Monday, 24 September 2007

Dr Ray's 15 minutes of fame

Andy Warhol's portrait of Dr Ray

My description of the Citizen's Jury in Birmingham on the 18th (see previous blog) caused quite a stir and propelled the normally quiet and reclusive Dr Ray into the limelight of publicity.

Events unfolded with amazing speed after the Dr Rant team picked up the story. Within 24 hours all the major medical blogs had reproduced or linked to the story and even the political bloggers and the blogging MP Iain Dale gave it extensive coverage. Three separate threads started on and by Monday one of the threads had reached the top quality postings and the person who started the thread reached the weeks top author. By Monday afternoon, Hospital Doctor had picked it up and included it as top medical blog for the day.

Journalists and politicians were emailed and the word went out to uncover Dr Ray.

Initially almost all comments were supportive. The only exception was one anonymous on Iain Dale blog who complained that Dr Ray misused an apostrophe. Then one or two people pointed out that there was no supporting evidence for the statements in the blog and the early stirrings of the rebuttal unit could be heard. Hints of legal action for defamation of Prof Darzi appeared on even though my only mention of him was to say that he was there. My work colleague answered enquiries from journalists and posted replies on on my behalf asking for some other doctors who attended the meeting to confirm or deny that the blog was truthful but by this evening only two people had come forward to confirm that the notice period was as short as 24 hours and no one who attended the Birmingham meeting had appeared. Is it possible that my colleague was the only independent doctor at the whole Birmingham rally? It was, after all, fortuitous that she was free to attend because she was already on leave.

I think the whole episode is going to be forgotten in a few days. The opportunity to embarrass Gordo at the NuLabour Love-in will pass and the next we shall hear is that "following extensive in-depth consultation with the medical profession and stakeholders we have reached a consensus that the DGH model of care must be modernised to meet the needs of the 21st century" (i.e. closed down and replaced with privately run , profit motivated clinics owned by shysters, spivs and barrow-boys and staffed by Eastern Europeans).

Ara Darzi is doing a Downing Street webchat on Thursday and they are taking questions now. Obviously they will filter out any that might cause embarrassment or need a truthful answer but if several hundred doctors all ask him about his confidence in the consultation process it will presumably be on record somewhere and might come back to haunt them whether they choose to ignore the questions or answer them untruthfully.

Here's a funny thing. The consultant who attended the meeting and started the whole thing is on holiday and not a fan of blogs or the internet so is probably unaware of all the excitement.


Anonymous said...

This story has an eerily familiar ring to it. It is reminiscent of the Your Health, Your Care, Your Say consultation last year.

Here's a story on the sham consultation in 2005:

And the background:

And here's the follow-up FOI request outcome confirming the details.

Dr Ray said...

anonymous, thank you kindly for this but as you can see blogger has chopped off the ends of your links.
I would very much like to follow these links. Do you know how to post them as active links? If not could you post them again with a line break after and I will sort the links out
Regards Xavier

Angus said...

The DoH has admitted it!

A Different Anonymous said...

Re: anonymous 09:21

I don't know if you still need this Dr Ray but I can't resist a bit of public service.

First Link

Second Link

Third Link

and the one from Angus just in case:
Another Link

Dr Ray said...

Thank you "a different anonymous"
It does look like history is repeating itself. They are spending huge amounts of taxpayers money to try and get "evidence" to beat us with when the problems about access etc were of their own making.
It is very frustrating that the mainstream media aren't interested in this and prepared to just repeat the government spin (I'm thinking of Polly Toynbee).
Perhaps Pulse will do another FOI request regarding the selection of participants for the recent rally.

Anonymous said...