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Independents' Day


  • 'No evidence' vitamin D supplements help prevent or treat Covid, says NICE

    Meddyg's comment 01 Jul 2020 9:31am

    It’s basically saying keep supplementing anyway because we know that so many people in the UK would be deficient otherwise (as I was), and for all the benefits it gives, but you mustn’t tell people that it actually protects against covid 19, or that it levels the playing field for BAME, because there is no evidence yet for that, even though they are highly suspicious that it will. Or to put it another way, vitamin d3 is a great way to treat vitamin d deficiency, but we are not yet sure if BAME covid 19 susceptibility is a symptom of vitamin d deficiency. Fine, so pick a more positive headline.

  • Home truths from Chesterfield

    Meddyg's comment 27 Jun 2020 4:49pm

    Suzanne might have been attempting to shaft US GPs. That’s the sort of grammar that sends I mad.

  • There is racism in the NHS – and we need to address this

    Meddyg's comment 20 Jun 2020 11:57am

    So many presumed cultural associations with risk factors disappear when you correct for poverty anyway. There are still some GPs from working class backgrounds (although less than when I qualified in 83), so would that trainer have asked a white man from a council estate about his experience with gang culture? I suspect not.

  • Welcome to the world of the immunosuppressed

    Meddyg's comment 28 Apr 2020 11:07am

    Microbophobic isn't it? Do you fear things multiplied by 1/1000000?

  • The sound of many hands clapping

    Meddyg's comment 02 Apr 2020 2:38pm

    Agreed. Strange to be appreciated, although, to be honest, most of the time we are anyway.

  • As a GP who's overcome coronavirus, here's what I want you to know

    Meddyg's comment 21 Mar 2020 10:07am

    Well done Clare. A rude question, explained by the fact that I'm nearly 62 - how old are you?

  • ‘Dad’s Army’ to the coronavirus rescue? How about a real plan?

    Meddyg's comment 05 Mar 2020 1:00pm

    I agree with scrapping QOF, but not short term, but for good. Three quarters of preventative medicine is not cost effective and based on weak, if any evidence.

  • I'm weak at the knees at this new research

    Meddyg's comment 27 Feb 2020 9:13pm

    Look at Malcolm Kendrick's latest blog about placebos, specifically the placebos used in the major stain trials. Amazingly, the adverse event percentage for the statin in question was almost exactly the same as that of the placebo, in every trial. So what, you may say - the interesting thing is that the rate of adverse events varies from single figure percentages in some to over 80% in the meteor trial. Isn't it handy that the placebo adverse event rate always mirrors the statin adverse event rate, almost as if they'd been chosen with side effects in mind? The drug companies will not release the details of the placebos used either.

  • Eight legs good

    Meddyg's comment 30 Jan 2020 9:40am

    If you believe our active problem lists, some our patients could be accused of being spiders - how else can you explain the eight hip replacements?

  • The career-ending Catch 22 decision

    Meddyg's comment 30 Jan 2020 9:24am

    Don't forget all those with viral urtis that are also 'at risk' of secondary infection. Apart from the standard diabetes, long term steroids, copd, asthma, ckd, rheumatoid, ihd, pulmonary fibrosis, previous sepsis, previous pneumonia etc we can usually rationalise (conjour up) justification for antibiotics if we are feeling pressurised, or just want to go home. This isn't by any means just a current GP perpetuated thing - my father told me that just after penicillin arrived it was tried for almost any dying patient - but it is now so much part of lay consciousnesses maybe we should try to manage it other ways than just direct confrontation. Perhaps a secret placebo, or a drug that has statistically significant benefit, with very little clinically significant benefit, (you know, like statins) but which also doesn't lead to multiple resistance - let's push that one for urtis, if we can find it. Then the patients would get what they want, and those that actually DO develop secondary bacterial infections would naturally self refer and we would manage those appropriately.

  • Problem solved in the blink of an I

    Meddyg's comment 20 Jan 2020 10:00am

    In my view, there are very few cost effective preventative measures.

    1 Childhood immunisations.

    2 Not smoking.

    3 Taking exercise.

    4 Not getting fat (part of number 3)

    5 Not getting addicted to things (especially with reference to number 2)

    These are cost effective because 2 to 5 can be advised by anyone, not just GPs, and the onus is on the patient, and 1 is NOT a rolling programme with follow ups, regular clinics and monitoring, and drug costs.
    Over the years we have been asked to take on activities that may cost us some time/money in the short term, but in the future we would reap the benefits, eg treating hyperlipidaemia, treating mild hypertension, ckd, osteoporosis, etc, and yet we are busier than ever, and the NHS is broke! The whole idea was based on a false premise, that if these patients didn't suffer what treating x was meant to prevent, that they would reduce their service usage (jargon for 'not bother the doctor') and we would all be happier. The sad truth was that not only are some of these measures not preventing very much (look at NNTs for hyperlipidaemia and mild hypertension) they are also not reducing demand. These things would be fine if they fulfilled their promise of making the population more healthy, and reducing demand, but they haven't and they don't.

