I’m not sure what this blog will turn out to be.
At present the aim is to develop it as a record of a little of my own reading across the whole spectrum of medicine that I do as part of my continuing professional development (CPD) as a doctor in the UK so that I can easily access medical information tailored to my own needs anywhere I happen to be (I am a doctor in the UK). Much of the information is hidden in the “private” background of this blog so that I can access it easily when required.
I think, though, that I want it to be more than this. Increasingly, with diminishing resources and demographic change, it is going to be necessary for individuals to take increasing responsibility for their health and their care when ill. The need to become their own “EXPERT PATIENT,” is going to increase. So, perhaps I want this blog also to be a resource for others too, particularly for my family and friends. I hope, in time, as well as documenting much of my own reading for easy access, it will become a portal to many of the most reliable medical resources on the web amongst the background “noise” of other information ranging from the less reliable to downright dangerous.
An ICON somewhere in each post indicates the level of medical terminology required when reading the posts.
I have decided to stay anonymous for several reasons. One is that this blog is fundamentally for the benefit of myself, my family, and those who know me. Secondly, the version of the Hippocratic Oath that I took forbade advertising and I think there was a very good reason for this. I’m not sure that a named blog is not a quirky kind of advertising. So I am simply The Webwhisperer.
I have kept the comments section closed at the moment for several reasons, the main one being that I don’t really expect many people who can’t talk to me in person to read it.
I’ve no idea how often I’ll add information or whether I’ll find documenting everything too much of a burden when time is of the essence.
However, we’ll see.
If others who visit find the information here useful too, then do remember it is just a blog and nothing written here should never be regarded as a substitute for the care given by an experienced medical practitioner who has been thoroughly trained in taking the patient’s history, followed by examination, and doing appropriate investigations leading to an accurate diagnosis. Medical treatment can only be initiated once a diagnosis is made. So, please read the DISCLAIMER carefully.
UPDATE : January 2012
Since this blog was first started, my family circumstances have changed a lot and with that the blog itself is changing. It no longer has hidden information relating to my own continuing personal development as a doctor. Rather, it seems to be becoming a resource of reliable information for my own children, none of whom are medically qualified.
I am rather uneasy about the way the NHS in the UK is going. It is becoming increasingly reliant on protocols guiding members of staff who are no more qualified than my own children to make a medical diagnosis. Furthermore, many “pathways’ are being developed. Some of these seem sensible, but others appear to be a deliberate obstruction between GP and consultant i.e. the GP is, in certain circumstances, not permitted to refer a patient to the consultant of his/her choice, or indeed to any consultant. Instead patients are being diverted to other health care workers who have never been trained in diagnostic skills, and worse still, they don’t recognise they do not have these skills. Indeed a close family member recently was “fobbed off” by the system because it was “necessary” to enter one of these pathways that obstructed direct access from either GP to a consultant or from GP to the appropriate investigation. The Health Care Workers involved (there were several) made a wrong diagnosis. The patient was an outlier whose symptoms did not fit the tick boxes provided. These members of staff did not have the knowledge to interpret these symptoms and signs outwith the protocols they had been given. They should never have been given the responsibility of triaging patients by making their protocol driven diagnosis. The patient suffered several months of severe pain before a final diagnosis was made – out of necessity – in the private sector.
The diagnosis that was missed was a serious one.
I could tell of other similar stories but won’t because they do not involve my family directly.
If this patient from a doctor’s family fell through the system, how do patients fare who do not have a doctor in the family, and perhaps cannot afford £1000 to see a consultant who organised the appropriate investigations in order to make an accurate diagnosis?
This cannot be allowed to go on.
I want this blog to help my own children understand these deficiencies in the NHS and how to recognise them, work their way round them and challenge them if they ever need to.
I want them to understand the great care that the NHS can give too, and hope that care does not slip away with repeated reorganisations as the patient becomes regarded more and more as a commodity that can be bought and sold.
So, from now on, a new icon, a golden egg will be introduced from time to time. This will indicate a conversation with my children to help guide them through a healthcare system that has already failed some of them and other members of the family in various ways on several occasions.
However, I still believe with a few adjustments and much common sense, the NHS could become the best and most efficient healthcare system in the world.
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