The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Fidelio is back!

Best: "Leaders in medicine working to safeguard the future of medicine"

Good to see you are back Prof Brown et al :-)

'Come hope, let not the last bright starIn my anguish be obscured!'

The spy who loves me ...

“The innocence that feels no risk and is taught no caution, is more vulnerable than guilt, and oftener assailed.”

Others have their own doctor, their own hairdresser, chauffeur, etc ... even butler if you can afford it .... but, I am a bit different! Because .. I, have my own spy! ...... I actually managed to get me my own hacker! ... and, he won't let go! ... I am falttered ... but,

Last time when my spy paid me an unannounced visit to this site somehow, they changed the image on the top of my blog. It used to be the full face of an ancient Egyptian queen who had big black eyes but my spy decided they didn't like big black eyes, that it was best to only show the mouth and nose instead ... then went ahead and cropped the image themselves! ... Dumbfounded ... but, I liked it, very much; Sam speaks, so Sams's mouth shows, no need for the eyes if you want to remain anonymous! It made sense! ... This is why 'their work' remains to this day ......

Politely, I made the point to say thank you my spy .... and I meant it because there was no harm done ... and, I did like the 'alterations' .... :-)

... I never heard from my spy again until last week, when I began to get amazing error messages telling me that every single programme I happen to be using needs to shut down! My PC is fairly recent, has good specs and does have anti everything software ... But this did not help. Little by little, the messages became more and more frequent and really bizarre in content; at one time displaying a smiley face before turning my computer off! ... deteriorating rapidly (MTAS style), I had no idea what to doooo and my computer just rebooted every time I tried to turn it on, displaying a blue fatal screen at the end .... and my PC became no more :-(

My PC doctor told me today that my CPU, which he found melted down at the edges and was stuck to the fan because of intense heat, had had a fatal attack! ... Then my PC passed away due to the sudden stroke because of the excessive heat ...... Consoling me, my PC doctor told me that the symptoms were typical of 'malicious ware', an intruder software programme that was designed to instruct my poor CPU to constantly work at over the top speed and at maximum capacity, hence the melt down and the fatal stroke!

..... RIPieces, loyal and much loved PC :-( ..... the PC doctor has now removed the hard disk and the memory and my PC will rest in its final resting place at our local 'dump' sometime this week ..... It, will be greatly missed ...

I am now using my laptop to access the net, but ... guess what? .... the 'symptoms' are beginning to reappear here too ......
Hence my plea to my spy

Please stop spying on me and ruining my computers. Believe me ..... spying and hacking me is not, and will never be, classified as an achievement! No ego boost possible here, unless .... you are that desperate of course! But, I am sure you are much better than this so, why satisfy yourself with so little when you can achieve much, much more?!

Like I say to my own children, NEVER satisfy yourself with mere competence but, always, always ... aspire to excellence ... at anything you do ... Always, show what you are made of, your true caliber ... When you dream, dream big .... and when you aim aim 'high' and higher, higher ... ;-)

My spy, better go hack a 'worthy' of your 'talent' cause instead ... Wait a minute, ... I hear that your fellow 'professionals' are all busy having a go at a ... is it ' spine?' .... so ....

If only I had your abilities ... ;-)

I would show you a thing or two my spy ...

Meanwhile, anyone out there (including you my spy) have any 'fix' for me? ... Before I go down?

Pleeeease ... :-(

“Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully ......”

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Monkey see, monkey do ..

“I am not nearly so interested in what monkey man was derived from as I am in what kind of monkey he is to become.”

Sir Tooke said that it is not enough for doctors to be just 'competent ' if Britain wants to maintain the tradition of being a world leader in medicine and medical innovation. The reason why he named his report 'Aspiring to excellence' because he wants every doctor to have the opportunity to always aim higher for the benefit of their patients. Of course our doctors are only used to excellence, it is all they know since the day they were born! If they were just average with average potential, they would not have made it to doctors to start with. So, is it wise to change the habits and attitudes of those who are used to aspiring and have a 'proven' track record of achieving excellence to just be satisfied with stopping at mere competence? Those who always reach for higher and higher are dreamers, the reason why they reach places others can not reach ... because those others do not have the abilities to dream as wild or reach as high! How can you then demand from those wild dreamers to stop dreaming?! What do you do with those wild brains then?! ... and, were would humanity be without those wild minds and their wilder dreams?! .... Stuck in the stone age?!

