Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Staunton-on-Wye School


With political interference and social engineering in state education and with my own children of primary school age, it was inevitable that I would be drawn into campaigning not only for the local district general hospital but also for the local village school.


The school at Staunton-on-Wye, a village close to the Welsh border in Herefordshire, was opened in 1860 and is in a Grade II listed building on three floors. It was originally built with money given to the region by George Jarvis, a local boy who made his fortune in London in the 18th century. The charity still owns the building although the school is now run by the local authority.
The historic buildings and generous surrounding land have served the local children well but are poorly suited to modern safety regulations and inclusion of adults and children with disabilities. Plans were made to move the school to a new building. Land was bought and funds for the new school were secured.
Late last year the local authority announced that it was reconsidering whether to allow the new school to be built because making this excellent school even more attractive to prospective pupils would threaten the viability of less popular schools. Furthermore the local authority argued that demand for school places was generally in decline and wanted to reduce school places by shutting schools.
The logic that a lower standard of state education was preferable to allowing the parents any choice struck me as typical Soviet-style government of the type which gave the lucky folk of East Germany the Trabant car (if they could bribe an official or were in the political ruling class, that is - otherwise they had to wait 15 years). The population trends were based on the 2001 census and have recently been shown to be highly inaccurate and underestimated immigration and the effect of increased birthrate in the indigenous population. We are currently seeing the chaos of this underestimate on midwifery services and we shall see the effect on schools in a few years just as school places are cut.
Deaf to our reasoned arguments the education department is due to announce school closures on the 10th January and we fear the worst.


On the radiology front things have been more positive.
On Monday Gordon Brown announced that the NHS was going to set up screening programs for stroke, heart disease, renal disease, diabetes and aortic aneurysm. Obviously the medical readers will recognise that this is basically meaningless waffle. Screening for stroke, diabetes, heart disease and renal disease presumably means having blood pressure and bloods taken, which I see from a flyer I got with my Clubcard statement this week, is being offered by Tesco for £10 (with a pedometer thrown in) and is already available for nothing from your friendly GP.
Aortic aneurysm screening is more interesting and Gordon was suitably vague. Very large studies published in the last few years have shown screening for AAA is both cost effective (by NHS criteria - less than £36000 per year of life saved) and offers benefit to men in the 65-75 age group. This is only true however if operative mortality is less than 5%. Ultrasound screening of the at risk group is relatively easy - even Mercury Health might be able to manage this with a few hundred imported Eastern European sonographers and it would go some way to compensating them for the loss of the MRI scanning contracts. The treatment of aneurysms however has to be done at a specialist centre with ITU facilities and the extra work would completely overwhelm the system. When I set up Aortascan, our private aortic aneurysm screening service in Hereford, I anticipated that NHS screening would be hyped up and publicised and then inevitably rationed, creating a demand for private scans. This is exactly what seems to be planned. The scans are going to be phased in for 65 year old men some time before 2011. What are the 66-75 year olds going to think about this; after all they are at even higher risk? What about women? The studies are in favour of screening for men but women die of aneurysms too. How is the government going to refuse screening for women without running foul of sex discrimination law and, more importantly for Nulabour, losing popularity?
The Conservative Party website called the announcement "chasing headlines" and allows reader comments on the issue. I am eternally grateful for someone who has posted the information that, instead of waiting for Gordon's largess, private scans are available for £50 at http://www.aortascan.co.uk/
I now have Gordon Brown pumping up demand for our aortic aneurysm screening service and David Cameron carrying an advert for our service on his website! You would have thought, with a team like this behind me, I would be inundated but the only call I had today was a Sun reporter who wanted to interview me. Our hospital corporate affairs director told me to steer clear and despite the lost publicity for our service I thought it was probably good advice. I really don't want any "Hospital Consultants Cash in on Patient Misery" headlines with my photo underneath.

Anyone know what Dr Grumble is up to? He has made his blog private and I don't have permission to view it. Was it something I said?

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Dr Grumble blog has been made open to invited readers only. No one can read it unless they apply to be invited. Who's going to bother?

Dr Ray said...

Dr Grumble has explained his actions on the ferret fanciers blog. He was getting worried that he could be identified and has closed his blog down.
Another loss to the medical blogging comunity. Its very sad. I hope he starts up again under a different name.

PhD scientist said...

Hear hear, Dr Ray.

Was gutted to hear that Dr Grumble is going off-air and similarly hope he re-appears somewhere soon. Hospital Phoenix is also MIA, but thankfully Dr Crippen is back with us.

BTW, the Bad Science blog has been discussing screening, and the misleading and number-free way it gets discussed by politicians and journalists. I have name-checked UK Radiology there so perhaps a reader or two will make their way from there to here.

Dr Ray said...

Well thank you kindly phd scientist. Screening makes a good soundbite for a politician because the arguements for seem obvious and the ones against complicated. I am satisfied that screening for AAA is worthwhile but the benefit is statistical. More people will be helped than harmed. Some people will be harmed. For a large AAA (more than 5.5 cm) the "payback" time if you like is as low as a year and this is one of the best studied screening programs.
The reason politician have shied off is that because of the lack of suitibly skilled vascular surgeons the screening would have to be rationed. It will likely be offered to men aged 65. This will cause an immediate backlash from women claiming sex discrimination and the men between 66 and 75 or 79. I won't even speculate about smoking history; the studies recommend screening for smokers but the people who will demand it most will be the health concious non-smokers. Thus GB may get some brownie points for the announcement (and he will announce it several times more) but he has calculated he won't be around when it is implemented.

