Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A consultation with Nanny

Apparently Government ministers have backed a proposal by the Future Health Forum that health professionals should take every opportunity to discuss diet, exercise, smoking and drinking habits, even if completely unrelated to the condition being treated.

Obviously if you have gone to see the doctor and he believes that your particular ailment may be linked to lifestyle factors, he is perfectly entitled to raise the issue. But, if it’s entirely unrelated, then what business is it of his? We’re not (yet) government-controlled drones who are required to conform to the officially-approved lifestyle for the greater good of the hive.

Dr Clare Gerada of the Royal College of GPs, is quite right to point out:

“We already look for opportunities to offer advice, but the idea that every consultation will have to address these four concerns may deter patients from coming in the first place. The discussion must be based on the patient's agenda, and we should prise open these other issues only if it feels appropriate.”
Anything more likely to poison the doctor-patient relationship and deter people from seeking treatment is hard to imagine. Paradoxically, such a move could very well end up making the nation’s health worse, with people only grasping the nettle of seeing a doctor when they’re actually at death’s door.

And I suspect they won’t be asking about participation in dangerous sports, or sexual habits, as that would be politically incorrect. Not that they should do that either, of course.


  1. "They won’t be asking about participation in dangerous sports".

    A boy at my school played a game of rugby with a broken neck (he only found out later his injury was so bad) and was lucky not to be paralysed. Perhaps rugby balls, boxing gloves, and mountain climbing equipment should be placed on a tax escalator with a high starting point and covered with government safety warnings.

    But these activities are deemed to be healthy - generally true - even though they can be very unsafe.

  2. While I hold no brief for Prof. David Nutt, he was probably entirely correct to say that horse riding carries more risks than taking Ecstasy.

  3. A doctor once told me that horse related injuries account for most admissions of teenage girls to A&E.

    I think I'm also right in saying that if you are admitted to A&E and tell them you've had a drink then any injury will be regarded as alcohol related in order to boost figures.

    Oh well, some of us smokers warned the anti smokers that drinkers and fatties were next in line. Fact is, the smoking ban set the precedent for more bullying. As such, those who welcomed it should accept the consequences of their own selfishness and prejudice. Tragic really (and amusing).

  4. Funny, I could have sworn it was Parliament that introduced the smoking ban.

  5. It will never happen. Doctors don't have the time and don't want rows with their patients. Other "health professionals" all weigh at least 12 stone and wouldn't dare lecture anybody on healthy lifestyles.

  6. It's all too easy to say "it will never happen", but a lot of things of which people have said that have happened. You know, like the s*****g b*n.

    Having said that, many years ago I worked in a British Aerospace factory and was involved in reviewing expenditure on the uniforms for the occupational health nurses. They were sizes 16, 18 and 22.

  7. Nev, where did I imply that it wasn't Parliament that introduced it? Just saying that people like you appeared to have welcomed it. And that by doing so, shouldn't be concerned that drinkers are next in line. Believe me, they'll use same kind of junk science, rigged opinion polls etc that will be employed to further wreck the licensing trade. Made so much easier because of the 'success' of the smoking ban. And my, hasn't it been successful? Why wouldn't more draconian alcohol laws produce similar successes. I can see it now - 'pubs are so much nicer now that drinkers are more responsible, it'll much better for the children'. Almost looking forward to it (from a distance of course).

  8. My dear Red Nev
    Parliament forced through the
    (you know what) ban following cosultation with "stakeholders" and interested parties
    One NHS document shows 550 returns
    of observations from the trade of which the "majority were favourable" to a TOTAL ban
    As there WERE over 80,000 licensed venues in the UK we can assume that
    00.68% (less than 1%)were treated as an "overwhelming majority"by
    the ban's suppoters.
    Even North Korea does not stoop to such levels of dictatorial methods.
    Ask this one?
    Does anyone know of anybody ,anywhere at anytime who was asked their opinion on the total ban in pubs.
    Since July 2007 the DRUG BARONS
    have pocketed
    .....£750,000,000 (3/4 BILLION)
    Near 20,000 venues closed
    Near 120,000 jobs lost
    £10 million PER DAY LOST REVENUE
    Number of smokers THE SAME

    The All Seeing Eye

  9. Seems they are proposing taking a leaf out of Cato the Elder's book. Cato rounded off every speech, regardless of subject, with the words "Moreover, I advise that Carthage must be destroyed." Say something often enough and it gets into peoples heads.

    GPs should oppose this, as it takes away their right to treat their patients in the way they judge is best. It really is up to the GPs to object though. It's their freedom of action being constrained. The patient is free to tell them to bugger of and mind their own business.

  10. Looks like many of the commenters above have avoided their GP's for some time now if the digression from the point of original post is anything to go by.

    GP's are already indulging in this behaviour, every time I seem to visit the GP , last time was about something to help me stop snoring, they start to blather on about weight, diet , smoking and drinking. I can only imagine that thsi behaviour, like everything else nowadays is target driven and the GP's get gold stars ( or perhaps pound notes ) for tackling these "issues"

  11. mellorview, weight, diet , smoking and drinking are all factors which influence snoring and sleep apnea. Your GP was right to talk to you about them as they are causal factors of the complaint you presented with.

  12. I think this is already the kind of thing GPs are advised to ask about if it's at all relevant. Last time I saw my doctor he more or less brushed it off, at least where alcohol's concerned - "and your lifestyle's reasonably healthy, you don't smoke twenty a day, you don't drink twenty pints a day..." Interesting that he was implicitly bracketing a fairly normal level of consumption (for a smoker) with a really serious level of alcohol abuse; tough luck on smokers in that practice, good news for drinkers.

  13. Prog - please indicate where I appear to have actually welcomed the smoking ban? In brief, my views are:

    I have consistently disputed that the ban is the sole cause of current pub closures, but it is undeniably one factor among many.

    While the nature of the ban was being decided, I tended to favour the discrete smoking room option, but what I thought then is now quite irrelevant as the existing ban is unlikely to be eased.

    I have always said I don't care if people smoke, as long as I don't have to share their habit. Despite this, I went to pubs before the ban, when the atmosphere was usually smoky despite expensive ventilation systems, and I go to them just as much now. Those who shed crocodile tears about the state of the pub industry while admitting they no longer go to pubs because of the ban are part of the problem.

  14. Nevertheless, you wouldn't support an amendment.



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