To this day, Egyptologists, experts and scientists study the mystery of the ancient civilization of the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. Every now and then those experts come up with a different explanation of why, for example, the Pyramids were built. Were they mere burial grounds? Or, they were also amazing physical and astronomical structures of a type not yet known to the modern man? No one knows yet the reason why, for instance, that if you hang a tomato on a string and place it in the main chamber of the largest Pyramid of 'Khofo' in a certain point and at a certain angle, then leave it for a few months, you will return and find that the tomato has not gone bad or even dry or shriveled !... Meaning, it hasn't aged at all! Not by one minute! In doing so, it had defied our current rules of both, time and gravity! The concept of the 'impossible' according to the current 'advanced' knowledge of ours, the 'modern' man! ... yet the ancient Egyptians had 'visions' we can not comprehend to this day! Because we can't see what they saw all this time ago ... in some ways, we've yet to dream what they dreamt of those thousands of years ago!

Modern physicists believe there are many more dimensions than the three we are aware of, that the universe itself is multi-layered ... that our universe is indeed a fractal of an infinitive number of a much bigger non-ending 'thing' that we can not comprehend because it is only in the form of calculations and never ending equations scribbled on endless rolls of paper by all those crazy physicists! ... Will, maybe one day one of those crazy scientists will prove that the Pharaohs are still around! Perhaps living happily in one of those layers of space upon space somewhere in a fourth or even infinitive dimension, Probably looking at us now trying to solve mysteries that we think happened thousands of years ago while in fact, they happened only yesterday .. or even, haven't happened yet! But we think so because we are both swimming in a bubble! In infinity .... Then again, could there be anything 'larger' than infinity, the immesearable? ..... Crazy dreams ..... amazing science ....

Or maybe we are all fools for how can we prove them right or wrong anyway .....

maybe some day, someone, somewhere, will dream the same dream and wake up to solve the mystery and tell us all how the tomato trick works! ... some day .....

Man kind would have never evoluted from monkey had we humans been satisfied with achieving mere competence in what we do, had all human brains been synchronised to just learn how to hit two stones to light a fire!

Protect individuality, innovation and and the aspirations of those who know what excellence is and what it means for the whole of humanity!

Competence is not enough, beware of synchronised brains, they are limited and limited IS dangerous!

“If one synchronised swimmer drowns, do all the rest have to drown too?”

Monday, 24 March 2008

Breaking the wall of silence

“They see only their own shadows or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave”

Both, consultants and he Gps are on the golf course spending their obscene earnings of five figure sums plus and not giving the poor tax payer value for money! Terrible! The consultants should therefore be stripped of all autonomy, authority and new consultants be stuck in middle grades and be paid less! And, GPs, work more hours or be replaced by American sharks who are 'kinder' to the British patients! It's what the patients want, isn't it? Well. the consultants and the GPs are highly trained professionals and can fend for themselves or just depart the NHS, 'do a dentist' as they say or rebel if they can no longer tolerate the pressure.

The juniors can not do a dentist nor can they rebel because they 'need' the NHS, at least until they qualify as consultants and GPs. That is 'if' they will be allowed to finish their training and qualify! Not the case of course these days! The young doctors of today are under unimaginable and unprecedented stress, fighting for their right to mere survival in a profession they dedicated their whole to serve and have been preparing for this role for all of their young lives! And we all know, there are no jobs for many of our sons and daughters, no opportunity for them to even try to fulfill their dream. This is so unfair and is a great injustice!

Why is everybody so silent then?! That is, everybody apart from the heroes of Remedy UK? They have been working so hard for the juniors since the fiasco of 2007 and only last week, they held a rally in front of the Houses of Parliament and lobbied many MPs afterwards resulting in questions being asked that same day in the commons. But around 40 people only attended on the day! So, where were all the supporters then?! Remedy UK does not publicize that its founders are doing all this work unpaid; for free! The only benefit they are after is justice for all the juniors now caught in the recruitment debacle and may face career termination unless Remedy fights on their behalf! There was no one else, so those young doctors put their own livelihoods on the line to defend their fellow juniors and preserve the profession they love and are wholly dedicated to! In short, they are proper heroes!

Please support Remedy UK so that they can continue to support you

Another hero who can not keep quiet and is forever vocal when everybody else keeps silent is Mr Bernard Ribiero, the Head of The Royal College of Surgeons, who never misses an opportunity to voice his concern for the thousand of the young aspiring surgeons who may face career termination because of the lack of posts, particularly at higher level. Since before MTAS, he warned the government of the looming disaster and demanded more posts for his surgical trainees. He then walked out on the Douglas Review board last year when they would not consider repeating the very flawed round 1 of MTAS, etc,etc, and of course, one can't forget how well prepared he was at the Health Select committee meeting, he even prepared a folder for the panel containing all the documents they would need for their own report on MMC ... BTW, where is that report and why is it so very late?! Ribiero never misses an opportunity to keep the issue of the lack of opportunity for his trainees in the public domain
. This good man's resolve does not falter as he keeps on fighting any which way he can and continuously warns of the loss of talent this country will suffer if no more jobs are created for his trainees to save them. Another true hero.

