History is written by – bloggers or the GMC?
It’s the end of a tumultuous week on two fronts. Firstly, the Health and Social Care Act has come into force. Secondly, the GMC has issued ‘guidelines’ on the use of social media. These two events are not unconnected I think. This is not the beginning of the end for the NHS. I thought it was until I read Cockroach Catcher’s post on the situation. His point was quite simple but compelling. The NHS will not end, because private companies need their parasite. They need the NHS to sweep up mistakes, take patients they won’t and provide emergency care which their insurance won’t take a bet on. They are not in truth the true market, because the true market stands on its own feet. They are simply profiteers. That may not seem like much of a comfort, but it is, because it means that the NHS structure however hollowed out, will stay in place. People are always going to need emergency care. Emergency care means ambulances, blood banks, intensive care and the system that goes with that. Not to mention the training of doctors and nurses, which is another of those tiresome jobs that private firms just don’t want to know about. That means that a good part of the NHS will stay in place because it has to and that in turn means that at some point, we could reverse what has just happened. It is not going to be easy and will probably take years, but it can be done. The other aspect of the HSCB, is that it is not happening everywhere. It is not happening in Scotland, and that means politically that there is a point of comparison between the old NHS system and the new all-singing-all-dancing one in England. If things go wrong, it can be compared. If England runs short of doctors, then they can look and see if it’s happening in Scotland. If people are not getting treated for chronic conditions and they are in Scotland, then again there is an unfavourable conclusion that can be drawn on the new system. I am beginning to think that Scotland may have a key role to play in any efforts to reverse the situation in England, and I think we should do all that we can to help you on this. Which brings me to the second tumultous event this week; the GMC’s ‘guidelines’ on social media. Why does this link? Well, what happens next depends on what story is told. When things go wrong with the new system (and they just have as Dr Zorro has pointed out with NHS 111) then someone needs to tell people why it went wrong. As we move away from the traditional NHS, the private companies are going to have fewer opportunities to blame mistakes on the NHS. And as that evolves, there will be more of an effort to conceal the truth and suppress those who would tell it. That’s us folks, the bloggers, tweeters and facebookers. Our chance to reverse this situation depends on our ability to report what is happening. A paper trail or at least an electronic one needs to be laid on the new NHS and the mainstream media ain’t going to do it. The emasculation of the BBC on the HSCB’s progress through Parliament is a sad testimony to that and Witchdoctor has just written a chilling post on how a small group of interested parties managed to give us a regulated press. And that means we have to find a way round the GMC’s guidelines. I intend to keep blogging. I am not a doctor and the GMC has no hold over me. I hope those who are ‘old and bold’; those who have retired, will also do the same. NHS Blog Doctor, if you’re out there, now would be a good time to show yourself. And I am willing to offer a platform to any practising medic who has something to say on this blog. Some years ago I was in a country far from here. (I don’t want to say where, because it might affect people close to me). In this country, clothes and food were six times cheaper than they are here. But there was one item that was the same price as it is in Britain and that was books. That meant that for people in that country, that information was six times as expensive to obtain as it is here and out of reach for many. The rulers of that country well understood that information is power. So do our rulers. It’s time to defy them. As we say in Scotland – FREEDOM!! Courtesy of Julie McAnulty at Campaigning for Health Julie is the new chair of the Scottish Health Campaigns Network, which was key in opposing privatisation in health in Scotland (and still is).