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….

Yes, this is largely true

Technological advances will trigger a 21st century medical revolution, that could see a series of long-awaited breakthroughs in the fight to develop a cure for some the world’s most devastating diseases including cancer and diabetes, a clutch of Silicon Valley and pharmaceutical bosses has predicted.

“Technology has the ability to cure cancer, unlock the mysteries of obesity, and reduce cardiovascular deaths,” Albert Bourla, Chief Operating Officer of Pfizer said.

Medicine, as in the ability to cure a specific disease or condition, is going to become remarkably cheap. For, essentially, we’re going to mechanise it. As with aspirin replacing the comely maiden bathing the fevered brow we’re going to automate.

Social care however is likely to become very much more expensive at the same time. As the number of people who don’t die of those things we cure rises. Going to be interesting seeing how the budgets work out there.

Watch the rickets rate soar

Sunshine is in short supply across a swathe of north-west Europe, shrouded in heavy cloud from a seemingly never-ending series of low pressure systems since late November and suffering one of its darkest winters since records began.

If you live in Brussels, 10 hours and 31 minutes was your lot for the entire month of December. The all but benighted inhabitants of Lille in France got just two hours, 42 minutes through the first half of January.

There is a good reason why Northern Europeans tend to have paler skin. Possibly even reasons and this is one of them. We need sunlight to produce Vitamin D. Less sunshine means we need to make better use of what we get – paler skins in climes with less sunshine.

We’ve had a recent influx of those with darker skins – plus, among some of those at least, an inclination for one of the sexes not to show bare skin while outside.

No, this is not to then insist that darkies must stay where darkies thrive. Well, OK, anyone can say anything they like but no, not me. However, there are interesting implications of this.

For example, we have been told of a recent rise in the incidence of rickets in the UK. This is then attributed to austerity. That’s certainly possible. Not that we’ve had any austerity but still. The progressive impoverishment to the point of destitution of the populace could indeed produce an increase in the rate of rickets. But then so could an influx of people richer in melanin to our northern climes – especially if people aren’t changing their behaviour about body swathing to take account of this solar deficiency.

My point being well, that rise in rickets incidence. Is it due to poverty or migration? Rather an important question as no, we don’t want the kiddies to suffer rickets so we need to know the answer so that we can prevent that. If it’s poverty then perhaps we really do have to overthrow neoliberal globalisation in order to cure it. If it’s migration then perhaps all we need to do is tell people to take a 10 minute walk outside without a head covering on those rare occasions the Sun does shine?



The NHS:

She had asked the hospital transport to take the both of us to the hospital and when they arrived, they weren’t expecting the two of us. We negotiated with them and I helped her to the ambulance. After waiting around for the usual late running, we were told that we would be collected at half past five. At six, we enquired again only to be told we would have to wait until half past eight… Had we not chased, we would have not been told that. So we got a taxi and paid through the nose to get home.

The misery of the cancer is bad enough, but this indifferent incompetence just adds to the overall agony of the process. We have spent decades working and paying into the system. Now, when we need it, we find ourselves underwhelmed by the service we receive.

The NHS can’t do this

More than six in ten doctors want to introduce charges for some patients, including fees for overseas patients attending Accident and Emergency units, a survey shows.

Ministers recently introduced “upfront” hospital charges for patients receiving planned treatment, if they are not eligible for free care.

They’ve simply not got the systems. Not the ones to check and not the ones to accept payment.

No one has to carry ID in the UK. Your patient records, which might show your health care status, are with the GP. What are people to check? Which is before the fact that no one has a card machine.

Further, who the hell is going to demand payment before sewing up a jugular? Not even California does that…..