Wednesday, January 18, 2017

NHS A&E: Jacaranda & My Friend's Life!

Jacaranda is known as the flower of good luck. Did one drop on her or was it her A&E doctor.                                                            Legend of Jacaranda in Pretoria, South Africa.


©2013Am Ang Zhang

“The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered, 
and in order that the sick may have the benefit of advancing knowledge, 
union of forces is necessary
…it has become necessary to develop medicine as a cooperative science.



Friends moved to France after their retirement and lived in one of the wine growing districts.

They were extremely pleased with the Health Care they received from their doctor locally. After all, not long ago, French Health Care topped the WHO rankings.

Then our lady friend had some gynaecological condition. She consulted the local doctor who referred her to the regional hospital: a beautiful new hospital with the best in modern equipment. In no time, arrangement was made for her to be admitted and a key-hole procedure performed. The French government paid for 70% and the rest was covered by insurance they took out.

They were thrilled.

We did not see them for a while and then they came to visit us in one of our holiday places in a warm country.
They have moved back to England.

What happened?

London A&E:
Four months after the operation they were back visiting family in England. She was constipated and then developed severe abdominal pain. She was in London so went to A & E at one of the major teaching hospitals.

“I was seen by a young doctor, a lady doctor who took a detail history and examined me. I thought I was going to be given some laxative, pain killer and sent home.”

“No, she called her consultant and I was admitted straight away.”

To cut the long story short, she had acute abdomen due to gangrenous colon from the previous procedure.

She was saved but she has lost a section of her intestine.

They sold their place in the beautiful wine region and moved back to England.

Thank goodness for a well trained A&E doctor. Or one with the Jacaranda flower.

A&E
It looks a though we are moving as far away from those ideals in the New NHS. It is indeed most obvious with our A & E department of hospitals in England. In the new market driven system, A&E is indeed the loss leader in Supermarket terms. If we are honest, there has not been any drop in demand. It is the one thing the NHS CUSTOMERS will buy!

Government would like us to believe that this has nothing to do with OOH service. Perhaps there is a belief by the average citizen that they will be seeing real doctors at A&Es.  
         
 Guardian latest: Study says it costs hospitals more to treat accident and emergency patients than they are paid to deliver service.

In a Market system, A&Es are run by Hospitals and OOH by CCG/GPs; business rivals so to speak. Hospitals wants to maximize income and CCGs did not want anyone to attend A & E if at all possible.     NHS A & E: Unpredictable, Unruly & Ungainly


Looks like the battle is over as no doctor will want to work in A&E.

A top doctor from Somerset claims emergency patients could be at risk because half of the country's A&E departments are understaffed.

Dr Clifford Mann, registrar at the College of Emergency Medicine and a consultant at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton, said hospitals were increasingly struggling to find enough medics.

He told the Mail on Sunday that junior doctors were unwilling to train to become emergency medicine specialists because of the intense workload and failure of hospitals to increase staffing levels to match the number of patients admitted.
The situation is worsened by the fact that 10 per cent of all full-time consultancy posts in the country's 220 A&E units are unfilled as many training in the NHS have preferred to go abroad to work.

He said the shortages will "undoubtedly" have contributed to the closure or downgrading of casualty departments.

"The key message isn't so much the vacancies out there, but that there's no one coming through to fill them," said Dr Mann, an emergency medicine consultant.

There is of course a solution: remove the payer system and rotate GP and other trainee doctors through A & E as a compulsory part of training of any doctor and have full back up of the A & E consultants.



Prof Waxman in an earlier post:

The internal market’s billing system is not only costly and bureaucratic, the theory that underpins it is absurd. Why should a bill for the treatment of a patient go out to Oldham or Oxford, when it is not Oldham or Oxford that pays the bill — there is only one person that picks up the tab: the taxpayer, you and me.

…….Instead let them help the NHS do what it does best — treat patients, and do so efficiently and economically without the crucifying expense and ridiculous parody of competition.




“The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered, 
and in order that the sick may have the benefit of advancing knowledge, 
union of forces is necessary
…it has become necessary to develop medicine as a cooperative science.

