Dr David Zigmond Archive Home Page

Please see updated website -: www.davidzigmond.org.uk


St James Church
Photo by Ruskin Kyle

Location and vocation - some grand entrances:
St James Church (Home to the author's NHS surgery for nearly three decades)

Why do humans suffer?

What do we want and need with, from, and for one another?

Who decides?

And how?

Introduction: How to use this website: some navigational aids

Welcome to this Archive site, which has grown to offer a large amount of material. This material is mostly anchored in a wide range of healthcare and Welfare questions, but often ventures beyond. There are here more than forty years of articles, together with more recent open letters, interviews and brief videos. The site is arranged like a large traditional library, so it needs a guiding map and signage.

The following suggestions and table of contents may help you find what most interests you more quickly and easily.

David Zigmond
Photo by Ruskin Kyle

A. Professional profile

Professional profile

B. Author's note and acknowledgements

Author's note and acknowledgements

C. Introduction to the writings of David Zigmond by Professor André Tylee

Introduction to the writings of David Zigmond - Part 1: 2010 - A black sheep in herded healthcare.

Introduction to the writings of David Zigmond - Part 2: 2017 - Neither ‘tongue-tied or twisted but an earthbound misfit’.

D. Obituary: St James Church Surgery 1987-2016

Obituary: St James Church Surgery 1987-2016

E. The Family Doctor and the Grid by Dr William House

The Family Doctor and the Grid

F. What is the British Holistic Medical Association?

What is the British Holistic Medical Association?

G. An instructive mausoleum. Contention with NHS England and the Care Quality Commission.

An instructive mausoleum. Contention with NHS England and the Care Quality Commission.

H. David Zigmond's books and reviews

David Zigmond's new book: If you want good personal healthcare - see a Vet:Industrialised Humanity: Why and how we should care for one another?

Further information about David Zigmond's books

Book Review by Pulse Today

Book Review for Doctors for the NHS

Review from British Journal of General Practice

I. Videos


J. Radio Podcasts


I. Letters, chronologised


[117] Digital doctors are a poor substitute for family doctors
Letter to Daily Telegraph, April 2021

[116] Restoring the NHS: abolishing marketised commissioning is necessary but not sufficient
Letter to The Times, February 2021

[115] After Covid: what do we need to ‘build back better?’
Editorial for Doctors for the NHS, January 2021

[114] Our Health Secretary’s blind faith in IT and corporate business delivery betrays our need for professional–personal intelligence, engagement and judgement
Letter to the Daily Telegraph, November 2020

[113] NHS business and its gurus: which is greater, the corruption or ineptitude?
Letter to The Times, November 2020

[112] NHS People Plan: cutting bureaucracy, increasing cyberconsultations
Letter to Secretary of State for Health, August 2020

[111] Reintegrating our NHS? de-marketisation is just a start
Letter toThe Guardian, July 2020

[110] Sort, fix or send: what more can we expect from our medical practitioners.
Blog to BMJ, July 2020

[109] How do we best learn from history?
Letter to Daily Telegraph, June 2020

[108] The tail wagging the dog. The depersonalisation and depopulation of General Practice. A cultural analysis
Letter to Chair of Royal College of General Practitioners and Professor of Healthcare Policy, January 2020

[107] Endemic and increasing NHS medical staffing malaise
Letter to senior officers at the King’s Fund and the Royal College of General Practitioners, December 2019

[106] Whatever happened to Medicine’s mojo: An initial conversation
Letter to Archbishop John Sentamu (November 2019)

[105] The Perils of Industrialised Healthcare: a personal vignette, a panoramic view
Letter to NHS healthcare practitioners, managers and activists, October 2019

[104] Our critically wounded NHS: can a revived party now reform our reforms?(September 2019)
Letter to Simon Hughes, Norman Lamb MP and Sarah Wollaston MP

[103] Crumbling GP services are due to lack of human sense, not just lack of funding
Letter to the Daily Mail, July 2019

[102] Why GPs are voting with their feet
Letter to The Guardian, May 2019

[101] Commercial outsourcing of complex welfare work: time for a reversal
Letter to The Guardian,March 2019

[100] Professional autonomy? Our losses are wide and deep
Letter to BMJ, March 2019

[99] If we want more professional autonomy we must first restore trust and relationships in our profession
Published by the BMJ, February 2019

[98] Family doctors are more than GPs
Blog to BMJ, February 2019

[97] Our NHS needs more than cash, systems and technology
Blog to BMJ, January 2019
Published in Open Democracy, February 2019

