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Author Archives: Shibley Rahman

For a moment – guess who said this, and when? “We will be studying the report carefully to identify learning points.  We are committed to taking any further action necessary in light of information revealed by this report.” Do we need another report? More lessons learned? It seemed like – not that long ago – we were discussing Southern Health or Winterbourne? This saying above was in fact reported to have been the responseof Charlie Massey, CEO of the General Medical Council (GMC), in response to the events at Gosport War Memorial Hospital. Dr Jane Barton, meanwhile, the doctor at […]
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The opening gambit for anyone criticising plans in health and social care was to mention at the first opportunity Stalinist Russia. That is of course a ‘cheap shot’. Would a rose by another name smell as sweet?  The Department of Health published in 2009 a dementia ‘strategy’ which set out important goals, and has published subsequently different documents under different names such as “The Prime Minister Dementia Challenge” or “The 2020 Implementation Plan”. It is perhaps time to face facts. Talk is cheap. It’s much easier to talk about ‘England is the best place to live with dementia’ than to […]
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Oh no. In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. And NHS reorganisations. The next election could be in 2022, unless the current Tory government falls under the sword of Brexit. So, with all of the current government’s efforts being taken up with exiting the European Union, it might seem intuitively odd at Jon Ashworth might want to think the unthinkable – another redisorganisation of the NHS. By 2022, some of the ‘integrated care organisations’ might be up-and-running. Or, possibly, by that stage, accountable care organisations might have been killed off in the law […]
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Whilst the meanings of hashtags can be immediately obviously, such as #EndPJParalysis, some meanings are possibly less obvious. Yesterday, my timeline was littered by pictures of socks celebrating the #socksfordocs campaign. My immediate reaction on Twitter was this. But thankfully somebody sent me a private message to explain the background to the campaign. The background to this particular campaign is pretty amazing, and my reaction was to post a tweet with this picture this morning on my Twitter @dr_shibley. The history is important for me. I have found campaigns about mental health pithy and largely from professionals who’ve had no […]
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As far as bandwagons go, ‘friendly communities’ take some beating. There is a palpable momentum behind big charities politically endorsed to promote a ‘friendly community’, with champions and award ceremonies. The official reason for ‘dementia friendly communities’ is actually unknown. As part of David Cameron’s “Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge”, the ‘dementia friends’ campaign suddenly emerged from the Alzheimer’s Society and Cabinet Office. A few million pounds were pumped into it, including slick PR and advertising campaigns. The new incoming Coalition government promoted it, just shortly after the 2009 English dementia strategy. The aim, we think, was to ‘raise awareness’ of […]
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Doctors advise that you shouldn’t stop suddenly certain drugs such as antidepressants for fear of severe discontinuation symptoms. Privatisation is a drug on which Government has been dependent in the UK for nearly 40 years, and we need to grit our teeth and come off  the drug. In an era long ago, far predating the trials and tribulations of Brexit, the Coalition government of 2010 wondering what to do decided that they would do a ‘shake up’ of the NHS. Everything was perfect. Andrew Lansley called on his friends in McKinsey’s to take another bite of the cherry following their […]
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What can it be like to lose the life of a loved one to an institution? Clinical care is currently running the risk of burying its head in the sand of less than adequate regulators, and being dehumanised in a swathe of bureaucracy. It struck me recently that the 6Cs of nursing, which arose from NHS England’s “Compassion in practice”, can be, to some extent, applied to patients as well as clinicians.   [graphic source] The 6Cs are: care, compassion, competence, communication, courage, and commitment. One of my issues is that, while the 6Cs are elegantly branded and themselves slickly […]
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Culture can be elusive, “because much of it is anchored in unspoken behaviors, mindsets, and social patterns.” My reaction when somebody makes a “pledge” is to wonder whether anything will in reality actually change? For example, the former Prime Minister David Cameron MP promised a ‘cure for dementia’ by 2025. That’s only another seven years to go. Actions speak louder than words? We now know that there’s also probably more to ‘dementia friendly communities’ than an enhanced customer experience for people with dementia or their care partners. If you say that “actions speak louder than words”, you mean that people’s […]
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I have often wondered, during all the discussion of whether one’s local hospital should be shut down, whether hospitals are safe places for patients to be in. Let me rephrase that. Are they safer places to be in, rather than your own home? I tend to think, surely, that clinicians can’t think hospitals are particularly safe places to be in, otherwise they wouldn’t be in such a rush to have them ‘flow’ in and out? But there are of course economic considerations, for example the cost of a hospital bed being more than the cost of a bed at the […]
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For all I know, the Social Democratic Party (“SDP”), which was founded on 26 March 1981, never actually formally died. The SDP was founded on 26 March 1981 by four senior Labour Party ‘moderates’, dubbed the ‘Gang of Four’. The four left the Labour Party as a result of the January 1981 Wembley conference which committed the party to unilateral nuclear disarmament and withdrawal from the European Economic Community. They also believed that Labour had become too left-wing, and had been infiltrated at constituency party level by Trotskyist factions whose views and behaviour they considered to be at odds with […]
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In one of many recent TV interviews, Alastair Campbell claimed that he didn’t know the current scene well enough to nominate the next Labour leader. The problem is that Alastair Campbell has been touring the TV studios like an arsonist, determined to pour petrol on the flames of an already badly out of control fire. The irony is that Campbell often argues on not confusing tactics with strategy. The putsch is high on tactics: e.g. “The staggered series of resignations, leaks, letters, and carefully calibrated statements, ensured that there was such a crescendo of chaos and condemnation that any other […]
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It is hard to know where to begin with this. There has never been an end-point to the criticism of ‘poor leadership’ from Corbyn in the same way that the Iraqi or Syrian conflicts have never been completely finalised, or there has never been a stop to free movement of people to the UK from EU or otherwise. The day lurched from farce to tragedy pretty quickly, with Andy Marr introducing Hilary Benn as  “Hilary Benn was only sacked overnight,… and he joins me now.” You could have understood why Tom Watson might have preferred to stay at Glastonbury Tor […]
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