 Doctor William Mayo explained in 1905

Save the NHS: Control Health Insurers!


If we are not careful Private Insurance will creep into England without a single bit of control as it is singularly important to stop Insurers to reject those with pre-existing conditions or dump them once they have a chronic illness such as Type 1 Diabtes. 

Patients could have to start to pay charges to use basic NHS services such as GPs because the health service’s finances have become so dire, the leader of Britain’s doctors has warned. 
Dr Mark Porter, the head of the British Medical Association (BMA), said that whoever takes office after the general election will inevitably be tempted to bring in charges and may not be deterred by the unpopularity of such a seismic change to the health service.
....“You say it’s politically toxic. It’s not, really, is it? Look at dentistry and look at social care. They carry with them exactly the same offer to the public by which the NHS was set up; that we will remove from you – this society, us acting collectively – the terrible fear of bankrupting yourself by having an illness, by needing healthcare.
“And yet we allow people to be bankrupted by social care and we allow people to be deterred from seeking dental care because of charges,” Porter said.

Can we think of ways round this?

There is little doubt that a system based on insurance will need smart legislation to control the insurers. If the NHS is going to make use of wealthier individuals to use Health Insurance, then the same smart laws will need to be enacted for the regulation of Insurers. We should have learnt through the banking failures that in business, there is no such thing as self regulation.


Here are some things the law will do:
·         It will prohibit insurance companies from refusing to sell coverage to people simply because they have one or more pre-existing conditions.
·         It will also prohibit them from cancelling our coverage when we get sick just to avoid paying for our care.
·         It will prohibit insurers from charging women more than men for comparable coverage and will not allow them to charge older folks more than three times as much as younger folks.
·         It will require them to spend at least 80 percent of what we pay in premiums actually paying claims and improving care.
·         It will allow young adults—who comprise the largest segment of the uninsured—to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26.

Summary of a popular post:


Spring is here!


 ©2014 Am Ang Zhang

"In fact, to save money, government can buy insurance 

for 

the mental patients and the chronically ill."

It must be very obvious that all the talk about medical cover for visitors to England never mention the need for health insurance.

Could this be because insurers have managed not to cover for everything. One need to ask the question on how one ever travel to the US where cost of medical care is extremely high.

It may well be prudent for government to insist that non EU visitors to this country must have mandatory Health Insurance as part of the admission requirement. This should apply to students and tourists alike. After all nobody in their right mind would dream of going to the US without proper insurance.

We have managed to get people to insure their cars, why not their bodies.

There is of course the need to fully control Health Insurers for those that live in England if they want cover. 

Let people opt out of the NHS if it is so bad! But Insurers need to cover every thing. 

Citizens could be given a tax break and yet have the insurance policy incorporated into their NI/NHS number so that those with the tax break, the insurer will be charged for every kind of medical care they receive if they were within the NHS.

 ©2014 Am Ang Zhang

 

Summary of a popular post:

·                     Ends discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions.
·                     Limits premium spread to normal, high risk and healthy risk to say under 20% either way of normal.
·                     Limits premium discrimination based on gender and age.
·                     Prevents insurance companies from dropping coverage when people are sick and need it most.
·                     Caps out-of-pocket expenses so people don’t go broke when they get sick.
·                     Eliminates extra charges for preventive care.
·                     Contribute to an ABTA style cover in case Insurance Companies go bust and many might.

We could legislate that Insurers will have to pay for any NHS treatment for those covered by them. It will stop Insurers “gaming” NHS hospitals. This will prevent them saving on costly dialysis and Intensive Care. Legislate for full disclosure of Insured status.

Insurers cannot drop coverage or treatment after a set period and even if they do they will still be charged if the patient is transferred to an NHS Hospital.

This will eliminate problems like PIP breast implants.

It will indeed encourage those that could afford it to buy insurance and in any case most firms offer insurance for their employees including the GMC.