[96] The CQC’s failures and follies. How far can we blame its senior officers?
Blog to Caring Times, November 2018

[95] Playing the ball not the player. The CQC as Zeitgeist: an alternative view
Letter to the Caring Times, October 2018

[94] Personal Continuity of Care: The imperilled crux of our mental health services
Letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care,October 2018

[93] How may disciplining authorities best be dialogic? Should governance have limits in Welfare?
Letter to Deputy Director, Care Quality Commission, October 2018

[92] Is more regulation, management and inspection always better? What hope for 2019?
Letter to senior NHS Executive and colleagues, October 2018

[91] Industrialised healthcare: how do we replant our human sense?A response to a King’s Fund report
Letter to Chief Executive of the King’s Fund, August 2018
[32 pp]

[90] Industrialised healthcare: how do we replant our human sense?An introduction
Letter to NHS colleagues and senior executives, August 2018

[89] Collateral damage: the policed industrialisation of healthcare. A personal and professional recent history
Letter to senior officers of NHS England and the Care Quality Commission, July 2018

[88] We cannot get our best integrated healthcare via competitive corporatism
Letter to The Times, July 2018

[87] Good medicine needs good personal relationships
Letter to Daily Telegraph, June 2018

[86] Can robots be good doctors?
Letter to The Guardian, June 2018

[85] Importing doctors may help us … for a while
Letter to The Telegraph, June 2018

[84] Psychiatry: Science or Scientism? The inevitability of overdiagnosis
Letter to BMJ, June 2018

[83] Pastoral healthcare often needs a very different approach from our treatment or prevention.
Letter to Chief Medical Officer, England. June 2018

[82] Industrialised humanity: how may we best care for one another? An exploratory interview
Letter to colleagues,
May 2018

[81] The target culture rarely benefits complex human welfare
Letter to The Guardian, May 2018

[80] Our failing GP services need human sense as much as money
Letter to Metro, March 2018

[79] The more regulations, the less intelligent sense
Letter to The Times, February 2018

[78] Safeguarding and the CQC
Letter to The Social Care Workforce, February 2018

[77] Medical neglect at Liverpool prison: what can we expect from marketised healthcare?
Letter to The Guardian, December 2017

[76] Goals and targets are rarely the best way to a better society
Letter to Daily Mail, December 2017

[75] NHS growing staffing problems: what about the rot and wastage?
Letter to The Independent, December 2017

[74] Is more professional regulation always better?
Letter to welfare worker colleagues, December 2017

[73] GPs to humanely contain or guide our encrypted distress? We have much to retrieve. An historical view.
Letter to Journal of Holistic Healthcare, December 2017

[72] How do we avoid a grim future for General Practice?
A message from Doctors for the NHS,December 2017

[71] Yet more NHS data, but where is our human sense?
Letter to The Telegraph, November 2017

[70] Our crisis in General Practice will need much more than money
Letter to The Times, October 2017

[69] Our gaping, gasping health service. Governance v dissidence. How best to compromise? When best to submit?
Letter to NHS colleagues and managers, October 2017

[68] ‘Care Navigators’? So what happened to Family Doctors?
Letter to the Daily Mail, September 2017

[67] Modern Slavery: how do we separate expedient economy from our human nature?
Letter to Evening Standard, September 2017

[66] Our NHS follies and conundrums. Are you distressed? Perplexed?Recent history has much to teach us,
Letter to NHS colleagues and managers, August 2017

[65] Vocation or corporation? Competence or compliance? The managed asphyxiation of healthcare morale
Letter to NHS colleagues, June 2017
(3 pp).

[64] The NHS needs human sense as much as money and systems
Letter to The Guardian, May 2017

[63] Government may like giant GP practices, but what about the rest of us?
Letter to The Sun, March 2017

[62] Revitalising the NHS? Get rid of the Internal Market
Letter to The Guardian, February 2017

[61] Our oppressive Care Quality Commission: our depressed NHS
Letter to Academy of Fabulous NHS Stuff, February 2017

[60] ‘Stakeholders’ in suicide prevention: isn’t that all of us?
Letter to Chair, Parliamentary Health Select Committee, February 2017
(6 pp).

[59] Prevention of Suicide. The crux of personal continuity of care
Letter to Chair, Parliamentary Health Select Committee, January 2017
Also published in British Journal of General Practice, 16.3.17
(5 pp).

