Royal Brompton Hospital
I’m in hospital. I’m here for tests on my breathing function. My diaphragm does not work. The reason it does not work is because it is holding my back up and my guts in – two functions normally accomplished by other muscle groups that have failed. The problem is fundamentally orthopaedic but so far the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital have agreed the problem is not orthopaedic. What else do these two have in common? They share a joint training program … their surgeons are buddies .. and they therefore loathe to prove each other wrong.
The world of medicine in the UK is sick. It is not underfunding and it is not overmanagement that is the root sickness. It is that doctors are a self managing club, ruled and policed by the General Medical Council who are elected, in the majority, by the doctors they police. This unfortunately means that doctoring – medicine – is a largely self-referential field in which errors and erroneous judgements and assumptions are propogated and repeated throught the club.
It is a shame for the whole of British Society that Margaret Thatcher failed to take on this monopoly of thought in the field of health. It is a shame that Blair has similarly failed to do so .. instead setting managers against doctors in an attempt to achieve the right end through the wrong means. His Government’s behaviour has lead to the entrenchment of different camps fighting a war without end.
At some point in time Doctor’s power needs to be challenged head on or the assumptions and errors of medicine will continue to multiply and enfold us all in their falsities. It is the nature of closed shops that they benefit their participants most. The ego’s of many consultants need reigning in.