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When I get older

Posted on February 25, 2017 at 12:05 PM Comments comments (0)

Scrap universal state pension and help the young instead

Birthdays are to be celebrated, but crossing the decade marks in your life (29 to 30 for example) is often regarded as an achievement you would rather not shout about, although failing to achieve these milestones would be of more concern. Fifty sounds a lot older than 49, but I never realised how much there was to celebrate ...

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Crisis, What Crisis?

Posted on January 18, 2017 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

It’s a black alert, a humanitarian crisis, a major incident, exceptional measures are demanded. Where in the world could this be? Syria? Sudan? Or perhaps a terrorist attack in a major European city? No, it’s just a normal working day at your local hospital in January. No one, even those of us who have served the NHS for a long time (38 years for me) have witnessed anything quite like ...

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The Era of Stupidity

Posted on November 25, 2016 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Debate should be based on facts, not hearsay or ideology

I am normally a good sleeper. But twice this year I have awoken from a peaceful slumber into a nightmare about clowns; it’s always clowns. In one of my nightmares I am a passenger on a plane where the pilot dies and a professional clown with a terrible comb-over and absolutely no experien...

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The Junior Doctors Strike

Posted on September 6, 2016 at 5:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I have never liked the term 'industrial action' because what is planned is always the exact opposite – industrial inaction. 'Strike' is better; it suggests a blow is being delivered. And that is precisely what the UK's junior doctors are planning; more blows. Blows to try and force the government to reopen talks about their contracts. When you heard the news, did your heart sink? Mine did.

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Brexit and The NHS

Posted on August 23, 2016 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Today I was introduced to someone extraordinary: a newly recruited nurse who is not from continental Europe, but from the UK - Taunton to be more precise. In the hospital where I work 20% of the registered nurses are from overseas, the majority from the European Union (EU). Chatter in the common room is a mongrel mix of Spanish, Italian, Greek and even Catalonian. To help them communicate with our local population I hav...

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Safe Cycling

Posted on March 18, 2016 at 11:10 AM Comments comments (0)

According to a recent European study, I am one of the 4%; I do it every day (well, almost every day). If you never do it, you are amongst the majority of UK residents (69%). In Holland the picture is strikingly different, 27% do it every day and only 13% never do it. I am referring to cycling, of course. But why on earth would anyone want to cycle on West Country roads? Well, I’ll tell you why I do it.

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Trust me I'm a doctor

Posted on February 27, 2016 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

It is often said that there are three types of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics. But statistics never lie, unless they are abused or misinterpreted and this usually requires the input of a politician. Recent statements by the secretary of state for health illustrate this perfectly.

Firstly, he wants consultants to work a seven-day week and highlights the importance of this by quoting an exc...

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Pacemaker battery scandal

Posted on February 3, 2016 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Much can and should be done to maximise the longevity of existing devices

Imagine spending £3000 on a new watch with a battery embedded in the mechanism that cannot be replaced or recharged. Although the battery is predicted to last 10 years or more, after six years you discover that it is running flat and you’re advised to replace the watch immediately, even though it ma...

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High time to honour Elsie Knocker, a true heroine for the South West

Posted on December 17, 2015 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

A little while ago I wrote about the scarcity of statues in and around Exeter and proposed that new ones and replacements were in order. Some readers chastised me for my all male list of possible candidates. And I have to confess; I was indeed unable to think of a single Exeter woman worthy of a pedestal. But following a recent visit to Flanders fields, I stumbled on the story of Elsie Knocker, a largely forgotten heroin...

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Perfect storm brewing as NHS struggles against 22bn 'cut'

Posted on October 14, 2015 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

The government seems to be dismantling our treasured health service

There is never a good time to be sick, but if that is your destiny, I suggest you do it sooner rather than later. Why? Because there is a perfect storm brewing and if your illness is bad enough to need admission to hospital, there is every chance you will get caught up in it. Firstl...

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