A little bit of my thunder was stolen today. Y'see, the first thing I read this morning was Michael Gove's reading of the riot act to Catholic educators.
Education Secretary Michael Gove is to examine claims the Catholic Education Service (CES) broke impartiality rules on the topic of gay marriage.
It emerged this week that the CES wrote to nearly 400 state-funded Roman Catholic schools inviting them to back a petition against gay civil marriage.
Schools and teachers are forbidden to promote one-sided political arguments.How, I was going to say, is the department for education any different from the department of health? Not only does the latter allow its satellite bodies - strategic health authorities and PCTs - to campaign on political issues in an extremely one-sided manner (see just two examples of hundreds below), it even provides funding specifically for the purpose.
The reason quoted for educationalists being barred from political advocacy is that children are easily-led by teachers who are seen as being persons of authority and knowledge. As such, they are able to convey their own personal preferences as fact.
Doctors and health professionals are seen in the same light by the majority of the population, yet no similar restriction is placed on them. In fact, the ASA considers it perfectly normal that they should be engaging in political advocacy, despite government in recent years making it clear that they reckon the adult public are all helpless, infantile saps at the mercy of clever advertisers against our will and rational judgement. Isn't that the whole point of their Change4Life and minimum pricing programmes? All initiated, of course, by pressure from 'well-respected' doctors.
However, it would appear that I'm completely wrong.
As a few others have pointed out, it's been reported by the Observer today that - in reality - a majority of doctors surveyed are short-sighted, irresponsible, dribbling idiots.
Doctors back denial of treatment for smokers and the obese
Survey finds 54% of doctors think the NHS should have the right to withhold non-emergency treatmentI'll add a caveat that if any of that 54% have previously been of the opinion that the NHS should be broken up and operated on more actuarial lines with differing premiums - you know, like the private model - they are excluded from the idiot tag. But I'll bet a hefty sum that they are mostly from the same contingent who have been banging on about the NHS Reform Bill and how it could lead to a privatised NHS in the future.
If that proves correct, here we have a majority of doctors arguing like stink in favour of a health service rooted in care for all free at the point of delivery, but simultaneously proposing a selective service based on differing risk profiles to save money ... you know, like the private model.
In which case, I can almost understand why they are exempted from rules of impartiality due to their authority. How can doctors be viewed as having any gravitas whatsoever when they are so consummately dense?
The country has made a contract with the people, beginning 60 odd years ago, that if we are good and pay our taxes - or even if we can't afford it - we will be treated by the state. It's what everyone loves about the NHS. Once you start tinkering with that and running it on different lines, trust will break down very quickly and a lot of people are going to be asking for their money back. Roll the principle out in other areas too and we'll quickly see the end of the NHS as we know it, not that I would personally be weeping as it is long past being fit for the modern age.
Of course, most of the 54% didn't intend that, they're just foolish and downright stupid, but I fully defend their right to use their prejudices to gnaw away at the NHS from within.
Just as an aside, this will come as a superlatively incredible quote for long-standing readers here. Make sure you're sitting down when you read it.
Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, said doctors who back bans "are totally out of order. There's no way that someone who is obese can be denied initial treatment by the NHS – that would be totally unjustified. There are many reasons why people are fat and gluttony is only one of them. The NHS should not be discriminating against fat people purely on the grounds of their fatness. That would be a denial of their basic human rights."Tam Fry shares a seat on the board of the National Obesity Forum with a certain Jane Deville-Almond who holds an entirely different view, as she made plain on Radio 5 in 2009.
So not all National Obesity Forum personnel believe people should "just have to die" if they don't follow orders from the health lobby, then? I suppose that's another positive to be taken from today's ignorant and unnecessary public health agonising.
One day these overpaid dickheads will work out that the best way to save money in the NHS is to stop wasting our taxes and leave us the fuck alone.