To prevent gaming of Insurers by individual patients (I look after their interest too), the medical fee should be paid up front by the patient and then deduction taken from premiums. Corporate clients like those with the GMC should not be gaming Insurers.

Imagine the situation where those with “individual personalised budget” being able to “buy” their own insurance!

In fact, to save money, government can buy insurance for the mental patients and the chronically ill.

This way there will be real choice and insurers will be competing with each other to provide the worst deal.

Why?

What Health Insurer will want the business? 

©2014 Am Ang Zhang


Perhaps they will go back to the US and we will have our own NHS back.                                                                                   

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

NHS: Demolition? No! No! No!

As private companies offer free shares for GPs in the new market based healthcare system that will soon replace the current NHS, it is amazing that there remain doctors that will continue to point out the dark forces driving the current change.

The Cockroach Catcher has retired from the NHS, but there are other doctors who still work in it, and I respect how verbal some of them are against the initiatives that are currently underway to turn the NHS into an essentially private system without the safeguards of the new US system.

But hang on, no, the NHS will never be totally demolished.

The inspiration came from the natural world: good parasites do not kill their hard working hosts!!! Nor do predators kill the whole species. Keep some alive!!!
Giant Barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) ©2003 Am Ang Zhang 

As the US insurers found out, Government money is the best money to make and that is really tax payer’s money. The new NHS will be the private sector’s main source of income, as only 90,000 in the UK are covered by private insurance and often they are offered cash incentives to use the NHS.

It is therefore essential for the private health care companies that the NHS is around, at least in name, so that they can make money by providing a “better value and more competitive” service to the NHS!

Some parts of the NHS will have to remain too, as it is necessary for the private sector to dump the un-profitable patients: the chronic and the long term mentally ill, for example. (Right now, 25% of NHS psychiatric patients are treated by the private sector.  But why? Even in psychiatry, there are cherries to be picked.)

Finally, in order to keep the mortality figures low at competing private hospitals, they need to be able to rush some of their patients off to NHS hospitals at the critical moments!


Clive Peedell:
By Clive Peedell, consultant clinical oncologist at James Cook University Hospital, and co-chair of NHSCA - 4th January 2011 10:18 am

