Tag Archives: politics

The most fundamental issue raised by the Francis Report on Mid-Staffordshire Hospital is not about institutions or even culture but about voice and power: who is heard, who is silenced and who, tragically, dies from deafness.   Lack of voice was also at the centre of earlier scandals at Alder Hey, the Bristol Royal Infirmary and Winterbourne View Hospital. It will arise again from the many of the inquiries into other scandals emerging from whistle blowers and patients. Democracy is the missing dimension in the health debate. When the founder of the NHS Aneurin Bevan said “The sound of a bedpan […]
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The excellent Clare Gerada, Chair of the Royal College of GPs is calling for a brave and honest debate about rationing medicine.  According to GP magasine two thirds of GPs think that the NHS should stop providing free prescriptions for drugs that are available over the counter.  Generally stuff like Calpol which you can buy without a prescription is cheap, less than the £7.65 prescription charge we have to pay in England.  So it seems unlikely that requests for this stuff are coming from the people who have to pay charges.  Only a small minority of prescriptions attract a charge  – and […]
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The Coalition agreement promised no top down reorganisation of the NHS and the White Paper had lots of nice sounding stuff about patients at the centre, doctors in charge and less bureaucracy.  After lots of consultation making everyone feel important, the Bill was published and signed off by the LibDem leadership.  “Labour attacks Tories on NHS changes” was not a story of any interest. In the Commons the Bill sailed through on coalition votes without any LibDem disquiet and no great outcry from anyone in the professions – just Labour and the Trade Unions in opposition – so again no […]
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In retrospect it is clear that those who fought Nye Bevan’s plans for setting up the National Health Service were right in at least one important respect. The setting up in 1948 marked a revolution in the relation between the state and the medical profession. But it was not quite the revolution that the critics had anticipated and prophesied. It did not mean the triumph of bureaucracy over professionalism or the subordination of doctoring to ministerial diktat. Instead, it created a situation of mutual dependency. On the one hand the state became a monopoly employer: effectively members of the medical […]
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