Couldn’t you have waited until Friday…

Back when the Identity Cards Bill was the hottest topic around, probably the hardest task facing its opponents was the decision as to which of the two junior Minister’s fronting the debates was the biggest tosser – Tony McNulty or Andy Burnham.

Recent, its been McNulty sweeping the field with his usual Manuel defence of ‘I know nothing’ whenever something fucks up at the Home Office but now Andy Burnham’s back for wilderness of the Department of Health, and he’s back with a vengeance

Labour’s Health Minister, Andy Burnham MP, responding to the Conservatives irresponsible plans to scrap all targets in the NHS said:

“Labour’s targets in the NHS have had an important effect on improving patient care. They have their limitations, but galvanising action around one key area can achieve real change in the service. The work on MRSA and C difficile is a clear example of how targets can improve the health of patients.

“There is clear evidence to show that cases of MRSA fell once Labour introduced the target and the MRSA rate has fallen ever since. Are the Tories just happy to sit idly by not directing the service as to the important action that should be taken to tackle this disease.

“But this isn’t good enough. Although MRSA infections rates are coming down, faster progress is needed to meet our target and it remains a priority of this government to halve MRSA infections in hospitals by 2008.

“David Cameron and Andrew Lansley should be up front about what their policies would really mean – an increases in hospital acquired infections.

“The public has a right to know – would the Tories scrap the MRSA targets and risk patient care?”

You fucking what??? Fuck me, has Dr Crippen seen this yet? Dare I risk his blood pressure?

What a fucking message, eh? Let’s cut the bullsit and waffle and translate this into English…

VOTE TORY AND YOU’LL DIE…

HORRIBLY…

OF ONE OF THOSE FLESH-EATING SUPERBUGS…

YES, THEY ARE FUCKING PAINFUL…

AND VERY, VERY NASTY…

WE EVEN SOMETIMES HAVE TO USE MAGGOTS TO CLEAN OUT THE ROTTING FLESH…

YOU KNOW THE GORY CLOSE-UP BITS IN CSI..?

IT’S WORSE THAN THAT…

MUCH WORSE…

BAD ENOUGH TO MAKE WES CRAVEN PUKE HIS GUTS UP…

SO YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO BE CATCHING THIS SHIT DO YOU..?

NO, OF COURSE YOU DON’T…

SO YOU WON’T BE VOTING TORY THEN, WILL YOU..?

I’M GLAD WE HAD THIS LITTLE CHAT…

AREN’T YOU?

I’ve got no particular problem with taking a bash at the Tories, but my distinct preference is that if you’re going to have a crack at least make it a credible one… and this just ain’t it.

Look, I’m not a doctor, but even I can see that controlling MRSA is not a matter of setting targets or putting perfomance incentives in place for hospitals that don’t manage to infect people with shitty new illnesses they didn’t have to begin with, and as nasty as MRSA, the actual steps necessary to sort it out are relatively straightforward and easily implemented (apart from one that does need a bit of extra political oomph) without targets.

So here’s my two-step plan for control MRSA.

1. GPs should stop prescribing antibiotics where they’re not needed – antibiotics are proper drugs not placebos for kids with neurotic, over-protective parents. (and I do know that many GPs are very good on this – but there are still some who let the side down).

This is simple – fighting off minor infections on your own, especially when you’re a kid, is good for your immune system. My son, 14, has had, at most, one course of antibiotics in his whole life and averages one minor bout of the common cold a year, if that.

[Update – Having rightly been picked up on this by a GP, I should clarify that what I mean by point 1 is NOT that GPs are part of the problem or reponsible for MRSA, but rather that GPs can be a big part of the solution by encouraging a much more sensible attitude to the use of antibiotics, generally, one that does enable people to get the most from their natural defences against infection and disease

Sorry, it that was less than clear or appeared to be taking a shot at GPs – that’s not how it was intended – Unity]
2. CLEAN THE FUCKING HOSPITALS PROPERLY.

I don’t give a fuck how you do it, whether you do it with contracts, tenders, outsourcing or bring it all back in-house (come to think of it, that last one sounds good), but just fucking well do it!

There, that wasn’t difficult was it – that’ll be £3,000 plus expenses, please, Patsy…

BTW – I wasn’t kidding about Dr Crippen – he’ll go fucking ballistic when he sees this…
Oh, and for future reference, Andy, Friday is dumbass fucking press release that needs to be buried day – I thought you might remember that from your time at the Home Office.