The NHS white paper is the government’s roadmap for a market based healthcare system, which is designed to encourage increasing roles for the private and third sectors, whilst diminishing the role of the public sector in the England. The NHS is going to be dismantled by using the market forces of ‘creative destruction’. This will have profound effects on the medical profession with attacks on T+Cs, pensions, medical training, professionalism. More importantly, the knock on effects for patient care will be devastating.
The key policy levers enabling this to happen are:
1. The purchaser provider split, with GP commissioning consortia taking the leading role on the purchaser side of the divide.
2. Patient Choice.
3. Competition between a plurality of ‘any willing providers’.
4. Payment by Results with price competition.
5. Patient held budgets.
6. Foundation trusts becoming social enterprises and the abolition of the cap on their private income.
These policies are mutually reinforcing and this is how they will work:
GPs will be formed into GP consortia and will control 80% (£80bn) of the NHS budget to buy in services for their patients from a variety of providers (including FTs, private hospitals and third sector organisations) competing against each other in competitive healthcare market. Market competition will be enforced by applying EU competition law and overseen by the economic regulator, Monitor, as well as the new National Commissioning Board. Money will follow the patients via the Payment by Results (PbR) system. This has traditionally been a fixed pricing system, but the tariffs will now be opened up to price competition (I’ll come back to this).
GP consortia will take over most of the roles of PCTs and SHAs, which are being abolished. Since the process of purchasing healthcare, designing care pathways and interpreting healthcare outcome data is a complex process, they will need to buy in management expertise. Although some consortia will employ ex-PCT staff, many will take on private companies through the Framework for Procuring External Support for Commissioning (FESC). These companies include US HMOs like United Health and Aetna, as well as UK companies like BUPA. These companies will therefore be involved in both purchasing and providing healthcare. Consortia will have strict financial responsibilities and will therefore be encouraged to ration care or opt for cheaper services.
Meanwhile, all hospitals are going to become FT, which will subsequently become social enterprises, i.e. owned and run by their staff and essentially not-for-profit private hospitals. They must be able to make a small surplus to re-invest and will not be able to be bailed out if they fail financially. If they do fail, they will be merged or taken over by the private sector. Hospitals will need to make money through Payment by Results. However, the marketplace will be competitive and PbR tariffs will no longer be fixed. This will lead to a ‘race to the bottom’ as consortia look to save money by referring to hospitals with the cheapest tariffs. As tariffs fall, Hospitals will need to generate more income by cutting costs or treating more private patients. In addition, increasing numbers of people will take out additional healthcare insurance as consortia ration more and more services and waiting lists increase because of the abolition of waiting list targets.
Over time, we will see an increasing role for the medical insurance industry and a two-tiered mixed funding healthcare system, ending one of the founding principles of the NHS. There will also be a new health insurance market for patients with patient held budgets, who will want the option to ‘top up’ their care to avoid the risk of running out of money.
It is clear that many hospitals in poorer areas will be able to attract less private patients and will be seriously disadvantaged by this system. Meanwhile, hospitals in wealthier areas may be able to continue to reduce their tariffs, supported by greater private income, putting even more pressure on struggling hospitals.
As tariffs fall, all hospitals will be pressured to drive down costs. This is most easily achieved by cutting staff and changing skill-mix. In addition, national T+Cs will no longer apply to hospitals that are social enterprises because they are private organisations. Thus, they will be able to set their own local T+Cs. Existing NHS staff will be protected by TUPE legislation, but new members of staff will not and they will potentially no longer be entitled to NHS pensions. If medical students and future students think it’s bad now, then they should think again. It’s only going to get worse.
In addition, since some hospitals will fail, many staff will be transferred to the private sector and have to accept worse T+Cs, especially is unemployment levels are high. This whole process will set in train wage deflation and the destruction of the NHS pension system, which is paid for by current employees.
The white paper is therefore designed to fulfil a longstanding Tory dream - to dismantle the NHS and replace it with the private sector, which will receive its profits from the UK taxpayer.
This NHS will not fall overnight because the market’s invisible hand will destroy it in a piecemeal fashion, leaving the unprofitable areas of healthcare firmly in public sector hands. It is also political suicide to dismantle the NHS, so it is being performed using the political rhetoric of patient empowerment through the patient choice agenda, and clinician empowerment by giving GPs a budget of £80bn.
Amazingly, Lansley is getting away with it because there is far too little understanding and resistance from the medical profession, which is realistically the only group of people that can prevent this assault on the NHS.
It’s time for the medical profession to heed Aneurin Bevan’s words: “It will last as long as there are folk left with the faith to fight for it.”


    More>>>>


There is a general feeling in the NHS of disempowerment of the professionals. People can’t face up to the incredible struggle, the disapproval that faces any of them if they have the temerity to suggest that things should be run differently.

The principle of care for all from cradle to grave is worthy and wonderful. But the current reality is a cradle rocked by accountants who are incapable of even counting the number of times that they have rocked it. The reality is gravediggers working with a cost improvement shovel made of rust.

Moving patients from one place to another does not save the nation’s money, though it might save a local hospital some dosh. So the internal market has failed because it does not consider the health of the nation as a whole, merely the finances of a single hospital department, a local hospital or GP practice.

So what should we do? Let us go back to the old discipline of the NHS. Let the professionals manage medicine, empower the professionals, the doctors and nurses and shove the internal market in the bin and screw down the lid. At this election time please let us hear from all political parties that they will ditch this absurd love-affair with the internal market. Instead let them help the NHS do what it does best — treat patients, and do so efficiently and economically without the crucifying expense and ridiculous parody of competition.”



