How intresting

But, as I said, $12,000 is a bargain. The average cost of a round of IVF in the US is over $23,000. Most people have at least three rounds before they are successful (some, of course, are sadly never successful). Many people have to pay that cost themselves, because their insurance covers nothing. I feel lucky, in a way, that I knew that I would need to pursue IVF several years before I was ready to think about starting a family, because I was able to prioritize finding a job with insurance that would support it.

So, that lady’s health care insurance – wider than the normal – should be counted as part of her compensation for turning up to work, no? At which point, what gender pay gap?

Further, it’s an interesting twist on asymmetric information, isn’t it?

The puzzle that is Frances Ryan

It may well be that things should be better than this. Possibly even that we should all be paying more tax to make it so. And yet, as ever, there’s something missing in Frances Ryan’s understanding of the world:

These days, Ruth sleeps on plastic sheets. A spinal cord injury means she is doubly incontinent. One of her lower legs has been amputated, she has osteoporosis, and she leans on two crutches to walk. Social care used to be the saving grace of each difficult week. Two hours each weekday were set aside to help her wash and do the laundry after an accident, or to help her go to visit friends. But for the four years after 2012, Ruth’s care time was repeatedly cut, year on year, all the way down to just one two-hour slot a week.

In 2016, she fell in her kitchen. The crash to the floor was so severe that she broke her back. That led the council to agree to a carer coming over every day – but only for a “15-minute pop-in” slot in the morning and at night. “It means they have enough time to make a cup of coffee, or do some washing up. But that’s it,” Ruth says.

Without a care assistant to help with her incontinence, Ruth has no way to clean herself or change her bedding. “I try my best with wet wipes,” she explains. She doesn’t use sheets and a duvet any more because if she was wet at night, she would have to stay in soaked linen for days. Instead, Ruth sleeps on incontinence sheets and pulls a blanket over herself for a bit of comfort.

Tell your average Bubba out there on the production line that incontinent sleeps on incontinent sheets and the reaction will be?

Well, quite.

This is presented as being a scandal crying to the very heavens for rectification. Everyone else will agree that it’s all very sad but and? Isn’t that what incontinence sheets are for? Even adult nappies? So that incontinents can sleep in/on them?

All as we thought really, isn’t it?

Cancer patients who choose complementary medicine over treatments like chemotherapy, or surgery, are twice as likely to die within seven years, the first major study has shown.

Any specific cancer in any specific person – who the hell knows? Immune systems can do some pretty impressive things.

In general though, using that sciencey stuff, alternative medicine doesn’t work. Because, you know, if it id it wouldn’t be alternative or complementary, would it?

Just what has government managed to get right?

Drinking full-fat milk could lead to a longer life by protecting against strokes, scientists have suggested.

While conventional diet advice has for decades dictated that skimmed and semi-skimmed milk is much healthier for us than full-fat milk, a study suggests that the opposite may be true.

There’s that Hayek bit, that government health care will mean government becoming more than a little fascist in how it tries to manipulate our health. But just feel the incompetence with which they do so…….I’m not entirely sure that any of their dietary advice has been right. Well, OK, don’t eat the m#lump or arsenic maybe, but other than that?


I am not – note, not – stating that this contention is true. It is however a point that I insist we want to explore:

If BCG Cures Diabetes Then Does No BCG Cause Diabetes?

We have, as we know, an epidemic of diabetes these days. Swathes of the population are blowing up like balloons, limbs falling off gangrenous and eyeballs failing as the modern diet and obesity kill us all. Thus sugar taxes, no advertising of junk food and, in one recent argument, no free trade with the Americans.

Hmm, well, that is interesting. Because there’s a recent finding that the BCG vaccine, the one against tuberculosis, is a reasonable enough cure for Type 1 diabetes, and might well be useful against Type 2 as well. Which does lead to a very interesting speculation. We stopped giving the BCG routinely in 2005. The rise in diabetes is recent. Are these two connected?