  • Let’s start the new decade by telling patients the truth

    Meddyg's comment 03 Jan 2020 11:50am

    My personal list of worthwhile 'preventative medicine'
    Not smoking - saves the individual money, unquestionable benefit, no need for me to intervene to 'monitor '
    Childhood immunisation - some cost, but relatively fixed, no maintenance costs, benefits mostly not in doubt - read history books for justification, some negative pr from some groups, but mostly supported by the public.
    Exercise - benefits don't seem to be in doubt, motivating people seems to be a problem . The fact that there is no direct government intervention suggests that it is not cost effective, so it is left to us to 'encourage'.
    Addiction avoidance - self evident, and not just opiates and other recreational drugs and alcohol, but also gambling and obesity - the harm associated with these activities is huge and very costly, and not getting in to that state in the first place is clearly desirable, but does anything work?
    Things NOT on the list
    Treating and managing mild to moderate hypertension - the NNTs alone are pretty unimpressive, before you add the drug and management costs, side effects, and huge anxiety generated in patients for what in the end is just a small risk factor.
    Primary prevention treatment in hyperlipidaemia - see above.
    Chasing 95% of patients on the asthma register for annual checkups. They don't come because they feel well, or they can't be bothered. Yes we probably pick up a tiny few whose control could be improved, but is it cost effective?
    Pre-diabetes - we know that a large percentage of fat people become diabetic, and we know that to qualify as a type 2 diabetic you have to exceed certain diagnostic criteria. We now have to give special attention to those people near but not over the threshold, on whom we can devote time we cannot spare to encouraging them to mend their ways before it is too late, despite our relative lack of success of motivating the established type 2 diabetics. I'm not pretending that special attention will not work with some people, but again, is it cost effective? How many of the dozens of other things that people want us to do are we prevented from doing because of the priority given to preventative medicine at all costs?

  • Doctor loses tribunal after refusing to use transgender patient's chosen pronoun

    Meddyg's comment 05 Dec 2019 10:10pm

    I will of course address someone by whatever pronoun he, she, they, or even it prefers, but we all know, certainly all that get this journal, that a post operative transgender woman is actually a castrated men with breast implants who has had his penis amputated.

  • Are there too many posh doctors?

    Meddyg's comment 05 Dec 2019 9:19am

    Cardiff in the late 70s, my intake was roughly 2/3 regional accents, and the general impression was that a lot, like me, were state educated. But in those days, fees were free and grants were grants, not loans.

  • Should GPs stop doing home visits?

    Meddyg's comment 24 Nov 2019 10:15am

    Visits as a 'as well as the rest of the work' task are of course a chore, whereas if they are 'instead of the rest of the work' duty, they are usually both manageable and even enjoyable. Certain provisos of course - you have to be a big enough, (as in number of doctors) practice, and the designated doctor has to have enough to do. In our case, covering maybe 400+ square miles, 15,500 patients, including 4 homes and a minor injuries unit, the 'driver doc' usually is occupied all day. If the duty is quiet, she/helps out with the mobile sick in the surgery. Most doctors, partners and salaried, LIKE visit days, I accept that there is pressure of workload, but I would rather get rid of the things that I believe are a waste of time (in my case, almost everything to do with cholesterol and statins, mild to moderate hypertension, most of the ckd burden, and chasing stable asthmatics that don't want to have an annual review) and carry on doing things that the patients want and sometimes need, and that I mostly enjoy.

  • How GPs are being buried under secondary care work

    Meddyg's comment 31 Oct 2019 8:58pm

    'Dear grown up doctor, I've been asked by another grown up doctor to refer you this patient. Please find enclosed a copy of my original referral letter, and the grown up's reply telling me what to do.'

  • Discharging their responsibilities

    Meddyg's comment 27 Sep 2019 2:17pm

    How often do you get outpatient review letters arriving before the discharge letter for the original admission? Sometimes the discharge never comes and the important diagnosis may not be coded because the doctor reading the outpatient follow up letter wrongly assumes that it has already been coded. Having been burnt once I now always check and about half the time the discharge letter hasn't yet (if ever!) arrived.

  • Statin the bleeding obvious

    Meddyg's comment 18 Sep 2019 10:49am

    So 2 groups of patients at 60, neither have ever had a heart attack or stroke, can choose to go onto statins. Those that do all die at the same rate and date (statistically) as those that don't. Those that do have fewer strokes/chd than those that don't, therefore those that don't have fewer NON strokes/cod (whatever those may be). Who is to say that those in the the statin group have had a better life? They certainly haven't had a longer one. Meanwhile the £££ cost mounts, as do the side effects.

  • The noise around statins distracts from its real problems

    Meddyg's comment 16 Sep 2019 12:23pm

    How strong is the correlation between statin use and dementia?

  • The noise around statins distracts from its real problems

    Meddyg's comment 14 Sep 2019 11:36pm

    If the net result is the same number of deaths, fewer from heart disease/strokes, more from other causes, AND all the side effects from statins, before we even talk about the cost, both of the drugs and also all the monitoring that goes with it, what is the point? All that money, and all those side effects, just to change the cause of death on a death certificate, but not to change the date?