11 thoughts on “Couldn’t you have waited until Friday…

  1. A two stage plan to implement the strategic vision of reducing hospital acquired infection across the NHS. An holistic approach that distributes ownership of the issue beyond hospitals and into primary care; engaging front line staff, customers and the wider community in the broader aspiration of devolving responsibility for health and well-being to all stakeholders. An exemplar of joined up thinking not only within Whitehall, but across the spectrum of health care providers, as individuals and organisations.

  2. Hi,

    Good Blog. However I have to pick you up on the suggestion that prescribing of antibiotics in General Practice has something to do with MRSA in secondary care.

    IT HAS FUCK ALL TO DO WITH IT!

    This is the rubbish and propaganda put out by the BBC, Guardian, Independent etc. (i.e. New Labour).

    Have you noticed that GP’s are supposedly responsible for all the ills (sic) in the NHS?

    MRSA in secondary care is as a result of poor hygiene and the inappropriate use of antibiotics in secondary care – full stop. Antibiotics are used, especially on the surgical side, to try and combat the poor hygiene practices caused by units having too big a throughput to satisfy Blair’s targets.

    It’s a bit simplistic but you get the gist.

    LEAVE GP’S OUT OF IT.

    An increasingly paranoid and disillusioned GP.

  3. Matt:

    Trust me, I’m on your side here, I merely make the observation that the ‘prescription culture’ surrounding antibiotics often starts early (and with parental paranoia) and that some of you guys need to be a bit more forthright in saying ‘no’.

    That said, as with the whole campaign to make greater use of pharmacists for minor ailments that don’t require the intervention of a GP, it’s not down to individual GP’s to tackle this alone but needs a broader public education approach and GPs need to be given better backup in dealing with some of the unrealistic expectations that patients put on you.

    GP says no. Patient whinges. System backs GP and tells patient to stop whinging and expecting to be molly-coddled when there’s nothing wrong.

    I don’t doubt what you say about overuse of antibiotics in secondary care but I would argue that prevention (always better than a cure) can start earlier by letting kids build up a solid immune system while at an early age – not a solution, but it should tip the odds sufficiently to show a benefit… and that’s something where GPs can have a beneficial influence, making it a win-win.

    My take on this is that GPs aren’t part of the problem here, but they are part of the solution, even if I may not have expressed that very well.

    I know you’ve got a Royal College and the BMA but you guys do need to get together a little more and respond to some og the crap flying your way in a rather more ‘unionised’ manner

  4. Hi Unity,

    I fully agree with you about the use/abuse of antibiotics in primary care. Patients have unrealistic expectations about our (GPs) ability to deal with minor self-limiting illness and antibiotics are seen as a panacea. All I need to do is here those words “Well I’ve had this cold…..” and my heart sinks. I know what the expectation is. And yes, I and my colleagues often do give in too easily to the demand and there reinforce the behaviour.

    However, this has nothing to do with MRSA. The blame for that lies squarely with successive governments but especially with this mendacious dishonest and lying lot.

    Unfortunatly, getting doctors to agree to anything, especially to some form of industrial action or “work to rule” is very difficult. However, Patsy and her minions are doing an excellent job in riling us and maybe, just maybe that will galvanize us.

  5. I have been to my GP (well actually various GPs across my area due to moving house a lot) for various ailments, some of which I did in fact start by saying “Well, I’ve had this cold…”. In every case, I did not want, nor ask for antibiotics. In virtually every case I was prescribed antibiotics, when all I wanted was advice, and a check to see if it was more serious (btw, I’m not a hypercondriac (sp), this is over a number of years, and incudes infections on wounds).

    I have given up asking them NOT to prescibe antibiotics. I just nod, take the script, and bin it on the way out. It gets better by itself. I still go, I just watch the doc’s reaction, and have to judge for myself how bad (or not) it is.

    I have had this same treatment from about 8 separate GPs, all of whom have lots of posters in their surgery about not overprescribing antibiotics.

    And btw, I’m not doc-bashing. Its just all those GPs who say they don’t overprescribe antibiotics, in my experience, seem to be overwhelmingly in the minority.

  6. In the Daily Mail today “out-of-date GP’s were failing to tell patients about new treatments that leave wombs intact”

    WHAT THE FUCK are Gynacologists for?

    The Iraqi war will be our fault next!

    An increasingly pissed off and disillusioned GP.

Leave a Reply to Bob Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.