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We are well into 2016. So much happening in healthcare.


The government managed to extract defeat from the jaws of victory as the junior doctors reinstated their February strike. Perhaps the claim from the employers that 15 of the 16 issues had been agreed prior to the most recent talks was an economy of the truth. It did not augur well that the Prime Minister, in a Radio 4 interview, indicated that ultimately the government will not allow a veto over the contract, implying it could be imposed. Indeed, imposition it will be. Around the world government confrontation with medical professionals has usually ended with a climb down by the former. I think history will repeat in this instance.  


I do recall the heady days of the mid 70s of the last strike. I was still a medical student and remember vividly that in similar circumstances the then Secretary of State for Health, Barbara Castle, managed with her polarizing invective, to produce a 15% exodus to foreign climes of newly qualified doctors from my alma mater, the Middlesex Hospital Medical School. There is a real danger that the present government will display a similar machismo that worsens an already beleaguered medical workforce, who have the option of walking out of the exit door of the NHS.


The link of an increase in birth defects, microcephaly, and the mosquito transmission of the Zika virus, is a tragedy. One can only feel for the families where a child is borne with this anomaly. However, the link has not conclusively been proven so prevention and prophylaxis will have to wait until the research has been undertaken. The positive is that the WHO has mobilized the medical and scientific community, which compared to the sluggish approach to the Ebola outbreak, must be commended. Maybe lessons have been learnt, but it will still be 18 months plus to gather evidence and formulate a possible vaccine.


The Savile inquiry and all the other investigations have highlighted how Child Sexual Exploitation can be easily dismissed, even accepted and is frequently perpetrated by those who are in positions of actually protecting individuals. Weller and her colleagues (p.8) provide a synopsis for GPs to recognise earlier potential cases as they may present in primary care.


Dog bite injuries are most frequently seen in children and Mannion et al (p. 18) suggest why this may be. The potential complications, usually understated, associated with what may be a trivial injury are discussed.


This issue continues its paediatric theme with an overview of paediatric urological disorders by Garrod et al (p. 26) and the timely contribution on sepsis in the younger age group by King and Snelson (p. 35). The latter is apposite given the high prolife medicolegal cases of missed, and eventually fatal respiratory infections in babies. We finish with Diggins et al’s article on Self-Harm (p. 46). There is an increasing incidence of this medical issue, with poor provision for mental health clearly a contributory factor. Despite evidence of this inadequate service, highlighted by voluntary and patient organisations, the government seems to be very much behind the curve of the figures revealed in needs assessment! The decades of underfunding cannot be fixed, as the politicians keeping claiming, by throwing a couple
of billion at it. More is, I am afraid, needed, to plug the massive holes created by successive governments.


Happy reading.


Professor Ram Dhillon

Additional Info

  • Authors: Professor Ram Dhillon
  • Keywords: Clinical Focus Primary Care
Read 1394 times Last modified on Monday, 27 June 2016 12:24

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