Circle: 
- Currently largest partnership of clinical doctors in the UK. Says services could include telehealth, enhanced diabetic services, urological services, day case surgery, endoscopy, community-based ENT or ophthalmic services. 
- GPs continue on normal contracts, and can either develop additional services with Circle’s help or act as ‘sleeping partners’ 
- A welcoming gift of 300 shares in the company each year, (which currently have a nominal value of about £3.50)
- A non-repayable grant of £2.00 per registered patient, to be spent on additional services to be pursued jointly with Circle.
Assura
- Locally agreed Limited Liability Partnerships (Assura GP Provider Companies)
- Profits split 50/50 between GPs and Assura
- GPs run clinical services
- Assura provides accommodation, IT and data storage, back-office support and bidding expertise, and incurs any potential losses
Virgin
- GPs retain existing terms of contract and offered new premises
- A profit-share from other paid-for services in Virgin Health centres and extra quality payments. 
- Virgin will employ all non clinical staff. 
- GPs and staff will have to undergo Virgin customer training and be subject to a Virgin quality framework.
The salaried option
- Private companies employ GPs under APMS contracts
- Private firms currently employing GPs under this model include Chilvers McCrea, Care UK, Serco Health, United Health and Atos Healthcare

Anorexia Nervosa & Mountains: Misguided Belief in Psychiatric Diagnosis!




 ©2016 Am Ang Zhang 

Thirty years ago, I saw mountains as mountains, and waters as waters.

When I arrived at a more intimate knowledge, I came to the point
where I saw that mountains are not mountains,
and waters are not waters.
Thirty years on,
I see mountains once again as mountains, and waters once again as waters.

                                                                                                   Adapted from Ching-yuan (1067-1120)

There is a misguided belief that Psychiatry is like other branches of medicine, that we make diagnosis as if we know the definitive cause, course of treatment and prognosis.

I accept that even in other branches of medicine, what we used to know sometimes can be turned upside down overnight. We only need to look at the evolution of the understanding and treatment of Leprosy and Tuberculosis over time, and in the modern era, that of HIV/AIDS.
I was brought up to understand that “scientific truth is nothing more than what the top scientists believe in at the time.” In this modern era of “biotech” approach to medicine, new understanding is yet to be found for many conditions. In these cases, are we content to continue with empirical and symptomatic approaches?

Anorexia Nervosa comes to mind and this is one of the conditions that have for want of a better word captured the imagination of sufferers and public alike. I have already posted an earlier blog on its brief history.

Sometimes a diagnosis as powerful as Anorexia Nervosa can be a hindrance to the improvement of “sufferers”. Over my years of practice, I found that those who did well were cases where we indeed moved away from the medical/conventional psychiatric model to a somewhat paradoxical approach.

When I took over the adolescent unit as its consultant in charge there were six Anorexia Nervosa patients in varying stages of emaciation or weight gain depending on from which side you want to look at it.  It is not always wise to have so many anorectic patients together as they do share tricks with each other and it is often more difficult to customise treatment.



         What needed my urgent attention was of course Sammy. Sammy had a very feminine name but preferred the nickname Sammy. Sammy’s Section was due to expire in less than 14 days and I had to compile a report for the Tribunal which would be sitting to decide on her fate.

         It was perhaps a sign of our failure as psychiatrists to effectively treat Anorexia Nervosa that eventually case law was established to regard food in Anorexia Nervosa as medicine. Therefore food may be used forcibly to treat Anorexia Nervosa when the condition becomes life threatening. 

         The usual test of mental capacity no longer applies. Instead the law is used forcibly to feed a generally bright and intelligent person “over-doing” what most consider to be “good”.  They try to eat less and eat healthily by avoiding fat and the like and wham we have the law on them.

         I have to admit that I have not liked this aspect of Sectioning. Unfortunately it is used often, judging by the high numbers of tube fed patients.

         On the other hand not everybody is able to treat Anorexia Nervosa patients or, in reality, do battle with them. It requires experience, energy, time, wit, charisma and often impeccable timing. However, sometimes I do wonder if we are indeed doing a disservice when we take things out of parents’ hands by agreeing to take over.

 ©2016 Am Ang Zhang 
         With hindsight and upon reflecting on a number of cases I have dealt with, I often wonder: if hospitalisation had not been an option at all, would improvement rate and, more importantly, mortality rate have been any different.