I had high hopes that the current Secretary of State for Health will do more to save the juniors who may lose out this year. I felt so because he has already helped protect British graduates as well as trying to grant priority for the Brits through the House of Lords. But, I was a bit dismayed when he did not answer Andrew Lansley MP's question in the commons which was put forward by Remedy UK on 18 March 2008. He was asked if it was fair that many doctors, who have been working and serving in the NHS and are now 'midway' through their specialist training, will lose out this year and may face career ruin? But, Mr Johnson evaded the question! Instead, he spoke about architects and lawyers as well as other professionals not being granted a job at 'the end of their training!' Lansley shock his head but did not get a chance to get a relevant answer! I wonder, is it possible that Alan johnson is not aware that the threatened doctors are actually midway through training and can not work anywhere else but the NHS? Unlike the lawyers and the architects who have already 'finished' their training? We need to let Mr Johnson know the difference then ... He asked for individual cases to be presented directly to him and I personally can't see why can't the parents of those affected write to him as well ... even anonymously if they prefer .... Let's raise the man's awareness of the issue ...

Of course, I have written about the juniors pay before, then today I found this!

So, not only are the juniors fearful for their future careers in medicine but those who are 'lucky' to get jobs and work day and night to serve their patients to the best of their ability will most probably not be able to earn a decent living to support their own families and reward them for their hard work and dedication as well as their never ending aspiration to excellence!

We can't keep quiet anymore, we need to regroup if we are to break this new government tactic; the wall of silence, while our sons and daughters are pressured from every direction. They do not deserve this injustice!

We must all become vocal again, very loud. Let's properly support Remedy UK in its fight for the juniors rights ... and populate it's all now so quiet forum. Let's voice our opinion when there is a media article we can leave a comment on, regroup mums4medics and write letters to our MPs and the media, specially The Telegraph and channel 4 who supported the juniors issue last year. We need to draw everybody's attention again and I know we can do it, team work .. together.

Let's wake up, get out of bed ..... and break this new tactic; the wall of silence!

because there is so much at stake! Our sons, our daughters and the whole of British medicine!

“Consider the momentous event in architecture when the wall parted and the column became.”

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Happy Easter .... :-)

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.”

Spring is here .....

May your days be sunny and bright

Happy Easter .......


“Expect to have hope rekindled. Expect your prayers to be answered in wondrous ways. The dry seasons in life do not last. The spring rains will come again.”

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

....and, I was late!

Claude Monet's 'silhouette' of the Houses of Parliament surrounded by fog

.. But it was not a foggy day so, how did I lose my way trying to arrive on time for Remedy UK's lobby?! Well, first, I took the train going in the opposite direction, then, for some reason, I went to Portcullis house instead .. and arrived to where Remedy was after the speeches were done! ... But, I was still able to meet some very nice people that I have come to know on the Remedy forum since last year as well as Dr Chris and Dr Richard of Remedy UK.

Of course, the majority of the juniors do not know the result of their application to specialty training yet, unlike last year when the sheer anger following MTAS made 12,000 doctors decide to march to voice their discontent. Since there is no MTAS this year and the results will not be all known at the same time, the majority of applicants are at the moment preoccupied by the outcome of their application which will probably not be known for a few weeks yet, hence, attendance was lower than expected. Nonetheless Remedy and mums4medics were still working hard for the juniors and were able to get a few questions asked in the commons today regarding the thousands of doctors who will be jobless at the end of this years recruitment as well as the current locum shortages.

With the assistance of Lindsey Cooke, the founder of mums4medics, I tried to lobby my MP but despite waiting for more than an hour, I found out he was not there at the end! This was a new experience for me so, thank you Lindsey for taking the time to show me the how and where and I will do things better next time, I promise :-)

I also had the pleasure of meeting Cathymac, a parent I have come to know on the Remedy UK forum. I sincerely wish her son all the best in his application this year ... I am optimistic and feel he will, fingers crossed.

I don't know why but I feel more optimistic this year despite the published competition ratios. For some reason, I feel that the current Secretary of State for Health will not allow the fiasco that happened during the rein of his predecessor to happen again, so .. let's all hope I am right.

Oh, yes, after a good and very enjoyable tour of the houses of Parliament admiring the absolutely majestic internal architecture ... I got lost again on my way back home ...

But, the car addict has now got a newly accquired Oyster card and will be using it, a lot ... sightseeing the beautiful architecture of beautiful, beautiful London ... :-)

Thank you for a wonderful day Remedy UK .. and ..

Forward Remedy UK -------> Always :-)

“We all have our time machines. Some take us back, they're called memories. Some take us forward, they're called dreams.”

