Sunday, December 17, 2006

"I came through time for you, Sarah..."

The Terminator, of course. But what a brilliant line, eh?

Right, I've got a fair amount to get off my chest, so this may be in several parts. First off, I'm come over all viral - hot, cold, shivery, cough, sore throat, stiff neck... that's right. I've got man flu. So I'm a bit grumpier than usual.

Next - the allegedly drunken bishop. Last week, it was reported that the Bishop of Southwark had been mugged while coming home from a party at the Irish Embassy. Shortly afterwards, a man came forward claiming that, in fact, the Bish had been stone drunk. This fella alleged that he had found the Bishop rooting around in his van. Being unaware who it was that was rooting, he extracted the chap from the van, during which the bishop bumped his head. An Ambulance was subsequently called, but the Bish, allegedly, ran off.

Over the next few days, when our witness discovered who the interloper had been (from news reports, and personal effects left in the van), the first ting he did was to call The Sun newspaper.


Initially, I thought this whole thing was pretty funny. I'm not so convinced now. This is a tawdry tale to be flashed over the front pages of the popular press; granted, we should probably expect more from our clergy, but binge drinking seems almost de rigeur these days... so should we really be surprised that it permeates all levels of society.

But I think what has really left me with a sour taste in my mouth, is that the alleged witness to the affair thought first of calling the press to make a quick buck from someone else's misfortune. I'm sure he could just as easily have quietly returned the stuff. What price dignity..?

Next - a recurrent rant, reverberating around many medical fora, and heard throughout the British blogosphere... how fucked up is the Health Service? I share the feelings of far more eloquent colleagues, Drs Crippen and Rant (among others).

The Health Service is being run into the ground. There isn't enough money - free health care is bloody expensive. What money there is is being spent on managers and chasing targets.

Once again, the Government insist on fucking around with training. The opportunity to spend time trying the feel of various specialities, before committing yourself, would appear to be long gone. So, too, the idea that medicine would be a job for life. I remember talking this over with Pa Shroom when I was 17 or so. He was keen to dissuade me from doing medicine for the sake of it. Hard work, he said, but rewarding. Pa Shroom thinks there's nothing better than treating patients. A job for life, he said. (Unless of course, you're shit)
A job for life.

Now there are people finishing medical school with no house jobs to go to.

Now there are basic trainees who can't find a higher training job to complete their education.

Now there are higher trainees who face the prospect of no job waiting when they finish. (Shroom counts himself among this number)

As far as I can see, ever since Nye Bevan agreed to choke the throats of doctors with gold, there has been a steady attempt to reduce their power and influence. Technically, we are no longer professionals, as we no longer exclusively govern ourselves. (Although this may not be such a bad thing...)

Although, generally speaking, the public still hold Doctors trustworthy, the Government seems to be in competition with their predecessors in showing us as little respect as possible.

What few perks there were to this job, are fading fast. Even now, my training budget, which is not a perk, but, I thought, a contractual obligation on the part of the Deanery, has been pulled from under me.

So; I am now expected to fund my own training, in the hope of being qualified for a non-existent job. It is surely no wonder that the medical profession does so well in the depression / substance abuse league tables.

And what are we doing about it? As far as I can see, fuck all. I will freely admit that I am a simple man; so maybe it just seems like we're doing fuck all. But the body politic of the junior doctor, should be among the most powerful in the country.

If we stopped signing death certificates, the country would grind to a halt inside three days. Then that bitch Patsy Fuckwit would have to listen to our concerns...

I am worried that we idle our time away, while all around us, Rome burns.

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