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Gap analysis, a hearty meal and A&E back on track


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Friday, 17 May 2013

Gap analysis, a hearty meal and A&E back on track

It has been another busy week for health news. Julian Patterson casts a critical eye over the week’s events and unpicks the stitches from the stories that have dominated the headlines.

Health pioneer attacked

The Syrian rebel leader captured on video biting into the heart of a dead government soldier is protesting that his actions have been misrepresented by the world’s media.

Depicted as a brutal war criminal, Abu Sakkar prefers to describe himself as a public health pioneer with a special interest in the prevention of heart disease.  In a widely circulated YouTube video he appears to say: “I swear to God we will eat out your hearts and your livers.“

Mr Sakkar claims that this was the result of a translation error or “mischievous overdubbing”. His actual words, he says, were: “This is what can happen to members of the government forces who fail to look after themselves properly. Thanks to my timely intervention, there is now no risk that he will develop coronary heart disease in later life.”

Tucking into a large plate of human organs, the rebel commander added that similarly pro-active measures could be used to wipe out the threat of liver and kidney disease “or anything else standing in our way”.

Builders to blame for health and social care gap

The government has discovered a structural fault in health and social care which it says is responsible for most of the problems experienced by patients and the public in recent decades.

What appeared to be caused by a large and diverse population, increased life expectancy, growing numbers of frail elderly people, pressure on funding, unhealthy lifestyles, poor housing, failing education, social inequalities, deprivation, patchy service provision, lack of communication between agencies, drug and alcohol abuse, economic decline and uncoordinated government policy, now appears to be the result of a construction error by the original builders.

A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: “It appears we overestimated the problem, which is the result not of complex socio-economic factors as previously thought, but a basic construction flaw. Because the health and care system is so large, the contractors built it off site in two parts. When the parts were brought together, they were not properly sealed. Over the years, the gap has widened causing large sums of money to leak out and creating a hazard for service users, who often fall into it hurting themselves or disappearing for years on end.”

Described by government sources as the “second most important national construction project after the high-speed rail link”, the gap between health and social care should be closed by 2018.

A&E crisis: end in sight

As the A&E crisis rumbled on like a high-speed train on a half-built track, the health secretary Jeremy Hunt went on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme to clarify the situation. Quizzed about funding, Mr Hunt insisted that no “new money” would be made available to relieve pressure on A&E services.

However, he conceded that hospitals may have access to existing funds they would not otherwise have got, which is entirely different.

Drawing a contrast between health services in Sweden where A&E use has risen by just 1% in the past decade and the NHS in England where it has increased by 39%, Mr Hunt argued that prevention is the answer to A&E capacity problems in the long term.

Potential preventive measures the health secretary failed to mention include: rewriting signs in Swedish, letting down the tyres on ambulances, regularly changing the emergency number, erecting barbed wire fences and gun turrets on hospital boundaries, further increasing hospital car-parking charges and appointing Abu Sakkar as minister for emergency care.

Darren Whitehouse
Darren Whitehouse says:
May 17, 2013 09:59 AM
Good post, made me laugh, which is always a bonus :-)
Michael Lundberg
Michael Lundberg says:
May 17, 2013 11:18 AM
Rewriting signs in Swedish might lead to a flooding of A&Es by Scandinavians - God knows Swedish A&Es are up to bursting, and the reason for the 1% change is probably that with walk-in 24/7 service, this situation has been going on for years. There's significant lack of beds to put patients in there as well!
Dennis Donnelly
Dennis Donnelly says:
May 17, 2013 11:38 AM
Wish it wasn't funny, for the people who have to endure it and the colossal waste of money be abuse these issues have not been taken seriously. humour can defuse what should be a protracted and exacting process of articulating what the alternative might be, Wry smiles do not do it and are an excuse for passive irony which gets no-one no where fast,
Anonymous says:
May 17, 2013 02:00 PM
Thanks for the laughs, Julian!
Fran Husson
Fran Husson says:
May 17, 2013 04:18 PM
Thanks Julian for my weekly medicine: your blog is still the best anti hypertensive med. on the market!

Talking about medicines... have you thought of suggesting to Jeremy Hunt he introduces a simple but very effective A&E control guideline, which is to refuse treatment to anyone presenting at any emergency care point without their Medication Passport?? I think this would work much cheaper than replacing all current signage with Swedish equivalent. And this would also avoid any confusion with BBC 4 Scandinoir Programming.
Barry Moult
Barry Moult says:
May 20, 2013 07:56 AM
I thought it was all serious until I read the last line
"appointing Abu Sakkar as minister for emergency care" Please tell me your joking