Monday, 17 March 2008

Remedy's rally and Parliament lobby tomorrow

“What we earnestly aspire to be, that in some sense we are”

Just a reminder, Remedy UK's rally starts at 11.00am and mass lobby of Parliament starts at 2.30 pm tomorrow 18 March 2008

The event will also be attended by the parent group
Mums 4 Medics

Doctors, Go get your right to aspire to excellence

See you all there

“Convince a man that he is an animal, that his own dignity and self-respect are delusions, that there is no 'beyond' to aspire to, no higher potential self to achieve, and you have a slave. Let a man know he is himself, a spiritual being, that he is capable of the power of choice and has the right to aspire to greater wisdom and you have started him up a higher road.”

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Fearing the unknown ...

“The best morale exist when you never hear the word mentioned. When you hear a lot of talk about it, it's usually lousy.”

We have a full house tonight because my son invited a 'few' friends from uni to stay over. All of them are medics, either in the 4th year or are currently doing their intercalated BSc and will return to medicine for their year 4th year in September. The group spent the whole day out 'Londoning' then, returned home late for the very cold from the long wait dinner and lodge afterwards.

We got talking while they ate and I asked them what they thought a future in medicine holds for them? I was not surprised when all faces turned somewhat serious and a little worried. Of course, all of them are aware of the current situation regarding the specialty training 'competition ratios' ... only. Although I did not hear lots of optimism and hopes of a bright future, I felt they were mostly unaware that they may end up not being trained for a specialty at all! That is seven senior medical students and non of them thought they may have to leave medicine completely at some point or work in non training post in the future. ,The majority believed that if they are not suited to the specialty of their choice on first application, they would be suited the following year, otherwise, they would have to consider changing specialty, in which case, a place would be, more or less, guaranteed.

Of course, as Professor Morris Brown said before that British graduates were always suited one way or another ... up to arrival of MMC.

You could tell they were worried, that they thought about this for a long time but do not have enough knowledge to form a clear picture of the current situation. They were aware .. ish about what MTAS did last year, to them MMC is about proving competence, communication and teamwork ....

They were all confused and had no idea why they were choosing to do what they are currently doing either!

Three of the students have decided not to intercalate a BSc and they decided not to do so because they think that they can do a bit of research instead or an MSc after graduation and while working. Those were also aware that MTAS awarded only 1 point for a BSc, so, why bother?!

Those who are doing their BSc this year were also aware but very unhappy about MTAS not recognising the hard work put into a further year of study. However, they do not have a valid reason for doing this extra degree. They just think it is a 'good' idea to do it! .. Amazing, isn't it?!

I have always found this extra BSc baffling myself and have never had a convincing reply from any young doctor as to why intercalate another degree in such a hard and long course like medicine?! What is the point exactly? Aren't 5 long years followed by life long postgraduate study enough?!

That said, what I found really surprising is that non of the medical students nor even my F1 daughter were aware that there is something called 'a trust or career grade!' No idea at all. Of course, my little newly 'acquired' knowledge about career or trust grades is very limited and I did not want to give them the wrong information so all I said was that these were doctors who do not progress to consultant or GP. "So, what do they do?" asked one of the medics and you know what, I haven't got a clue! ..

What do trust grade/career grade/associates do?

I did read about their new contract on the BMA site but I have no idea about the role they play, the work they do or their career progression, apart from the latter being 'a dead end' as I always hear.

I, of course, would be grateful for some explanation anyone please.

... and, how come 4th year medical students do not know about the different career paths of their own future profession?!

Is there no career officers in medical schools?! ... I am really amazed at the career unawareness I witnessed tonight but , more important, it was sad to see young people with such low morale instead of hopes and aspirations for a bright future ...

“When you have come to the edge Of all light that you know And are about to drop off into the darkness Of the unknown, Faith is knowing One of two things will happen: There will be something solid to stand on or You will be taught to fly ..."

Friday, 14 March 2008

E-mail your MP, says the BMA ...

“Originality is nothing by judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.”

Remedy UK's mass lobby of Parliament is on Tuesday 18th so, I hope many junior doctors will attend even if they have not contacted their MP as Remedy is also holding a rally and wants everybody to attend, medics or not.

It seems that the BMA also likes the idea hence, it has started it's 'own' campaign to safeguard medical training by implementing recommendation 47 of the Tooke review. Doctors can send their MPs an e-mail directly from the BMA's site too.

Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of Council at the BMA, says:

"The quality of doctors' training should not be left to the vagaries of financial management in the NHS, or political point-scoring. Ringfenced budgets, and a new independent body are obvious steps that would do much to improve the way doctors are trained. If the government makes these decisions now, it will be hugely beneficial t
o the NHS. If it does not, it will be to the ultimate detriment of patient care."

