Horton fears a coup **

The Lancet is at the very heart of the medical establishment. Its excitable editor is Richard Horton, a man not short of an opinion on Iraq, AIDS, government policy that he objects to, MMR, probably global warming and so on. You get the picture.

Horton’s latest piece is a guilty pleasure, here summarised by the Mail:

Britain’s health services will be thrown into ‘chaos’ by the Government’s reforms and patients will die as a result, the editor of a prestigious medical journal warned today.

The editor of the Lancet, Richard Horton, called for a concerted campaign to overturn the Health and Social Care Bill, which finally completed its parliamentary passage this week.

The Government’s ‘reckless’ move to introduce competition into the NHS will lead to a ‘fragmentation and disintegration of services’ that will hurt those in need, he said.

‘We are about to see a phase of unprecedented chaos in our health services,’ he told the left-leaning Red Pepper website.

‘Those of us who opposed the Bill should not gloat as this confusion takes hold.

‘People will die thanks to the Government’s decision to focus on competition rather than quality in healthcare.

‘The coming disaster puts even greater responsibility on us to overturn this destructive legislation and remove this undemocratic government.’

Dear me.  Horton has such little faith in us NHS doctors, who actually practise medicine, that because of a fairly dull piece of legislation/restructuring, “people will die”.

What is Horton’s own medical career like?

Well, according to Wikipedia, he graduated in 1986 (like The Knife), so one year of old style House Officer jobs to get registered, then he “completed his general medical training in Birmingham before moving to the liver unit at the Royal Free Hospital. In 1990, he joined The Lancet as an assistant editor and moved to New York as North American editor in 1993″

Which means that this goliath of medicine saw patients routinely for a total of around four years, only three of them post-registration. He seems to have last practised in the NHS twenty two years ago. And he’s assuring us that our patients, we who actually do work in the NHS, will die because of a bit of political interference.

What does this moron think has been happening in the NHS since its inception? It’s always been a political football, and always will be.

None of this is to support or condemn the Lansley reforms, as stated in the last post, I’m agnostic on them, thus far. Most doctors will sensibly wait and see. However, even if they’re rubbish, we’re all employed by the state, and in a democracy we have to go along with that, an alien concept to armchair rebels like Richard Horton. Even the dour GP leader, Clare Gerada, has admitted that the show must go on.

With a medical establishment where “senior” figures like Sir Ian Gilmore seriously claim that anthropogenic global warming is the biggest threat to health for the world’s population ***, and Richard Horton shrieks like a spoilt toddler over what is basically a financial restructuring,  a coup, lead in this case by the unlikely figure of Andrew Lansley, is long overdue.

** apologies to Dr Seuss

*** the latest BMJ has an astonishing EIGHT hectoring rants about climate change. What happened to infectious diseases, cancer, trauma etc etc?

NB: The Spectator Coffee House has this nice piece on a similar theme

...take your pick
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