A Porsche or a Ventilator?

We've seen the government announce they want to borrow money from City hedge funds to prop up the NHS finances. In effect this means taxpayers will be funding a hedge fund dealers new Porsche rather than buying a neonatal ventilator. Tax payers will be fleeced and huge interest payments on this deal will go to the hedge fund meaning less funds are available to the NHS for direct patient care.
I've written an article in the BMJ on this and you can read it here...
Do leave a message on the BMJ website on how you feel about this. 

A new low?

A new low seems to have occurred with the government publishing a form that has to be filled out by women who have been raped.

The government recently pushed through changes to child support so that any family having a 3rd child cannot claim this support. This was hugely controversial and was voted through due to the Tories having a Parliamentary majority.

One aspect was around a woman who had been raped and thus had a 3rd child due to the rape. The government felt they needed to check women were not making the rape up so came up with this form for women to fill out.

What they have failed to grasp is that many rapes occur within a relationship yet they ask of the woman to declare if they are not living with 'the other parent'.

How will this make the woman feel? How many are likely to own up to this and fill the form out?

It is so heartless and despicable of this government to do this.

Even if you agree with the fact that a 3rd child is not deserving of any child benefit (many …


This is the latest issue to hit the NHS and it is very worrying. I wrote this for the Huffington Post. Have a read and see what you think about STPs.....

Could private top-up insurance help fund the NHS?

This article first appeared in the BMJ
Current tax revenues cannot maintain healthcare standards, writes Christopher Smallwood, but David Wrigley worries that introducing inequity sounds the death knell of a service free for all who need it Yes—Christopher Smallwood It is hardly controversial to suggest that standards of healthcare in the NHS are declining. A stream of recent reports has shown the strain the NHS is under, drawing attention to a near universal failure to meet the target of four hours’ waiting time in emergency departments,1 the longest waiting times for operations since 2007, and unprecedented staff shortages.  The principal cause of this lamentable state of affairs is unquestionably underfinancing of the system. In 2012-13, few trusts were in deficit but by 2015-16 the proportion had reached 85%.2 As the King’s Fund has said, we are “facing a health system buckling under the strain of huge financial pressures.”2 Current problems are set to intensify at an alarming rat…

A Quiet Time for the NHS

400 doctors recently gathered in Belfast for their annual meeting to discuss issues affecting the whole profession. It is a 4 day event and a very busy week discussing issues affecting everyone from medical students up to retired doctors covering medical politics as well as the professional, scientific aspects affecting our day to day work.
GPs were angry this year. Angry at how their branch of practice has seen yet more cuts to their budgets and angry with politicians who make out things are OK when those of us working on the front line of the NHS know it isn’t.
GP surgeries are closing across the country now. GPs can no longer keep going and are handing their keys back to NHS England. What a shocking indictment on our politicians when their policies and funding cuts bring about the closure of much loved and well respected community surgeries. Patients are the ones who lose out and once a surgery closes it will never come back again.
The workload in intolerable with upwards of 60-70 pa…

Thoughts from the Picket Line

I arrived at the picket line at Royal Lancaster Infirmary at 8am on Wednesday just as the photographer was arriving to take some pictures for his latest story. There is still significant media interest in the strikes - which are the first set of doctors strikes in 40 years.
The junior doctors had arrived and were getting their banners ready and it was fantastic to see some local teachers turn up to support our doctors. The rain didn’t dent our spirits and we spoke to many passers by who supported us and hundreds of cars honked their horns in support as they drive by.
As a GP I support our junior colleagues 100% in this fight for a safe and fair contract and what is in effect a fight for the NHS. I know they don’t want to be on strike but they have been forced into this by Cameron and Hunt who now see doctors as their enemy and are trying to crush them. A consultant came out to the picket line and brought coffee for us and I had a chat with him. He said the consultants were showing huge…