Sunday, 8 May 2011

Screening programme a “political” project, surely not?

While once again busily waiting for patients one of us stumbled across a headline from Pulse 27 April 2011 which screamed out “Vascular screening was a ‘political’ project admits DH official” although you will notice that the electronic version of Pulse magazine has a different headline.

Great headline but what about the reality? Now we assume that “vascular screening” was one of the former Party’s great ideas was that too many people were dying from aortic annerysms bursting. Ergo a huge expensive screening program will save countless lives and of course there is the usual expensive but totally useless website which tells you (little) about it here.

The medical stats are if you have a ruptured abdominal aortic anneruysm (AAA or triple A) and get to hospital you have a 1 in 3 chance of survivial but if, your enlarged aortic anneysm is picked up routinely and referred for elective surgery you have a 95% chance of survival.

So for the great health gurus Tony and Gordon, whose years on the frontline of medical care mean that their knowledge of everything transcends all that any who are medically educated like a health care assistant, this means that this has to be a NHS priority, for they are holy beyond all others than Mugabe. For Tony and Gordon are well known for seeing what mere medically trained mortals cannot see for example WMD and the end to boom and bust.

Now we would not suggest that this little idea of screening would be of benefit to the private sector for we all know that there is such a huge surplus of radiological provison of ultrasound scanners in the UK so screening for triple A for a few thousand would clearly never impact on routine provision of ultrasound scans for ill people nor would subsequent repeated annual follow up.

A lot of column inches have been devoted as to how GPs could provide the screening service (for a fee) and the private sector would also be rubbing their hands with glee as many patients have come to surgery clutching leaflets pushed through their mail boxes offering them life saving scans for triple A and numerous other “preventable” diseases for a small charitable donation to ask is it worth it?

Look at this site here, read the propanganda and see the costs which we reckon are more than to see a consultant privately in Northernshire or google private ultrasound uk for more such charitable lifesaving healthcare providers.

Now the curious thing is that there is already a national screening program for aneurysms it is called your GP. Most GPs will pick up anerusyms far more cheaply using a very nontechnical method called examination of the patient using a pair of hands. Now Tony and Gordon will have listened to a sound bite and realised that GPs do nothing and so a national programme was essential.

Hands up any GP who has never found an undetected triple A in 10 years? Of course being GPs we would never have referred them for follow up to a vascular surgeon or checked their blood pressure, cholesterol, or indeed done anything for GPs are not blessed with Gordon or Tony’s medical experience and are therefore thick.

Heaven forbid that a GP on finding a pulsatile lump in a patient’s abdomen and, daring to suspect an aneurysm, would send their patient for an ultrasound which of course proved the GP wrong for the aneurysm was in fact an undiagnosed abdominal tumour which the patient survived despite their GP’s pathetic application of non Party approved medical knowledge.

Returning to the article look what was said to the prestigous gentlemen’s club called the Royal Society of Medicine who have invited most of us at ND Central to become fellows based on our huge contribution to medicine for a small fee (charitable donation).

Someone called Heather White, deputy branch head of the DH vascular programme, is quoted as claiming that the roll-out had been based on a “convincing model but said that the scheme was launched after pressure from the then Labour government”.

She went onto say that “We maybe should have tested and had pilots, but the Government was clear that it believed the information and was happy with the evidence. Preventive programmes were high on the political agenda.”

And furthermore she went on when asked about why the model was not peered reviewed to say “The model was consulted on.” and “If everything had been peer reviewed and we’d done randomised testing it would have been delayed for years.”

Interesting point that political expediancy versus hard science. Or is that how numerous healthcare reforms have been devised and delivered over the years and dumped on the NHS for no benefit. We are absolutely sure here at ND Central that things like that will not be going on now will they?

Praise be to the Party who allow politicians to think up ideas on a whim and implement them with no testing. If drug companies did the same wonder which drug they would come up with? Why bother testing ideas when you can just roll them out as political projects?


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