It's fair to say this blog has become a bit more of an occasional blog of late. This is unintended, and has a lot to do with me spending rather more time in the company of burly blokes in stab proof vests that I would ideally prefer. Still "you can't always get what you want" as the wise man once said. However it seems this chapter might be about to come to an end since the patient who warrants such tender ministrations is pondering a move to pastures new.
Actually, if I'm honest, there's not been that much to report on the surgery front lately either, other than our continued need for the intercessors with the stab proof vests being present a little more often than they would like too.
But hey, enough about my problems. How have you all been? What's new in your lives since last I rambled on at length about nothing in particular?
Oh, really, that's cool / so not cool/ great/ terrible/ interesting/ actually rather dull... (delete as inapplicable).*
So anyway, enough about you. I shall now resort to that old standby for days like this. Yes, you guessed it, a bit of waffle about the Today programme and the drive in to work.
Listening to the Today programme this past couple of days has been rather depressing. The picture they paint is of a health service that is irreparably broken. The sad thing is they might just be right.
In the last week we have had stories about the utter shambles that is the latest NHS jobs round for Junior Doctors. At the risk of committing Reductio ad absurdem, in brief, all junior Docs have a common training path for the first couple of years of their working lives. Having come out of med school primed with knowledge they get to serve a working apprenticeship learning properly how to BE a doctor. During this two years they are expected to form a clearer impression of the career they are looking for in medicine and then to start to apply for "proper" jobs that will fit them for their chosen speciality (or generality for us "square peg" types). Thus has it ever been since Hippocrates was accepting payment from his eager students for the passing on of his hard won knowledge and wisdom. Until this year.
Over the past few years a bunch of well intentioned boffins have been trying to sort out the yearly scramble for these "proper" training jobs. In doing so, somewhere along the way poor dear baby got flung out with the bath water. Now applicants cannot submit the time honoured (often slightly embellished to be sure) Curriculum Vitae to individual potential employers. instead they have all had to fill out, online, an application form so generic it has been impossible to tell either what their current training and aptitudes would best suit them for, or, indeed, even if they have any of the relevant qualifications necessary to pursue a career in any branch of Medicine at all. The system takes little or no account of their current situation personally, professionally or domestically. In endeavouring to be "fair" to all potential applicants, it appears the system has been evolved to be thoroughly unfair and arbitrary to all instead.
Things are so bad the West Midlands Surgeons have withdrawn from the whole shoddy business and are calling on other specialities and regions to do the same. Finally at the eleventh hour (or even at about five past twelve in the view of the tens of thousands of potentially affected juniors), the powers that be have agreed to look again at this unholy mess. Anyone with any interest at all in quality health care should watch this space. (Just don't hold your breath would be my advice).
Next we have had parallel stories of neglect and inappropriate management of wounded service personnel and the disabled when in hospital. Both stories go to underline the lack of training and even in many cases simple common sense, compassion and fellow feeling, prevalent on our wards these days. We have a culture of Graduate Nurses who often see themselves as "too posh to wash" left in charge of wards of needy and dependent patients, with scandalously inadequate staffing levels and no proper understanding of what "caring for patients" actually means. They can turn in an immaculately presented set of charts, and word perfect management plans, but as for actually feeding, cleaning or attending to their charges, well that hasn't been a priority on our wards for over a decade. Small wonder that there is a reported case of a handicapped patient literally starving to death during a three week hospital admission. Still we can all sleep easy tonight for Mrs Hewitt our esteemed Health Secretary is at last on the case.
OK, enough doom and gloom. This past two days Ambridge has been resplendent in sunshine for the morning drive to work. Yesterday in particular the drive was a splendid motoring experience. Every set of traffic lights was on green as I reached it, all the expected queues at roundabouts and junctions had been transported to some parallel dimension, in short I had an un-interrupted run in for the first time ever. Today's run started out less well with some pillock trying to jam a lorry under a bridge at Borchester railway station, but there after it was almost as pleasant, and better still the morning sun was good and low allowing me to don my ultra cool shades and become, for a blissful thirty minutes at least, the Road Warrior. Lakey Hill was bathed in a post apocalyptic, actinic glare of almost tangible global warmth as the Road Warrior gunned his mighty turbo diesel to one last heroic effort, careening down narrow ravines and across crumbling bridges on some primal errand of mercy or vengeance. Then it was nine o'clock and time to start surgery. Off with the leathers and shades and on with the motley....
* witness the effortless repartee that keeps me at the top of my game as a jobbing GP and Mountebank.