According to Dr Rant, The secretary of State for Health was recently invited to dinner by the BMA. I wonder if this subject was raised during this dinner? But, even if it was, it seems the outcome was not very satisfactory ... Unless the dinner is happening sometime in the future of course ...

Does this mean the BMA will be mass lobbying the Parliament this coming Tuesday with Remedy UK?

“People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out.”

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Coming out of the 'smoking' closet

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”

Today is the National no smoking day so, my very best wishes to those who genuinely 'want' to stop smoking. I hope it will be easy and quick for them to stop once and for all.

But, what about those smokers who 'do not' want to stop smoking? Of course, unlike 30 odd years ago when smoking was somewhat 'fashionable', it is now taboo to 'admit' that you are a smoker! Well, I have decided to come out of the closet ... I do enjoy a cigarette, or two, or three and I do not want to stop smoking. My body, my health and my life which I am supposed to be ruining, isn't it? ...

I do not want to stop, never did and never will. I know the health dangers attached to smoking and don't really mind. I do love life and, on the whole, I think life loves me too for it has been reasonable with me so far, although those who know me say that I believe so because I may be a bit forgetful ... Maybe .. I can't remember ..;-) So, it may seem like strange logic but, it is this love of life which is my reason for not wanting to try to stop smoking ... Strange logic?

Not really, if I feel, on the whole, happy with what life has given me so far, why be greedy and ask for much more? No need to change things and not wise to even try .. Or the consequences may be dire. So, no point in the non ending attempts I see others go through to quit something they do not really want to quit but have to because others tell them that they have to.

They tell you that if you don't, you will get all the diseases in the world and your end will be neigh. Of course, fear is the strongest human emotion and hence, those who constantly try to give up without success are torn apart by their desire for something on the one side and fear on the other! Not a very happy life to prolong IMO. We will all have to die one day and there will be a cause that will be a reason for our dying. So, to me, it is not really worth it to spend my life in a miserable vicious circle of my own making being obsessed by the non ending attempts of trying to give up something that I enjoy just because I am being told to do so.

Then again, is the non ending attempts fair on the family? The moodiness and constant cravings do cause depressive symptoms for a long time from what I have been told by those who tried to stop .. and are still trying. Why put one's loved ones through this? Selfish, I think.

IMO, it is better, and wiser, to be happy for a smaller number of years than be caught in a miserable circle for the sake of a longer life.

Dare I say then that I prefer to have a shorter happier life doing exactly what I want to do rather than a very long miserable life doing what others impose on me to do? ... Then again, I never smoke in the company of my family or others anyway, the reason why I also don't really mind the ban on smoking in public places. I do not want to impose my way of life on anybody and do not want others to impose theirs on me, fair.

Now, what to do with the 'kids?' ... Nor they nor their father smoke but ever since they became medics, they have taken it upon themselves to stop mum smoking. When they are at home they hide my cigarettes and when they are away, they phone me with the smokers horror stories they see in the hospital .... It seems that all hospitals are now dedicated hospices for anyone who ever touched a cigarette ... all of these patients die one after the other a really painful and miserable death too! Poor, poor things :(

So .... Like every other National No Smoking Day, I have my brand new .... air freshener ... for the bathroom ...

La resistance! ... hushshshshsh!

.... and kids, I have some news for you ... Mum is no Saint

“A halo has to fall only a few inches to become a noose”

Monday, 10 March 2008

.... :-)

“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun

No news, might as well smile ...

Sunday, 9 March 2008

The imprisonment of talent

“Innocence is lucky if it finds the same protection as guilt”

The results of the first round of the 2008 junior doctor recruitment are beginning to come out as I said in my previous post and again, as was the case last year, many candidates have multiple interviews and multiple job offers, while loads of excellent candidates with shinning qualifications and credentials as well as glowing references got nothing at all.

Since the shambles of 2007, I have always wondered how the selectors choose who to invite to interview and who to offer a training post? How do they decide that a candidate is not even worthy of being asked to attendance, at least, to be given a chance to present and prove themselves. The selectors last year said they didn't see the whole of the MTAS application form but only sections of it. Hence, the selection was flawed and many a bright applicant with genuine ability, compassion and commitment were begrudged the chance to prove their caliber. The result? MTAS not only ruined careers of bright, committed and potentially brilliant young doctors but controlled the lives of whole families ever since! ... and, despite it being killed,

No cure found for the never ending nightmare! the monster won't go still! ...

Despite being no MTAS this year, why are so many FY2 doctors not getting even one interview in round 1 of 2008?! Why are we still hearing that 'some' have lots and others have nothing?! What was the deciding factor for shortlisting and was it, is it fair?!

Why didn't the deaneries 'coordinate' their work to ensure 'all' candidates have a fair chance?!

Co ordinate???!!!! ... Are you kidding?! ... Dream oooon ...