         We do not section people for smoking, drinking, or doing drugs, which all endanger life. Nor do we stop people running the Marathon or eating raw oysters when these activities regularly lead to mortalities.

         Society is coming round to do something about over-eating in children but it will take some time before they apply the Mental Health Acts. 

         To me, the moment a psychiatrist turns to the law he is admitting that he has failed. 

         At least that is my view and if I perpetuated the Compulsory Order with Sammy, I too would be part of that failure.

         There had been no weight gain in Sammy despite the tube feeding and the debate was: shall we increase the feed or shall we wait? Everybody just assumed that she would stay on as a compulsory patient.

         Despite bed rests and even more embarrassingly the use of bedpans, many Anorexia Nervosa patients managed not to gain weight whatever we pumped into them. The balanced feeds were in fact quite expensive. There was no secret that they were aware of the exercises they could perform even on bed rest and the determination not to put on weight had to be seen to be believed. If such determination was applied elsewhere I was sure these young girls could be very successful.

         I had to find an answer, an answer for Sammy and an answer for myself.

         Being forced to eat by the State remained the treatment of choice for everybody except for one stubborn consultant.

         “At least we did all we could,” my staff constantly reminded me.
         “And she is the most determined of all the Anorectics we have right now.”
         More reason to show the others that this new psychiatrist had some other means than brute force, I thought to myself. 

         Yes, I could be as determined as they were.

         The hours of family therapy only brought about accusations and counter accusations with hardly any resolution. Middle class families have certain ways of dealing with things where some branches of family therapy are not particularly good at all.

         The modern trend is certainly moving away from blaming families.  Or that is the rhetoric of most who write publicly about it.

         Whatever the official line, families cannot help feeling blamed.

         “If we are not to blame, why do we need family therapy?”

         “There are so many other families like ours.  Why do they not have the same problem?”

         We may reassure them that there are and that is the truth, but the truth is that there are also Anorexia-free families.

         Yes, it might help if they do find a gene like they did with obesity.  Yet that cannot explain why there are more extremely obese people in say the U.S. which collects gene pools from across the globe.

         So Sammy’s family had the full benefit of eight sessions of family therapy by two very experienced therapists. In the end, there was just a lot of recrimination between all parties including the therapists and all agreed it would not be the way forward. That was when tube-feeding started.

         Minuchin[3] dealt with over-involvement, over-protectiveness and conflict avoidance in these families with no special apology on whether he blamed the family or not. He used to start with a meal session with the family. His success, like many such methods, probably had more to do with his charisma than his method and is thus difficult to replicate.

         For Sammy and her family the message was simple and clear enough, no matter how hard we lied.

         The family had failed and the hospital had to take over.

         That was the blunt truth. 

         But the hospital had failed too and we had to resort to the Mental Health Act on one of society’s most sensible and decent and safest citizens. 

         I decided enough was enough. I could no longer perpetuate the no-blame approach. I could no longer continue to hide behind the power conferred onto me by the law. 

         In short, I had to reverse just about everything that had gone on before, and more.

         Just two weeks before the tribunal sat we had the big review meeting. To most at the unit, the review was fairly routine as there was hardly any choice – a full Section for Hospital Treatment primarily intended for difficult to treat Schizophrenics and difficult to control Bipolars in the acute manic phase. Sammy would be “detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure”, and classed with the likes of the few psychotics who had committed the most heinous murders. To save Sammy’s life, it would be natural to continue with the Mental Health Act.

         Yes there would be weeks of tube feeding and bed rest, but the State had to take over the complete care of this bright young thing for her own sake.

         I could not see any other way either.

         Unless …….I could reverse everything that had gone on before.  

         If our work is to be therapeutic then a sort of therapeutic alliance is important, even if tentative.  Some people do not realise that you can fight with your patient and still have a sort of therapeutic alliance.

         I had a plan.

