Friday, July 26, 2013

David Cameron & Mental Illness: Monitor & Bupa

I am back after traversing the Panama Canal.

It is a common practice for politicians to ignore professional advice. Sometimes they might get away with it; sometimes it led to failure, gross failure as in the case of the French attempt at building the Panama Canal.

Can we really learn anything from such a colossal failure?

Most people probably know about the French failure to build the Panama Canal. Many thought that this was due to yellow fever and malaria which were diseases thought to be due to some toxic fume from exposed soil.

Extracted from the Official Website: Panama Canal Authority /French Construction

The engineer was no match for a career politician:

“There was no question that a sea level canal was the correct type of canal to build and no question at all that Panama was the best and only place to build it. Any problems – and, of course, there would be some - would resolve themselves, as they had at Suez.”

“The resolution passed with 74 in favour and 8 opposed. The ‘no’ votes included de L├ępinay and Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. Thirty-eight Committee members were absent and 16, including Ammen and Menocal, abstained. The predominantly French ‘yea’ votes did not include any of the five delegates from the French Society of Engineers. Of the 74 voting in favor, only 19 were engineers and of those, only one, Pedro Sosa of Panama, had ever been in Central America.”

The French failed in a spectacular fashion.

Cost to the French: $287 Million (1893 dollars) or $6.8 Billion (2007 dollars)

Many reasons can be stated for the French failure, but it seems clear that the principal reason was de Lesseps’ stubbornness in insisting on and sticking to the sea level plan.  But others were at fault also for not opposing him, arguing with him and encouraging him to change his mind.  His own charisma turned out to be his enemy.  People believed in him beyond reason.

Could any of us learn anything from this experience?

Panama Canal © Am Ang Zhang 2011

Dr Grumble went VIRAL in  A reader writes
“If we all take the view that Lansley's bill is unstoppable then it will be. The arguments for privatisation of healthcare just do not stack up. The emperor has no clothes. If enough people were to point that out this bill would drop dead in its tracks.”

So what about David Cameron and Mental Illness?

No, I am not suggesting anything at all although you might think so if you roll back and listen to what he said in 2009.
"…….There will be no more of those pointless reorganisations that aim for change but instead bring chaos……."

No, it is about Bupa:

Now will Monitor be doing anything about that? I doubt.

But hang on, the NHS is really safe in David Cameron’s hands as there needs to be hospitals taking back patients that Bupa does not treat.

Told you: The NHS is not going to be privatised! Not all of it any way.

My guess is that NHS 111 will be. Oooops: there may be new jobs for people to call NHS 111 as £25 a go can soon mount up and it is impossible to monitor.

Oooops, did I say Monitor? Yes, Monitor may be re-launched as a QinetiQ styled company as there is so much money to be made from fining NHS Foundation Trusts. Dr David Bennett is not a medical doctor. He was with McKinsey. Perhaps he still is!!!

But, David Cameron, thanks for your faith in the NHS. And do not worry, after two years, we will be there. 

Hermione: "You pay a great deal too dear for what's given freely". -

(Act I, Scene I). The Winter’s Tale.



Anonymous said...

Welcome back and you did not miss a trick as you picked up Dr G's viral post.

QinetiQ indeed.

Sam said...

"there is so much money to be made from fining NHS Foundation Trusts"

Not if they don't make so many mistakes. Which means Foundation trusts will have to take more care and will be more patient oriented and reduce mistakes. That can't be bad, right? You expected the same from your travel agency or tour operator when you arranged your trip to Panama, why not from your local health trust too?

Cockroach Catcher said...

Hi, Sam.

Thanks. I see you have been busy with Dr G.

If they left everything to doctors it would have been different. Imagine the situation where all in management must be a registered doctor ( not like GOS) mistakes will be fewer.

Why should a private non profit provider not continue and dump the costly patients on the NHS? The more dumping, the worst would be outcome and it would not be just mistakes.

I have to take back my Anorectic patient dumped by the private sector.

Luckily, I did not make any 'mistake'.

Sam said...

"I see you have been busy with Dr G. "

It's always a pleasure to debate with Dr Grumble. Don't forget he was the first senior to stand by the juniors during the MTAS saga and participated on the then remedy forum as well as address the issue on his blog. If only all seniors were like that, we wouldn't have had that saga to start with! Meaning too that when I knew nothing he was one of my first teachers too. I am grateful for the education :-)

"Why should a private non profit provider not continue and dump the costly patients on the NHS? "

Maybe they should be fined if they did so too! But as currently there is no system to stop them doing that. Which means that if the NHS refused to have them dumped back, those patients may well end up having to finance their ills themselves and may end up selling their homes or becoming bankrupt as a result as in the USA! So, this scenario you describe is one of the very reasons why the NHS should remain in public hands, with the SoS for health continuing to carry the responsibility for the provision of universal care and being accountable for same and the outcomes too - the reason why I don't support that change of the law in The White Paper that allows the SoS to wriggle out of this responsibility, as per the explanation of Dr No's post on same.

"The more dumping, the worst would be outcome and it would not be just mistakes."

Not just mistakes? Can you elaborate please?

Cockroach Catcher said...


Mistakes as we have been taught we mortals make. Negligence is indefensible.

If you look at Mid Staff, they are not mistakes nor negligence but planned wickedness to put it mildly.

Shipman is not 'mistake' either. He was too competent at what he was doing, but what he did was wicked.

Monitor allowed Mid Staff to become FT, remember and that was not a mistake either.

FSA has failed us over banking and Monitor will over NHS.

My personal view as always.

Sam said...

I understand, thank you :-)