Sorry, just don’t believe it

NHS is “picking up the pieces” of an epidemic of mental illness among children, fuelled by social media, the head of the service has warned.

Simon Stevens urged companies like Google and Facebook to take more responsibility for the pressures they place on children.

It follows calls for social media and online gaming firms to have a statutory “duty of care” to protect children from mental ill health, abuse and addictive behaviour.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation conference in Manchester, Mr Stevens said Britain’s children were hit by a “double epidemic” of mental illness and obesity.

We know the obesity line is crap. Child obesity is defined in relative terms, to the weights of the cohort. And I strongly suspect that the mental health part is scrotes too. Expansions of the definition of illness, no more.

Our problem with those who would plan life being that they believe so many untrue things about reality.

Why not just allow smoking in pubs?

Providing line dancing classes for the lonely and elderly can cut unnecessary admissions to A&E by a fifth, officials have said.

The Local Government Association is also calling on councils to lay on pub sessions, choirs and communal lunches in a bid to keep people out of hospital.

It is part of a drive to crack down on loneliness, which deteriorates health and ends up costing the NHS millions.

The LGA said the health service can save £6 for every £1 spent on schemes that maintain people’s social lives.

Smoking reduces the cost to the NHS. Plus, if we want to be able to have pub sessions then we need to still have pubs. Instead of closing them down by preventing people from doing as they like to do in pubs – have a tab.

My word, this really does surprise me

Mental health has a hell of a lot to teach the acute sector,” says Bev Humphrey, the outgoing chief executive of the Greater Manchester mental health NHS foundation trust. “It needs to sit up and listen.”

Humphrey believes that truly integrated mental health teams – involving psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health nurses, social workers, speech therapists, occupational therapists and dietitians – that provide services around the clock are the way forward across the NHS. “We have crisis intervention teams working 24/7, helping to reduce the pressure on inpatient beds. If you had that for older people, you would have fewer emergency admissions to hospital.”

Three in four Britons felt overwhelmed by stress, survey reveals
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Although Humphrey wants more integration on the frontline, she does not think that health and social care organisations should merge. “What makes me incredibly nervous is any talk about integrating commissioning and funding of services,” she says. “If the funding is shared between clinical commissioning groups and local authorities – when I see that those same local authorities have had to decimate their adult and children’s social care services due to cuts – why would I want to merge? It would be like getting into bed with a bankrupt brother.

Outgoing NHS chief executive thinks there should be much more planning and strategy, the sort of thing NHS chief executives do, but not fewer organisations because that would mean fewer NHS chief executives.

It is a shocking set of views, isn’t it, from such a source?

Something more than slightly dodgy about this

A second amateur rugby player has died after being admitted to hospital with breathing difficulties during a tour of Sri Lanka, a Durham rugby club has confirmed.

Thomas Howard and Tom Baty, both 26, fell ill on Sunday morning having been to a nightclub until the early hours.

Both were taken to hospital, but Mr Howard died on Sunday and after being treated by medics for two days, Mr Baty has now passed away.

One fit young man falling over dead happens sometimes. Two? Together?

Sorry, don’t believe it

Researchers have called for an urgent investigation to find an explanation for more than 20,000 ‘additional deaths’ so far this year, amid severe pressure on the NHS.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that in the first sixteen weeks of the year, there were 20,215 more deaths in England and Wales compared to the previous five years.

Not that I particularly know anything about this subject but, don’t believe it.

The editorial was authored by Professor Danny Dorling of the University of Oxford

Whenever Dorling has pronounced upon something I do know about it’s been bullshit.

So, no, I don’t believe it.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We keep all research in this area under review, but the ‘age standardised mortality rate’ – which had been broadly stable in recent years – is considered a much more reliable measure, as this type of research doesn’t take into account fluctuations in population numbers and the ageing population.”

My best guess is he’s looking at the wrong numbers so that he can shout “Austerity!”