         These meetings were attended by just about everybody who had anything to do with the patient.  They were held at school times so that most of the teaching staff could be present as well. These meetings also had a tendency to drag on as everybody seemed to have a lot to say about very little, a trait not just limited to psychiatrists but also seen in social workers, therapists, nurses, junior grade doctors, teachers and visiting professionals. People always seemed to have a lot to say on cases where there was the least progress. 

 ©2016 Am Ang Zhang 
         My personal view is that this was a sure sign of anarchy which had unfortunately drifted into our Health Service, encouraged in part by the numerous re-organisations that had gradually eroded the authority of the doctor. 

         Saul Wurman[4], an architect by training but also an author of business and tour books, famously wrote that meetings really do not always need to be an hour long. Why can it not be ten or twenty minutes?

         Could I achieve that?

         After briefly explaining to all the purpose of the meeting, I turned to Sammy, who still had the nasal feeding tube “Micropore’d[5]” securely and said, “What do you think?”

         “It is so unfair.  Now I shall not be able to go to Harvard.”

         It is generally perceived as a given that a U.K. citizen who has been Sectioned will not be able to use the Visa Waiver to visit the U.S. If that person then has to apply for a Visa, having been detained under the Mental Health Act must be a major hindrance, although I have never seen this applied in practice. One of my patients did have to cancel a horse trial trip to Kentucky because she was sectioned at the height of a manic episode.

         I did not know she had aspirations to get to Harvard but I was not surprised given what I already knew about mother.

         “Before I say anything else, can I ask you a few things?”
         “What? Sure!”
         “Do you smoke, drink, take Ecstasy or go out clubbing?”
         “No.  Why?”
         “Do you have piercings and tattoos on you?”
         “Tattoos—yuk!  Yes, I having my ears pierced. That is all.”
         “Do you like Pop music?”
         “No way. I play the violin and I like Bach and Bartok!”
         Everybody was attentive now.
         “Do you shoot heroin or smoke Cannabis?”
         “No way!”
         She was getting annoyed.
         “What about boys and sex?” I felt bad even to ask especially in front of her mother, who I thought would faint if we knew something she did not.
         “How can you even ask and in front of my parents? You know I don’t do things like that!”

         I can remember my own adolescence. I did not do any of those things either and I did not even have pierced ears.

         I then turned to the parents.  Mother was a history teacher at a famous private school in one of England’s most middle class town. She also spent a year at Harvard, hence Sammy’s ambition to follow her. Father was a prominent city lawyer.

         “You have always provided well for her, a good education, European and U.S. holidays, a comfortable home and expensive music lessons.”

         “We are fortunate enough to be able to do that. She is our only child.” Mother replied in a tone implying, “what’s wrong with that?”

         “And she has always been a bright child, strong willed and single minded. She passed her Grade 8 violin with distinction at 14 and could have become a musician. But she wanted to do International Studies.” Mother added.

         “So she always had her way.”
         “She has always got on with everything, studying and practising the violin. And she keeps a tidy bedroom!”
         A tidy bedroom! My goodness, everything was falling into place.
         “Sammy……”
         “Yes……”

         “You know what? You are the first adolescent I know that keeps a tidy bedroom, do not do drugs, do not drink, do not smoke and you do not do a load of other things I asked you about. You are by modern standards a FAILED adolescent!”
         Then I turned to the parents.
         “And you, FAILED parents!”
         “And we FAILED you. We failed you because we had to hide behind the law and force fed you.”
         Sammy said, “I can’t do all those things even if you make me.”
         Ah, the turning point.
         “No, don’t get me wrong. I don’t want you to either.”
         I then told her that I would like to take the tube off her despite lack of progress, or because of it.
         It simply had not worked.
         I wanted her to take over, do what she needed to do and I would decide in about ten days if I had to extend the Treatment Order.
         Forty five minutes. The meeting took forty five minutes as people had to present summaries of different reports, the details of which were irrelevant here.
         The battle was over. Sammy looked relaxed. Nobody was fighting her now. She was back in control.
         I took her off the Section as she started to put on weight and before long she was discharged. 

         We forget how easy it is to entrench. To entrench is a sure way to perpetuate a problem.