Thursday, 5 November 2009

More NHS Choice, Swine Flu and Immunization.

One of the advantages of being involved in medical education is that every now and again you go to meetings and talk to different doctors at different stages of training outside of your own Practice. A few days ago one of us did just that and came back with a rather worrying story.

It would appear that one of the many local hospitals is “encouraging” their staff to have the swine flu immunization.

Obviously an excellent idea of the benevolent Party looking after its own as it says, in one of its briefings for managers, that if you are sick with the dreaded Swine flu then you cannot be allowed to work and look after patients.

How caring is the Party? It is so concerned for the well being of the comrade workers on the frontline that, in order to enable them to continue to care for their fellow comrade patients, it is offering them a free flu jab ahead of all others.

The carrot.

What is more worrying is that staff are being told that, if they do not have the Swine flu jab, and then they dare to be ill with Swine flu, they will face "disciplinary action" for not having had the “voluntary” swine flu shot. If they have the shot and get Swine flu they will not. Same illness, two different outcomes?

The doctor in training from whom we got this little gem in passing also said that managers were prowling the wards at night in the small hours to immunize their staff after these threats. Good stasi tactics there comrade managers.

The stick.

Now we may be old fashioned here at ND Central but we still, as far as we know, have the concept of informed choice in healthcare.

Unless the Law has changed as a result of us here in the UK “democratically” accepting the Lisbon Treaty after the "promised" referendum, a patient has the right, if they are compos mentis, to decline treatment even if it may harm them (assuming no other conflicting law for example the Suicide Act).

Now if any lawyers are reading perhaps we could suggest that rather than sniffing round A&E departments there may be rich pickings to be had here.

Employment Law, European Law, Human Rights Laws surely are being breached here as well as basic medical and nursing ethics and codes of conduct?

What if a patient who is coerced to have a shot gets Guillain-Barre syndrome? A lawyer’s Christmas present in one convenient bundle perchance?

And at what cost then to a local hospital or more importantly to the NHS for the incompentent local managers’ zeal in the face of basic medical ethics and human rights?

Come the New Year we may start to know the success or failure of the Swine Flu pan(dem)ic vaccination program in terms of Guillain-Barre syndrome. We are normally great advocates of vaccination when the science is there but given the fact that a few days ago the local Politburo came to immunize priority staff and less than a third of the doctors took it up does that tell you something?

Praise be the Party for we know it to be all wise.

We hope it rewards these managers with the prize that they will surely richly deserve a one way ticket to their spiritual homeland:

North Korea.

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