I thought lessons were learned from 2007, that, at least, some co=ordination will be in place then some information would be posted on the MMC website to tell the applicants about the progress of the selection process, some organisation ... some anything! .. But, like in 2007, there is nothing .. apart from the celebrations for the new members who joined their team!
Nothing on the deanery sites either! Nothing apart from a huge wall of silence for the poor applicants ... this is the only thing that is ... NEW!

I know of one applicant who is currently an FY2 applying to Core training, she has no interviews. She told me that she applied to different deaneries but heard nothing from them since, except for one deanery who sent her an e-mail to inform her that her score was 7 while the minimum score for shortlisting was 10. At least this deanery had the courtesy to send her candidates an e-mail to save them the misery of hoping and waiting for nothing, when the other deaneries do not even care to do the same when it costs them absolutely nothing! That deanery, however, did not include any information on how her application was scored and the young doctor was wondering where did she go wrong? I have known this beautiful inside and out young lady for a while now and, to me, she is everything you want a good young doctor to be, top education with all the frills, top personality, dedication, integrity, commitment, compassion ... you name it, she's got it ... so, what went wrong then?!

Why wasn't she, and others like her, given the opportunity to prove herself and show their caliber?!

I mean, I can 'somewhat' understand if she was invited to an interview and perhaps did not do well, which I doubt would have been the case .. but to be discarded in this inhumane fashion without even ONE chance to prove what she is made of is the utmost of cruelty IMO ... She told me that the majority of her friends were in the same boat with not even one single interview!

We know there isn't enough posts for all applicants especially at higher levels, but we also know there is enough ST1/CT1 to suit all graduates from British universities ...

Where have all these posts gone then?!

Have they been kept back awaiting the lords decision regarding the IMG situation? Hoping to secure priority for British graduates? Will these posts re-appear in round 2?

If this is the case, why don't someone declare so on the MMC site, if only for the sake of mercy! To spare the young people concerned and their families the agony of despair!

If this is not the case, what will become of all those FY2 doctors if they are not suited in round 2? Those all 'new' product of the all too 'humane' Massacring Medical Careers?

Where is the promise of milk and honey MMC?!!!

MMC says:

"Unsuccessful Foundation doctors will get counselling to change career and/or be supported for a further year of training to try again in 2009"

Based on what?! From what I know and what I hear, those who did not get any interviews are bright doctors with 1st class qualifications, prizes, characters, attributes .. and shinny glowing references from their 'elders!' Of course, the same happened last year when loads to 'top class' applicants lost out because they all applied to top jobs whose numbers were very low! ... AND, they have not failed any test! They weren't even invited to 'one!'

NO ONE is even aware those top class young doctors EXIST!

So, why is MMC suggesting "Counselling" for top applicants?! Suggesting "Career termination" for top applicants?! Suggesting "a further year of training" for top applicants with glowing results and references?!

Is this how 'excellence' is rewarded nowadays?!

Those talented young doctors were accused, sentenced and put behind the 'exclusion' bars ... for no reason ... without even their 'right' to be innocent till proven guilty ... as is always the 'legal' right of everybody, even the most hardened of criminals!

... and the injustice continues .... :-(

“No cause is helpless if it is just. Errors, no matter how popular, carry the seeds of their own destruction.”

Thursday, 6 March 2008

I, have an aptitude ...

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Every day I visit many websites looking for any information on the 2008 specialty recruitment but there isn't much these days, just a wall of deafening silence .... no news today but I found this on the MMC website on their FAQ page:

"What is the best way to make a choice of specialty and pick the best jobs to apply for?
......... There are computer-based models and questionnaires available on the web which assign personality types and traits to different specialties. However, this is an area of some controversy and such questionnaires should only ever be taken as a rough guide to choosing a specialty."

So, off I googled for these test and found this one here. It has 130 questions, so, I had a go! Here are my 'aptitude' results:

Rank - Specialty

1 urology
2 thoracic surgery
3 general surgery
4 plastic surgery
5 psychiatry
6 preventive med
7 orthopaedic surgery
8 aerospace med
9 radiology
10 physical med & rehabilitation
11 pediatrics
12 pathology
13 otolaryngology
14 occupational med
15 ophthalmology
16 obstetrics/gynecology
17 nuclear med
18 neurology
19 neurosurgery
20 rheumatology
21 pulmonology
22 nephrology
23 med oncology
24 infectious disease
25 hematology
26 gastroenterology
27 endocrinology
28 cardiology
29 general internal med
30 family practice
31 emergency med
32 dermatology
33 colon & rectal surgery
34 anesthesiology
35 allergy & immunology
36 radiation oncology

