Archive for October 2009

Happy Halloween, from Bobba Fett

October 31, 2009

Jack-o-lanterns are sooooo 2008.  Get carving one of these bad boys:

Bobba Fett

This guy must do nothing all year but carve pumpkins……


Will we all become GPs?

October 29, 2009

Laura sent me an interesting link to a blog.

To summarise, it explains how there is a shortage of primary health physicians in the US. The main contributing factor is money, family practitioners get paid on average 55% less than non-primary care specialties and when you are trying to pay off loans of about $180,000, its not unreasonable to go for the job that is paid 55% more. The reasons for the differences, which underpins a fundemental difference between the US and the UK, is the market.

The health sector in the US operates in a market driven system, capitalism. Whereby the price is never static, its whatever someone is willing to pay for it. Thus, radiologist 5 years after residency can be expected to earn $325,00 nearly double that of a family practitioner because the customer is willing to pay more for the services of the radiologist than the family practitioner.

Here in the UK the opposite is happening, more trained medics are becoming GPs. This, unlike in the US, is not about money because we have a socialist approach in the NHS. There is no market, which is the main problem that opponents have of the NHS. Salaries for consultant and GPs are fairly similar and are equally bellow that of other stressful jobs that require far less training. This is because stressful jobs such as banking and law are market driven, so they will get paid what ever the market will pay them, there success should represent there payment. However this is not the case in the NHS, you can be a very average doctor and get paid the same as a very good one that reach targets and pushes the boundaries because there is no monetary incentive to be better. It goes on through out the NHS, from drugs to toilet roll, they all get procured inefficiently because there is no real incentive to do it differently.

So if it is not about money, what is it about? Well lifestyle and decreased training time play a big part  but a big problem is that there aren’t enough consultant positions and because there is no market there is little incentive to slave away to become a consultant. I have a friend who has wanted to be a hospital physician for a long time, he is a very clever chap and has tried, many times in vain, to bolster his CV in anticipation. However, he may soon be faced with the prospect of becoming a GP because of the lack of consultant post. I am not saying this is bad but this wasn’t what fits his skill set.

One would have thought that being market driven, the US would be more efficient but it spend more per capita on health care than we do. However, the NHS is deeply inefficient and there are things to be done about it. Maybe as the NHS becomes more efficient more consultantships will be created but until that happens I am afraid it seems that we will become GPs.


Bright Young Things Update

October 28, 2009

For the bright young things out there –

I know you have all the ideas, and you have high hopes for great things, but we all need a little reining in sometimes.  I good way to focus the mind is to make a mind-map.  You can do this on a piece of paper, just stick it down, link it together, and see where it takes you. allows you to do this, and also share amongst your co-workers.  It also allows you to put in pics, and links and all that jazz.  It might be a useful tool as you come up with your ideas to change the world, sorry, I mean: a small change to the medical course, implementable by Xmas.

Smoking a cigarette is bad for you, says experts

October 28, 2009

Even 1 cigarette, it seems.

What scares me is how much damage may occur by secondary smoke – all those years before the smoking ban.  And all those patients who smoke outside my office window…..




October 28, 2009

I think everyone should see the following program ‘The World’s Greatest Money Maker‘ available on the BBC iPlayer.

It is about how the guy made money but essentially it documents how this super rich guy lives a normal life and how in a capitalist world is best to look after those around you and those who haven’t been given as many opportunties.

It think this is a very salient point for all and espcially medics


Santa’s list

October 27, 2009

Please can someone get these for me for christmas

It isn’t the most reliable source but a friend was looking through Gizmag and we found some interesting stuff.

1- a portable ultrasound device, real handy for those quick chest drains I like to insert on the run

2- 3D interactive autopsy table

I have been good this year Santa


Stanford Blogging

October 27, 2009

Fellow bloggers.  Clinical Cases Blog is a great resource regarding medical education resources on line.  This morning they posted this, a blog for the Stanford Medical School.  It’s well resourced, there’s plenty of folk posting on it, it’s regularly updated, and I think it’s just the kind of thing we should be aiming for here in Dundee.  We could do with a cool name, like “Scope”, like they have, but I’m convinced it’s the way to go.

First DundeeChest, tomorrow…. the WORLD!