Monday 1 August 2011


We go in to a vocational career, such as medicine, for many reasons.

Here are 10 reasons why we fair well in a job.

Sometimes I read articles that are unwelcome, I sigh, but I let it go and move on. This pernicious utterance is one such lamentable article. Would you give medication to/stick needles in a woman who's just walked off the street?

She writes that she said, "But this is an emergency." There seems to be little unmet clinical needs that are urgent/immediate that need attention. Oh I'm not unsympathetic, I'm also mindful that health is a state of physical, social and mental wellbeing. Getting to work and crack on with global journalism is important to her. What piques me is her contention that NHS resources should be deployed to assuage her inconvenience, rather than prioritising resources according to clinical need. If both can be done (and often they can) then you can generate a responsive, patient centred service that meets clinical needs well. But to strop 'cause a GP you're not registered with won't instantly attend to non-urgent care aggrieves me, it's perhaps a desired expectation but it simply not reasonable to demand this.

For her to then generalise this and contend in her headline, "The caring professions? They just don't seem to care at all," well that's just provocative and vexatious. She didn't get what she wanted and is having a strop, unwelcome though this is I shan't lose sleep over this since medical care wasn't poor, it simply was her organisation was and her expectations were unreasonable.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, on the other hand, has worried me more. I've been in a couple of conferences with him and each time he's spoken of innovation and quality and laudable evolution of NHS services, but the medical role in this has been scant. By scant, I mean absent. As the Medical Director for the NHS, this dismays me.

The GMC revalidation plans will have massive impact on medical workforce. CQUINS, QUIPP, CRES, SHA Clinical Pathways and Foundation Trusts all impact on us a lot already, the amount of data collection and form filling is vast. I was incredulous to find the computer entry on seeing a patient is now 3 hours in our Trust, it takes one hour to see a patient. We spend three times as long doing form filling as clinical care. That's all patient contact stuff, that's excluding meetings and policy generation and supporting activities. The NHS informatics systems are not supporting clinical care, they're dominating. Did nurses become nurses to spend an hour seeing a patient then a whole afternoon tippity tapping away at a computer? And they say it's my patients who are mad . . .

Then we've NICE guidance, DOH guidance, Royal College guidance, Trust strategies and policies and protocols and standard operating procedures, Monitor, CQC standards, NHS LA standards and we've to evidence we're compliant with such.

Now our local commissioning consortia wants data on what we do (not activity data, which we already give the PCT each month, but new data on what outcomes we achieve, too). The APC and Medicines Management Committee want data on pharmacological interventions, in great detail. Who gets the drugs, who doesn't, how are patients assessed, how is consent considered, what reviews are in place, how is local Shared Care used, can we demonstrate adherence to care pathways.

So many sources add so much administrative procedural activity to our day. For really rather dubious benefit, much of the time. It's planned that the GMC revalidation will need doctors to evidence their outcomes, mapped on to the 12 Good Medical Practice domains. Their outcomes. Not the team's, or Trust's or GP Surgery's performance/outcomes, but the individual doctor's practice. Needless to say, we don't currently collect data on an individual doctor's performance and outcomes in all 12 domains. We do it, but we look at teams and systems.

The NHS managment costs have escalated stratospherically from about 5% to about 25% with more managers generating more management activity which necessitates more infrastructure and support, so it's a self perpetuating beast that grows and grows. A bit like a neoplasm.

What I'd hoped for from our NHS Medical Director was a bit of sanity, common sense, perspective. A bit of hope that some of the 10 helpful factors I linked to previously of Little hassles, Perception of fair pay, Achievement, Feedback, Complexity and variety, Control, Organisational support, Work-home overflow, Honeymoons and hangovers and being Easily pleased could have been touched on.

More, when talking of quality and innovation and modernisation and change, I wanted to hear that we'd be liberated with greater freedom and less constraint, we'd not be on our knees with yet more process.

Ho hum.


monstertalk said...

I can only share your frustrations having had to attend, over the past week, a meeting from our 'business managers' about more data that needs to be inputted.
I think if I could understand the logic behind some of the reasons for gathering specific data in specific ways, i might not be as angry about it but so much of it seems either repetitive and unnecessary and of course the time it takes that could be spent in.. actual face to face work.. is sickening.

Anonymous said...

Medical journalists ha ha ha! Goodness sake she can go and see a private GP if thats what she wants.

Unusual to see a negative post from you though, has your positivity dissipated or just a tough time with NHS management creating more work for you to do?

The Shrink said...

Still feeling pretty up-beat, just have an awareness and pragmatic acceptance that things outside my immediate world aren't in my control and aren't all positive!

Quacktitioner said...

The receptionist deserves an award for sparing those in Africa from the needless torture of a narcissistic bloody Daily Mail journalist!

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