精神年齢 said...

あなたの精神年齢を占ってみよう!当サイトは、みんなの「精神年齢度」をチェックする性格診断のサイトです。精神年齢度には、期待以上の意外な結果があるかも??興味がある方はぜひどうぞ

逆円助 said...

さあ、今夏も新たな出会いを経験してみませんか?当サイトは円助交際の逆、つまり女性が男性を円助する『逆円助交際』を提供します。逆円交際を未経験の方でも気軽に遊べる大人のマッチングシステムです。年齢上限・容姿・経験一切問いません。男性の方は無料で登録して頂けます。貴方も新たな出会いを経験してみませんか

精神年齢 said...

みんなの精神年齢を測定できる、メンタル年齢チェッカーで秘められた年齢がズバリわかっちゃう!かわいいあの子も実は精神年齢オバサンということも…合コンや話のネタに一度チャレンジしてみよう

童貞卒業 said...

童貞卒業を考えているなら、迷わずココ!今まで童貞とヤッた事がない女性というのは意外と多いものです。そんな彼女たちは一度童貞とやってみたいと考えるのは自然な事と言えるでしょう。当サイトにはそんな好奇心旺盛な女性たちが登録されています

メル友募集 said...

最近仕事ばかりで毎日退屈してます。そろそろ恋人欲しいです☆もう夏だし海とか行きたいな♪ k.c.0720@docomo.ne.jp 連絡待ってるよ☆

家出 said...

最近TVや雑誌で紹介されている家出掲示板では、全国各地のネットカフェ等を泊り歩いている家出娘のメッセージが多数書き込みされています。彼女たちはお金がないので掲示板で知り合った男性の家にでもすぐに泊まりに行くようです。あなたも書き込みに返事を返してみませんか

動物占い said...

あなたの性格を、動物に例えて占っちゃいます。もしかしたらこんな動物かも!?動物占いをうまく使って、楽しい人間関係を築いてください

家出 said...

家出中の女性や泊まる所が無い女性達がネットカフェなどで、飲み放題のドリンクで空腹を満たす生活を送っています。当サイトはそんな女性達をサポートしたいという人たちと困っている女性たちの為のサイトです

セレブラブ said...

セレブ女性との割り切りお付き合いで大金を稼いでみませんか?女性に癒しと快楽、男性に謝礼とお互い満たしあえる当サイト、セレブラブはあなたの登録をお待ちしております。

夏フェス!! said...

夏フェス一緒に行ってくれる人募集!!夏の思い出一緒につくろぉ☆ megumi-0830@docomo.ne.jp 連絡してね♪

無料ゲーム said...

あなたのゲーマー度を無料ゲーム感覚で測定します。15個の質問に答えるだけの簡単測定で一度遊んでみませんか?ゲームが得意な人もそうでない人もぜひどうぞ。

素人 said...

Hな女性たちは素人ホストを自宅やホテルに呼び、ひとときの癒しを求めていらっしゃいます。当サイトでは男性ホスト様の人員が不足しており、一日3~4人の女性の相手をするホストもおられます。興味を持たれた方は当サイトにぜひお越しください

出会い系 said...

実は出会い系には…関係者用入り口があるのを知っていますか?広告主やスポンサー用に用意されたIDではサクラや業者が立ち入ることが出来ないようになっているのです。当サイトでは極秘に入手した関係者用URLが公開されています

逆援助 said...

男性はお金、女性は快楽を得る逆援助に興味はありませんか?お金を払っても性的欲求を満たしたいセレブ達との割り切り1日のお付き合いで当サイトでは大金を得ることができます。無料登録なのでアルバイト感覚でOK、詳しくはTOPページでどうぞ。

友達募集 said...

ホムペ完成記念!私の事みんなに知ってもらいたくて頑張りましたぁ。色々とご感想をお待ちしているので思った事を意見してください。メアドはほむぺにのせてありますぅ!★ fan.jna@docomo.ne.jp

家出 said...

夏休みで気軽に家出する女子○生が急増しています。しかし家出したはいいものの泊る所やお金が無い彼女たちは、掲示板などで泊めてくれる男性を探す子も多いようです。当掲示板にも夏休みに入ってから通常の3倍以上のメッセージが寄せられています

人妻 said...

今最もアツイバイトは人妻とのセフレ契約です。当サイトではお金を払ってでもセフレがほしい人妻が集まり、男性会員様との逆援生活を待っています。当サイトで欲求不満の女性との出会いをしてみませんか

素人 said...

素人ホストでは、男性のテクニック次第で女性会員様から高額な謝礼がもらえます。欲求不満な人妻や、男性と出会いが無い女性達が当サイトで男性を求めていらっしゃいます。興味のある方はTOPページからどうぞ

友達募集中 said...

少し魅惑な自分をネットだから公開してみました。普段言えない事など、思い切って告白しているプロフなので興味ある方はぜひ除いてみてください連絡待ってまぁす。 hinyaaaaa@docomo.ne.jp

meenutoney said...

In MRI scanning, patients are placed inside a very large and strong magnet, so that all the protons in the atoms of the patient's body can be aligned to a magnetic field.


http://mriscan.blogspot.com