Thursday, 9 October 2014
Fear - The Great Political Tool
It never ceases to amaze me how readily our political representatives offer our troops as aid workers to other countries.
In the case of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, already there is a team of over 40 military personnel, including logisticians, planners and engineers currently on the ground in Sierra Leone to oversee the construction of the UK’s facility near Freetown and develop sites for new facilities. These new facilities will house more than 100 members of 22 Field Hospital and provide a 12-bed treatment centre for healthcare workers in Sierra Leone.
Let’s not bother about protecting our borders. The Health Secretary doesn’t think a quick test of those arriving from the affected countries would be useful. Much better headline grabbing by sending military medics to the scene. Our military medics are the ‘elite’ of all UK medics and as they have only one hospital in which to practice their skills nowadays - the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham - they will do a good job in Africa, but what about the problems nearer to home?
It’s very thoughtful of Westminster to be so benevolent when there continues to be a serious crisis in one of Scotland’s hospitals. Aberdeen Royal Infirmary has had staffing troubles for many years. I don’t know the politics of healthcare in Grampian but I do know this major hospital provides care to a widely spread population as well as the city of Aberdeen.
The Daily Mail reports the CEO of the GMC stating there is a shortage of doctors in some parts of the UK ‘especially deprived areas’. But Aberdeenshire is not a deprived area. It is the oil capital of Europe and very wealthy indeed. Why wouldn’t young doctors want to live and work there? Apart from their working environment - which is dismal throughout the public areas - the quality of life in the area is good. Seems they prefer the lifestyle of Australia and New Zealand. Yes, we continue to give excellent training to student doctors yet once they’re qualified they’re off to the sun. A simple solution to this brain drain would be to include a clause in their training contract which states they must serve the NHS for a specific period upon completion of training or refund their training costs.
Back to Ebola. My friend Leggy has his take on it. I’m too old to be concerned about Ebola. My chances of coming into close contact with anyone from West Africa is more or less nil, but as Leggy says Fear is a great political tool. We saw how effective it was on 18 September didn’t we?