are working towards clarifications which will allay those concerns". Nothing about renegotiation but lets wait until the votes are in.
A lead item discloses possible bungling at JCPTGP which has prevented at least two potential GPs from leaving hospital medicine for general practice. Naturally, the organisation has declined responsibility. Nevertheless, there are two fewer GPs.
GMC has declined to allow payment of the current £290 retention fee by instalments. Too costly to set up, they comment, in an inflexible mode.
Dogs may be used to sniff out prostate cancer from samples of urine. I kid you not, this is a serious item. Cambridge University "scientists" have been given £150,000 for the study.
Political correctness gone mad as all GPs are to be compelled to spend thousands on unnecessarily adapting their premises to comply with the 1995 Disability Discrimination Act. The BMA urges compliance but GPC is asking for full reimbursement - until they forget the issue.
Website for locums has been set up: www.locum123.com - not by the BMA.
GP "leaders" have rejected calls to fine non-attenders. There's a lot of nonsense going around about howm much these discourteous folk cost the NHS. In reality they cost nothing. Most GPs would be delighted if there were 90% non-attenders at each surgery. bmanews does not say that, though.
Psychiatric burden for GPs is increased as 1 in 10 beds have been closed over a 5 year period. All on the sly and not a word about increased resources or even a thank you to GPs for picking up yet another unwanted and onerous burden. Talk about being taken for granted!
Northern Ireland GPC chairman says PCOs are little more than bureaucratic quangos.
Risk management is not what it should be in most surgeries, says MDU. 42% risk breaking confidentiality because of poor design (that may have suited patients for 25 years)
Safer Welsh GPs as the Welsh Assembly urges the provision of safe places to see violent patients.
Overseas doctors come to the rescue and, at the same time, emphasise the utter incompetence of a Secretary of State who has almost single-handedly caused the increase in retirement rate and decreased recruitment rate by making general practice such an unpleasant working environment. A full page article does not give it this slant, however. The item ends with Dr Bogle's comment that the BMA would not want to stand in the way of this but that capacity should be built up in the NHS.
24-hour availability is discussed in a major item by John Garner, Scot GPC Chairman but I'm not sure whether he advocates it or doesn't. He just thinks it will come and GPs can't stop it. Oh, and why not?
Political correctness again rears its ugly head in a 3-page spread on the positive discrimination of students by some medical schools. The author, Lisa Prtichard, a bmanews staffer, thinks there are too many white, middle class female medical students and too few Afro-Caribbean males from Brixton housing estates. The answer, she reports at great length, is to discriminate AGAINST the female, white middle class and for the others. This, of course, is utter nonsense. Inexplicably, medical students are calling for more psychometric testing of potential students. This may lead to a considerable number of humane but dangerous doctors. The humane killers of the future, perhaps. Psychometric testing for politicians would be a better idea.