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    Jo Marchent: (2016) , Edinburgh, Canongate Books The obvious thing about the NHS is that it is in a mess. Underfunding has driven it to crisis point. Part of the crisis is the way that the administrators have come up with thousands of ways of solving the problems on a shoestring. Reorganisations, restructurings and reconfigurations seem to flow in a continuous stream. Meanwhile we all still need to solve our health problems. In ordinary times, we apply a mix of common sense, medical science and mysticism. Common sense has guided us around thousands of decisions. It has also long told us […]
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    A working party looking into the inclusion of placebos in surgical trials has led to a recommendation for greater use of the controversial method by the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Although placebo control groups are used in drug trials across the world, placebo-controlled surgical trials are extremely rare, with only 75 such trials published up to October last year. Often labelled with the misleading term ‘sham surgery’, it has long been argued that because placebo surgery is more invasive than placebo drugs it is difficult to justify its use. However a new paper resulting from the working party, ‘When should placebo surgery as a control […]
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    If positive answers to the defeatism of the Liberal Critique can only be found beyond the present limits of professional­ism, we must look at what those limits are. Traditionally, the main task of doctors has been to respond to the complaints of individual patients suffering from disease, or fear of disease. The profession has always contained a minority, Public Health Medical Officers, Medical Officers of Health, Community Physicians, who are supposed to conserve health in populations rather than restore it in sick individuals; but they are at the periphery, and have not been encouraged or sometimes even allowed to combine […]
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