Friday, January 05, 2007

Gimme Shelter

And the beat goes on...

I see that it's becoming almost de rigeur for a story to be published daily documenting to horrific slide into oblivion that the once mighty NHS is undertaking.

Was it ever really as mighty as we think? My recollection is always of a service over subscribed and abused; that the Tories can now paint themselves as the party of the Health service, after years of Thatcherite neglect, beggars belief.
Maybe we were once great, but we sure as hell aren't any more.

---How can anyone think such a massive organisation can be managed centrally?

---How can anyone still not realise that free health care costs a shitload?

---Why aren't we doing more to stop the Government ripping the guts out of our system?

Morale is in danger of bottoming out, and this administration seems intent on providing health care that is cheap. Which sounds good, until you stop to think that that is apparently their only criterion for success.

And cheap does not equal good.

It fills me with rage that there seems to be a pervading thought that the job that Doctors do can be broken up and provided piecemeal by various non clinical specialists. What's worse is that all we seem to do is complain (natch) about it.To top it all, I now understand that a significant number of us will be "surplus" by the time I'm looking for consultant posts.
This is ridiculous. How is it cost efficient if the Govt spends money on training me for ten or twelve years, and then I fuck off to another country because either there's no job, or it turns out I don't, in fact, like being treated like an halfwit?

I truly fear that the NHS has become so rotten to its very core, that there is no way back for it... at least not in a form that Pa Shroom would recognise.

--Rant interrupted--

As a follow up to my ranting about training, I've been thinking about trying to clarify my position. The divide seems to be between those who want a life, and those for whom work is life. Work to live vs Live to work .
I'm increasingly in the latter category. I'm not saying this makes me big or clever. In fact, I can't help but suspect the exact opposite. But it is true. Every major decision I've made since I was about 18 focused on my career.

Why can't these two tribes co-exist? There surely is a macho culture associated with how long you work, but if you don't buy into it, that's fine. There's always someone, somewhere trying to prove his balls are bigger than yours.

I don't think working long hours has made me a better doctor than you; but it has made me a good doctor, and I firmly believe the experience I gained working long sleepless shifts has given me confidence and knowledge I would otherwise lack.
Sadly most of it is surgical, and so not very applicable in the ED under the bootheel of the bitch Hewitt.

But I know it's not the only way. And I'm sure plenty of excellent Docs out there have enjoyed shorter hours and fuller lives.

Is there a way..? maybe not.

If you don't already own it, I commend Let It Bleed, by the Rolling Stones. Your life will be immeasurably poorer without it, in ways you can't even imagine.

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