I am not a doctor and the only general surgery I do is on a poor Tesco chicken, but, when I was younger, It was my dream to become a doctor and I didn't make it. Had I become a doctor, I would have never considered surgery, ever .. knives are not for me but would have probably preferred Gastroenterology, maybe Hepatology in later years, who knows. I still read a bit of medicine every now and then and gastro is a field that I still find fascinating to this day ... But, look! Gastro is number 26 on 'my' aptitude test! What does this prove then?! Are these tests for real?! Not at all, the are just a bunch of psychoanalysis rubbish IMO

I do not believe in aptitude tests or the 150 word story 'white boxes' MTAS used last year to differentiate between applicants, or any other such 'improvised' cr*p fabricated by a group of mindless individuals who are, most likely, on Prozac themselves. I believe in a good old CV with a proven track record and a 'good' face to face interview before making decisions the result of which may make or break and change lives and livelihoods for ever, for life.

Professor Shelly Heard said at the HSC that the London deanery has been using the white boxes for the past decade and still does. That they have used the 150 questions 'successfully' for that long. I do not understand how she quantifies this success? Has a research been done to compare the 'quality' of those appointed who were required to fill the white boxes against others who were also successful but applied with CVs only? This is one piece of research that needs urgent commissioning IMO. Then again, how will the London deanery differentiate between those who filled the boxes themselves, those who turned to their consultants, who maybe assessors or to family and friends for help and those who paid £300 - £500 to have the boxes 'professionally' filled?! Wouldn't this lack of proof invalidate the results of the answers as a trustworthy tool to select?

When in doubt, don't (Benjamin Franklin)

I believe the white box culture is discriminatory and will always favour those who, either have the advantage of a degree/diploma/ A level/genuine interest in the English language or cheats! Those who are willing to pay professionals to have this part of the application filled for them. Of course anyone who grew up in a multi lingual or less educated working class households will always be disadvantaged, hence the stark discrimination IMO ...

In the interest of fairness, what is wrong with a good structured CV?! Isn't it a better .. and fairer indicator of achievement, ability as well as character and attributes? ... the rest, including all the psycho rubbish is just hot air IMO.

If anyone else knows better, please convince me :-)

But, I had a go at the 'game!' Have a go at it yourself, see how you score ... It would be interesting if seasoned consultants had a try to see if they have the 'aptitude' for what they have been doing for decades but, I am ready to bet my last penny they won't, .. not according to the 'aptitude' test .. try it ... for fun

MMC should not have included this advice to candidates IMO, nor should they consider such tests at all unless they are properly validated, which is not the case thus far.

In the interest of fairness, aptitude test and white boxes should be banned!

They are 'Controversial', which means unreliable and unproven, hence, flawed and unsafe

BTW, I cheated ..... One has to cheat in those so call tests! Otherwise you are scr*ed! I do not like or approve of cheating but that 'test' forced me to, as the 'white boxes' forced many an MTAS applicant to cheat too ... those who didn't were the ones who lost out in 2007 ... the 2008 results are beginning to come out and again, 'some' have lots of offers and 'some' didn't even get an invitation to an interview! I wonder how many of the latter are going to be called 'the top class applicants who lost out in 2008?' And, how many of those in the first group will be found out when it is too late?!

I will tell you how I cheated latter, after you've had a go yourself ... or, maybe you will find out on your own ... after all, it's only a 'game!'

“The long and distressing controversy over capital punishment is very unfair to anyone meditating murder.”

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Not alright boss ...

“Whatever things we build end up building us.”

Lord Darzi wants to employ jobless junior doctors as untrained GPs in his new polyclinics! He wants a new trust grade introduced to allow for this new type of employment.

If you are thinking of the 12,000 juniors who will lose out in 2008 Lord Darzi, then, this is nice of you that you are at least trying to find a way to save them ... but why are you allowing this dumping down of medicine?! It's becoming like a building site! A labourer's site! No more value to expertise and achievement. No more chances of aspiring to excellence.

Doctors are being turned into just 'workers!' Killing excellence and innovation on the way!

As a parent of junior doctors, I am truly baffled by what is happening to medicine in this country. Sometimes I wonder, was it all worth it? To raise one's children to be the best they can for their benefit and the benefit of society only to then see them despairing because of the lack of appreciation and opportunity just as they begin their careers?!

Sometimes I wonder, had you been a junior yourself, mid way through your surgical training, would you have found this type of 'dead end' trust grade employment fair? What makes you think 'you' would have been selected had you been a junior now? No guarantee of course, since the whole thing is just a lottery, given the current competition ratios for surgery, which are up to 54:1! ... So, had you been an aspiring to excellence trainee surgeon applying to, say, ST3 posts in 2008, the likelihood is that you would not have been able to secure a post! Can you imagine! No longer a world renown surgeon, no chance of developing your footprint on surgery through your 'keyhole' innovation and research! No more Professor Darzi of Imperial College - London ... plus the qualifications, the research .. etc, etc... and, no more Lord Darzi.

