Monday, 28 July 2008

The Hospital Revolution: Doctors Reveal the Crisis Engulfing Britain's Health Service

A BLUE, green and red striped tie is an unlikely totem of rebellion. A growing trend across the country, doctors are officially banned from wearing ties in North Devon District Hospital over fears they spread a deadly superbug.

But orders from above seldom sit well with John Riddington Young, a consultant surgeon with a maverick streak. When he mentions the edict, the tie-wearing 60-year-old with a wraparound moustache grimaces and pulls a pose. Arms outstretched, palms up, it is the picture of complete bemusement.

This may seem trivial, but his exasperation with the outlawed tie extends to the entire National Health Service. Mr Riddington Young, an ear, nose and throat specialist-turned-whistleblower at the Barnstaple hospital, is the co-author of a new book that “presents a vital exposé of the crisis at the heart of the NHS”.

The Hospital Revolution, as it is called, is dynamite. One of the three authors, another consultant surgeon, chose to remain anonymous. “A lot of my colleagues who work in the health service think I'm putting myself in great danger,” says Mr Riddington Young in an ay-up brogue faithful to his Sheffield upbringing.

Having read the book, you can understand their concern for him. The back-page blurb sets out its argument: “The NHS is very sick. Possibly terminally ill.” Over 242 pages, the doctors launch a remorseless attack on NHS managers and targets. It is the administrators, or the loathed “Stasi” (nicknamed after the former East Germany's secret police), that have precipitated the grindingly low morale among hospital workers, from kitchen staff to surgeons.

The management system is a “cancerous growth”, it says.

How so? (read the rest of the article here)