NHS Pension Changes leading to “Industrial Action”

“Doctors will stop providing non-urgent care for a day next month in the first industrial action by the profession for nearly 40 years.”

The reason behind this strike day is due to pension changes that have been enforced by the government. Doctors feel as though they are unfairly treated as pension age for retirement for doctors rise from 65 –> 68 years of age. Hence it comes as no surprise why the turnout of the ballot was:

“Of those balloted, half responded. Among the main groups of doctors the results were overwhelming.

Some 79% of GPs, 84% of hospital consultants and 92% of junior doctors who responded voted in favour.”

These pension changes that were implemented in 2008 would affect retired doctors by forcing them the highest and greatest earners to increase contributions. Meaning those earning over £110,000 a year will end up contributing 14.5% of their salary to subsidise the lower paid pensions.

So this has caused BMA leader Dr Hamish Meldrum to enforce industrial action. This will take place on the 21st June 2012. It will mean that all non-urgent care will be postponed, i.e regualr GP appointments.

BMA Officials stress that patient safety will not be at risk as all urgent and emergency care will still take place. BMA leader Dr Hamish Meldrum says that “We are taking this step very reluctantly and would far prefer to negotiate for a fairer solution. ”

Source – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-18254499

Duke of Edinburgh Gold

Completed my Duke of Edinburgh Gold Practice expedition that lasted 4 days. It was at the Peak District and involved endless miles of hiking up and down mountains. However, the reason i’m posting this onto the medical blog is because I feel it replicates many essential qualities of a doctor. There were 5 of us in the group, each having been delegated a different role; my role for the expedition was to supply food for the group, breakfast, lunch and dinner. The other 4 members supplied equipment such as tents, stoves, cutlery and other essential items. However, there was huge amounts of teamwork needed for us to complete the expedition safely and efficiently. We all took turns to navigated and as one of us struggled, the rest of the group would intervene and help. We had to take leading roles and make spontaneous decisions regarding what route to take.

However importantly it was the communication skills that were essential to our success on the walk. One of our group members suffered from blisters within the first day of walking, therefore it was up to the rest of the group to ensure that he had less equipment to carry and had many breaks to recover. Having had the first aid kit at hand, we gave him compede plasters that prevented the blisters from getting any worse.

Overall I believe that the expedition taught me the teamwork and communication is vital, especially when you are placed in an unfamiliar location. Hence I feel that it can be reflected to a doctor’s role by the fact that they must learn to communicate with nurses, and other specialists within a hopsital such as anaesthetist.

Update on medical news

The article that has definitely caught my eye this week is the experiment that has undertaken whereby patients that have received kidney transplants did not have to take immunosuppressant drugs. Before, donors and recipients had to be matching in order to the recipient’s own immune system not to attack the foreign organ. However, with the new development of the stem cell, it can alter one’s immune system to facilitate for the new donated kidney.

The idea is that these will help generate a modified immune system that no longer attacks the organ or its new owner.

Although the patients started off with the same anti-rejection drugs, the aim was to reduce these slowly, hopefully withdrawing them completely over time. Five out of the eight patients involved in the trial managed to do this within a year. One of those is 47-year-old Lindsay Porter, from Chicago.

She said: “I hear about the challenges recipients have to face with their medications and it is significant.”

With this promising research and succesful results, it indicates that there is a bright future ahead for the use of stem cells for new treatment. Not only that but it also erodes many barricades that used to prevent many clinical procedures going ahead due to immune system problems. Certainly and advancement in the medical dimenson.


Update on medical news

I recently read an article concerning retinal cell implants into the human eye to help recover from illnesses such as Stargadt’s Disease (inherited) and also Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Scientists have carried out various tests on mice to ensure that the implants are safe. Having had the “green light”, tests have begun on human patients, and have had great results. With two patients both labelled as completely blind via the Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS), both patients are now beginning to regain vision as a response of these retinal cell implants.
Having read this article, I have taken a strong appeal to stem cell research and espicially opthamology. It is amazing how intricate the eye is and that in humans, 90% of data we perceive is visually related. It goes to show the importance of the human eye, and therefore a discovery to regenerated a diseased eye is a breakthrough in modern medicine.

Volunteering – Epsom General Hopsital

My first post on the blog.
This morning, along with many other Saturday mornings, I went to my voluntary work place at Epsom General Hopsital. Here my job is assisting with Epsom “League Of Friends”. Myself along with 2 other students, help to visit every ward within the hopsital to sell newspapers and other essential items that patients may require during their stay at the hopsital.
We have chats with the ones that feel the need to have a bit of company, but our job primarily is to ensure that all patients catch up with their favourite newspaper every week!
I have been volunteering at this post since October 2011, and I shall blog my events every week.
Today, was a surreal experience, there was patient who was in handcuffs and accompanied by a police officer (suggesting that he was a criminal of some sort!). Seeming a bit out of place asking “would you like to buy a newspaper”, however communication should be done with respect and formality.