43. Same data, same information – cross-talk!

Half Truth-Misinformation Montage

Accessed at https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Misinformation+images on 12 February 2016

So, what’s happening to our Health Service currently?  Well apart from being very good to me right now, the only major news-worthy item seems to be the dispute between the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt and maybe some Chief Executive Officers in The NHS Trusts, and, of course the Junior Doctors themselves, who have now been informed that they are about to have a new employment contract thrust upon them. This arises because agreement about terms and conditions as well as levels of pay cannot be agreed by the two parties involved in the confrontation, led by The BMA on behalf of Junior Doctors and the Government led by Hunt and his team. What a sad state of affairs? And the more you examine the contentious elements the more you despair.

The Government side claims the Junior doctors are being obstinate about levels of pay whilst the Junior doctors are claiming that the pay package overall on offer is not as good as it seems from headline statistics and more, the terms and conditions changes proposed will make patient safety worse rather than better. So this is an example of the cross-talk I have entitled this piece. Another example arises from talking at cross-purposes about interpretation of the same data and information in one medical journal article.

Probably the most accurate way to illustrate the issue is to let two of the protagonists, a junior doctor, Rachael Clarke, and Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, speak for themselves in interviews held with Andrew Marr and then uploaded to the social media web site YouTube.

Rachel Clarke, responding to Jeremy Hunt’s further misinformation campaign, especially re weekend increased mortality (suggested 11,000 extra deaths – though he continues to deny his own words should be interpreted this way) and morbidity (?) data being caused by Doctor rostering in an interview with Andrew Marr.


Junior Doctor Interview Rostering

Andrew Marr interview with Jeremy Hunt – a very slippery eel in the river or sea!

Accessed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoJ6NLLku-0 on 9 February 2016.

Jeremy Hunt Andrew Marr Interview

Surely, it is time to have some grown-up decision-makers to assist those who appear to be too close to the action to see that they are part of the problem and not the solution? To me, an independent arbiter (whatever happened to ACAS?) seems to be required to examine the disputed ‘factual’ material and declare who seems to have presented the most accurate version of what it means, and then to recommend a course of action to bring the two parties caught in cross-talk to come back together and to make as a guideline for discussions that cross (angry now) talk should be banned, and be replaced by mature, reasoned, sensible arguments where if budget restraints prevent the Government from making a significant input into creating fully functioning 7 day a week health service they must say so.

A full service requires more than just Junior Doctors to be more available than already. Lab technicians, nurses, Radiographers, administrators and so on, as well as more Consultants will be required to really get a fully staffed service that can provide a similar level of service at weekends as that provided during the week. Acknowledging this would certainly be honest and fair, and also take away what appears to me, as a ‘blame-culture’, aimed at Junior Doctors, for any of the short-comings of the current on-call-based weekend service. That is not fair.

That’s all folks.  Bye for now!



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