Nice arithmetic here

Chair of the BMA’s General Practitioners’ Committee between 2007 and 2013, Dr Buckman said it is common for GPs to see approximately 36 patients each day, not including walk-in “emergencies” and those seen in out-visits.

This can amount to around 12 hours of face-to-face time with patients and another two hours’ paperwork.

The BMJ article argues the standard 10-minute consultation is too short to examine adequately and treat many patients and that the increased pressure is “now dangerous for doctors and patients”.

If it’s 6 patients an hour then how can it take 12 hours to see 36?

Charles McKay was right

Sure, he concentrated upon financial markets but delusions and madness of crowds aren’t limited to those:

Measles cases rose by 300 per cent in Europe last year as parents across the Continent shunned vaccines.

More than 20,000 people were infected as the disease rebounded from a record low to cause 35 deaths, according to World Health Organisation figures that reveal the damaging after-effects of the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine scare.

Young people in Britain who are part of the unprotected “Wakefield cohort” — named after the disgraced former doctor Andrew Wakefield, who raised fears that the triple vaccine caused autism — have been urged to get vaccinated before trips to countries such as Italy.


Not much longer and he’ll die

A gangster has gone three weeks without a bowel movement in an alleged attempt to stop police finding drugs he swallowed.

Not from exploding though.

As a recent case explained- assuming he’s still eating that is – it will all end up coming back up the neck. For the poor unfortunate who was supposedly in “care” this meant aspirating it and dying.

Yes, it is actually possible to drown in your own shit.

How about having a better NHS instead?

Victims of NHS blunders should receive smaller compensation payouts or the “staggering” costs of Britain’s negligence bills will bankrupt the health service, the Justice Secretary has been told.

Health service leaders have written to the Government, calling for cuts to payments for patients who suffer devastating injuries as a result of medical errors.

As has been discussed many times over the years, perhaps the first thing is to make the error reporting system more like that in aviation. Where the why and who is thoroughly worked out so as to become a warning to others.

More specifically, perhaps a change or two in midwife training. You know, less of the all natural stuff and woo hoo! to modern technology?

But why would a doctor know how to run the NHS?

Here are six ways to save the NHS, Mr Hunt. Trust me I’m a doctor

They’re big on management training, finance, MBAs, in medical school these days are they?

We know you love a jumble sale, but try not to flog off too much more of the NHS to the nearest snake-tongued bidder with fistfuls of notes. Private entities should not be taking public cash to provide public services. Every penny that becomes profit for shareholders is a penny that should have been spent on the NHS.

Ah, no, obviously not.

Just to make sure for dimmer readers, the correct comparison is between the greater efficiency of a private, profit making, organisation, and the amount that it skims off in that profit. It’s possible that a private company isn’t more efficient than a bureaucracy – this really does actually happen. There are also times – and this too really does happen – when the private company is more efficient. And more efficient by more than that profit margin.

The trick is to know when which case applies, not a flat insistence that profits are money not being spent upon the delivery of goods or services. That last would be just to betray one’s entire and total ignorance of finance, management or even reality.

Well, this is the problem with the NHS, innit?

She didn’t want the room’s pity. She didn’t even want the room’s respect, though it certainly makes a nice change to get it when you’ve spent most of your professional life as a politician. What she wanted was more help for other people with cancer: more shared knowledge, faster diagnosis, wider access to experimental treatments, better survival rates (we currently have the worst in western Europe) and for us all to be part of a “human-sized picture”, where the “community of love” created by patients was mirrored in the NHS.

Cancer treatment depends upon speed. Upon speed of diagnosis, of starting treatment, of changing it when some other approach would do better etc.

What’s the one thing a Stalinist bureaucracy isn’t good at? Speed.


Err, yes, yes

Three times as many people are dying of flu this winter in the UK compared with last year, with the death toll since October now at 155, figures show.

Doesn’t seem to be much more flu around. Vaccinations are up marginally I think.

Seems that the national, state run, monopoly went and bought the wrong strain of the vaccine. Hey, it happens. But….