Instead, you would now be working in a 'new look' fancy polyclinic somewhere in Hemel Hempstead with no chance ever of fulfilling your dream ...

I dread to think that British patients would have been begrudged the fruits of your continuing aspiration to excel and your resulting contribution to British and world medicine just because you couldn't fill a white box with a fictitious scenario of something you probably never encountered or just because the selectors did not like the sound of your name!

It is good for a boss to find ways to save his 'workers' from unemployment but, in doing so, it is the duty of any good boss to ensure that his 'boys and girls' will still be able to prosper.

If you really want to help the jobless doctors Lord Darzi, invest in them, in their dreams. Create more training jobs so that they can reach the heights you reached .. like you .. they have the potential. Like you .. they have a dream, please allow their dream to come true.

Why do we just read such decisions in the media Lord Darzi? Why don't you meet with the juniors one day, listen to them, communicate and try to find solutions together.

Why don't you meet with Remedy UK Lord Darzi? ... good for 'your' image too ...

Is this too much to ask?

“Leadership is not magnetic personality/that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not making friends and influencing people /that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person's vision to higher sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Google Earth is not funny anymore!

"A danger foreseen is half avoided"

Google Earth showed protesters way to conquer parliament

"Demonstrators revealed yesterday that they had used Google Earth to plot their protest on the roof of the Houses of Parliament last week against the expansion of Heathrow.

The website, which allows users to zoom in on satellite photographs of Earth, “showed us all the walkways, steps and other details we needed to make our way across the roof from the door to the far side where the public could see us”

Can you imagine the security risk had this been plotted and carried out by terrorists?!

Is it wise that Google Earth is available for anyone to use?

In a way, I am glad those 'peaceful' protesters were successful in climbing to the roof of the Houses of Parliament, if only to draw the attention to how serious this programme can be for everybody, for real!

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than a sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Monday, 3 March 2008

Remedy's mass lobby of Parliament

“When thought becomes excessively painful, action is the finest remedy”

Last year in 2007, 12,000 doctor marched in central London protesting the unfair selection of the computerised system MTAS when a third of all candidates were not given even one interview and were facing career termination as a result.

A courageous group of junior doctors then formed the pressure group Remedy UK to fight for the rights of all junior doctors in the UK. So effective, they achieved so much in such a little time that they are now considered as official spoksmen for the juniors in the UK and are regularly invited whenever there is any government discussion regarding The UK's medical training and/or working conditions.

2007 was a disaster year for medical training because of the implementation of Modernising Medical Careers, a system that turned higher medical training in Britain upside down and left it in turmoil since. The result was the total chaotic shambles and system breakdown that ensued and still affect its victims to this day. But 2008 will proof even more choatic with up to 12,000 junior doctors facing exclusion from higher training. As a result, those highly qualified at great expense doctors will either face career termination in medicine, will have to emigrate to find training abroad or will be forced to except dead end jobs that have no career progression pathways forever!

This year tougher competition ratios were announced by the government, hence, more and more doctors will face the abyss once the results of the current round of selection is announced. Add to this, the Impact of The European Working Time Directive which aims to drastically reduce the hours a junior doctor can work to 48 hours per week. This of course will have a drastic impact on the quality of training in the UK. Remedy UK is still going strong fighting unfair government policy and for the juniors right to proper training for the benefit and safety of British patients.

As part of a campaign called Reclaiming our Profession, Remedy UK have arranged Mass Lobby of Parliament on Tuesday March 18th 2008

In its briefing, Remedy says:

"We can't overstress how important it is that you book leave for March 18th now. With the profession in turmoil and Health Ministers increasingly engaged in open warfare with us, a well-attended Lobby’s political impact could be huge."

But, if you do not have the time to lobby your MP, Remedy says:

"We still need you to come! We are planning a rally outside Parliament before the Mass Lobby takes place. There will be high profile speakers and a media presence – making the rally as important as the lobby itself. And numbers matter. We’ll have placards and banners available to you on the day."

It seems this years applicants are not yet fully aware of the consequences of the 2008 selection hence paticipation for attending on 18th March remains low! One cannot stress enough the importance of attending same to fight for your 'right' to training, your 'right' to work hard to make your dream come true.

Juniors, even if you were suited in 2007, if you expect to be suited in 2008, the implications on your future training is huge. Fight for your rights with Remedy UK! Attend with Remedy UK on

Tuesday 18th March 2008

Help Remedy UK help YOU!

Family, friends, patients, seniors, everybody is very welcome

Save junior doctors, save British Medicine, Join Remedy UK 18th March 2008

“Science may have found a cure for most evils, but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all--the apathy of human beings.”