I’m no medical insider, but it’s my belief that, some time during the last 25 or so years, the medical profession got taken over by a bunch of antismoking, healthist zealots. I read a news report to that effect about 10 years ago, saying that the BMA had been taken over by a new breed of radicals. It doesn’t seem to have been reported very much.
Before they showed up, the medical profession’s primary concern was the care and rehabilitation of the sick. But now the primary aim is to prevent people getting sick in the first place. Prevention is better than cure.
And if disease is to be prevented, then the causes of disease have to be addressed. And in the view of the healthists, it’s people’s lifestyles which are the cause of most disease. People get sick because they smoke, drink, overeat the wrong sort of food (food with fat, sugar, salt, etc), don’t get enough exercise, etc, etc. In short, people are their own worst enemies. And if they get sick, it’s invariably their own fault.
I can help but think that, once prevention becomes more important than cure, the care and rehabilitation of the sick must be placed in abeyance. And that, if there’s anything in the stories I read about the decline of the NHS over the past 20 years, it may simply be because prevention has become more important than cure. So while there have been mounting numbers of antismoking campaigns, anti-alcohol campaigns, anti-fast-food campaigns, and so on, there has been a corresponding decline in the care and rehabilitation of the sick in hospitals and surgeries.
I don’t have a doctor these days. I only ever used to go to them to get sleeping tablets. But I found out, when the smoking ban came into force in 2007, that I didn’t need sleeping tablets anyway, and a few slugs of whisky was just as effective. So I haven’t been to a doctor for about 6 years. And it will take something very serious (like one of my legs falling off) to ever get me to go to a doctor nowadays.
But, in my past experience of doctors, hardly any of them ever seemed to be ‘healthists’. None of my doctors ever told me I should stop smoking or drinking or eating fast food. In fact, my last doctor complained about the new “evidence-based medicine” (i.e. healthism) that was coming in.
The only doctor I ever knew who was an antismoking zealot was Dr W, about whom I have frequently written. And he wasn’t a practising doctor for much of his life. I came across his obituary (he died over 10 years ago) a little while back.
Interesting date on which he died. I can only suppose that it was his annual thimble-full of sherry that finished him off.
It seems to have been the likes of Dr W, and Dr Richard Doll, and the infamous Dr George Godber (they probably all knew each other well) who took over the medical profession. And now that these are all dead, they have been replaced by doctors cast in the same mould: Sir Liam Donaldson, Sir Charles George, Sir Ian Gilmore, Dr Vivienne Nathanson, Dr Elaine Murphy, etc and so on. They were probably all greatly assisted by the rise of the antismoking healthist environmentalist politician Dr Gro Harlem Brundtland to Director-General of the WHO in 1998.
These people seem to come from a different background than the ordinary common-or-garden doctor. They have relatively little hands-on medical experience, but are instead mostly bureaucrats of one sort or another. They don’t deal with people, but with policies and programmes. And they believe that prevention is better than cure. And their word is now law, all over the world.
So what happened to all the family doctors and nurses who just want to, y’know, cure people? Most likely something like this:
A retired GP has been suspended from the BMA Welsh Council until 2014 after he questioned the evidence behind the BMA’s campaign to ban smoking in vehicles on BBC Radio.
Dr Brendan O’Reilly, a retired GP, has also had his BMA membership suspended until he provides ‘an acceptable written apology’ to four named BMA members, including Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of the BMA science and ethics committee.
In a hearing held yesterday a BMA Council panel said they considered Dr O’Reilly’s language when describing his opposition to the BMA’s use of statistics on the risks of passive smoking in cars as ‘unacceptable’.
And so, while (in my experience) something like 90% of real working doctors aren’t much bothered about smoking, drinking, eating, and exercise, they are represented in the BMA and RCP by a minority of doctors who are very greatly bothered about exactly those things.
And wouldn’t it be nice to know to which camp your prospective doctor belonged? Wouldn’t it be nice if they had their own medical association which was primarily devoted to curing disease rather than preventing disease. In fact, the association might even be called CURE.
What’s to stop concerned doctors (like Dr Brendan O’Reilly) from starting their own medical association?
Plenty, most likely. Because if the likes of O’Reilly were suspended simply for voicing dissent, then they’d probably have their BMA membership entirely revoked if they joined an outfit like CURE. And steps might even be taken to get them fired from their jobs as well.
Most likely, your average family doctor is trussed and bound like a chicken. There’s nothing that he or she can do. They just have to suffer in silence, while the likes of Gilmore and Nathanson pretend to be their representatives, and to speak on their behalf.
If so, then help must come from outside the medical profession, beyond the reach of those tyrants.
As far as I can see, there’s nothing to stop anyone starting up an association like CURE, and inviting doctors to join it. It might even have its own newsletter. It would be somewhere where the Brendan O’Reillys could go to speak their mind, and meet other like-minded doctors.
And, if respect for the medical profession is tanking like I suspect it is, such doctors will soon be wanting to voice their dissent, even if they daren’t do so now. But right now it would seem that most doctors are simply too frightened to do any such thing.
The other possibility is for people to set up a website called KILL or Name Your Local Nazi Doctor. Founder members would include the usual suspects that I and other bloggers write about. But readers would be invited to submit their own candidate Nazi doctors, and in that manner a dossier of names would gradually emerge. So if the ‘good’ doctors decline to join CURE out of fear of recrimination, the ‘bad’ ones would be publicly named and shamed.
It might help, when people visit their doctors, if they ask them what they think about the prevailing healthist preventionist dogma, and whether they think there’s anything they can do about it. If they think it’s awful, but there’s nothing they can do, they get handed an invitation to join CURE. And if they’re all in favour of it, their names get forwarded to KILL. In this manner, the chaff will gradually get sorted from the wheat.
Something is going to have to be done. In the long term, the medical profession is going to have to be reformed to drive out the healthist tyrants, and prevent (as far as it is possible) the medical profession ever being taken over by their likes again.