[58] Dying with, or from, dementia? An important distinction
Letter to The Telegraph, December 2016
BMJ Blog, January 2017

[57] Older people often need a different kind of hospital
Letter to The Telegraph, December 2016

[56] Our ailing profession: our consequent fractious collegial misunderstandings
Published in British Journal of General Practice, 2016 66(653):622-623

[55] CQC Inspection and closure of my NHS General Practice. Farewell from a long career
Letter to Chief Medical Inspector of Care Quality Commission, November 2016

[54] Price and value in personal care: the planned closure of community pharmacies
Letter to The Telegraph, October 2016

[53] Our burgeoning NHS problems are more organisational than financial
Letter to The Observer, September 2016

[52] The doctor is out, but still answering
Letter to The Observer, September 2016

[51] How and why do we retire? Ill omens for younger doctors
BMJ Blog, September 2016

[50] The triumph of the procedural over the personal. My retirement from NHS General Practice
Letter to NHS colleagues, July 2016

[49] Only personally fulfilled practitioners can deliver good personal healthcare
Interview with Independent Age, May 2016
(3 pp).

[48] General Practice needs more than recruits and money: we need to refind our vocational attachments
Letter to The Telegraph, April 2016

[47] Plummeting morale of junior doctors: one branch of our blighted tree of Welfare
Letter to the Chair of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges,2016
(9 pp).

[46] Can we reduce childhood Sepsis by more vigilant management? I doubt it
BMJ Blog, February 2016

[45] GPs’ demoralisation is due to our loss of human connection
Letter to the BMJ, February 2016

[44] Our demoralised and depersonalised NHS workforce
Letter to Chair of the Parliamentary Health Committee, February 2016

[43] How to make our NHS sustainable? We are losing personal morale and commitment faster than money (re cross-party review)
Letter to Shadow Secretary of State for Health, February 2016

[42] ‘Airline levels of safety in healthcare’? No, we can't
Letter to The Telegraph, February 2016

[41] How to make our NHS sustainable? We are losing personal morale and commitment faster than money:
Letter to ex Health Ministers, January 2016

[40] Flood defences? It is we that need containing
Letter to
The Independent, January 2016

[39] An electronic questionnaire is far from a personal dialogue: Further reflections on professional Appraisals
BMJBlog, November 2015

[38] Arguments about money are often about much else
BMJ Blog, November 2015

[37] Competence or Compliance? The corrosive cost of professional practitioner Appraisals
BMJ Blog, September 2015

[36] Burgeoning need: collapsing staff morale – the management conundrums of the NHS
Submission to the Secretary of State for Health, 2015
(10 pp).

[35] ‘Curing Dementia’: Medical possibility or political rhetoric?
Letter on BMJ Blog, May 2015

[34] In public service we need personal integrity, not personal loyalty
Letter to The Telegraph, April 2015

[33] The Extinction of Care by Treatment: Our healthcare’s heart-failure
Letter to BMJ, February 2015

[32] The loss of personal containment in pastoral healthcare
Letter to mental health commissioners, managers and senior practitioners, 2015

[31] NHS Stewardship: the missing personal factor
Letter to the BMJ, 2014

[30] Reclaiming the NHS: Let’s discard the entire Internal Market
Letter to The Guardian, 2014

[29] Repealing the Health and Social Care Act: why stop there?
Letter to Andy Burnham, Shadow Secretary of State for Health, 2014

[28] The death of Robin Williams: can we ‘treat’ our tragic paradoxes?
BMJ Blog, August 2014

[27] Depression needs more than formulaic treatment
BMJ Blog, July 2014

[26] Personal continuity of care in Mental Health Services
Letter to Minister of State for Care and Support. May, 2014
(6 pp).

[25] Personal continuity of care in hospitals. Restoring the role of the General Physician
Letter to Secretary of State for Health. January, 2014

[24] Thank goodness we now have business-sense to safeguard our Welfare
Letter in TheIndependent, January 2014

[23] Form devouring essence: Whenbrokered services tend broken hearts
Letter to Mental Health Colleagues and Managers, January 2014

[22] Dementia is not only (or even) a disease: it is a signal of our community cohesion
Letter in The Telegraph, December 2013

[21] We need an appointment with Dr Finlay
Letter on BMJ blog, December 2013

[20] Qualifications may be less than useful
Letter to The Independent, 2013

[19] Dr Frankenstein’s Reprise: Industrialisation of Personal Healthcare. Adverse effects of sequestered psychiatric in-patient services
An open letter to Medical Directors of services, October 2013
(11 pp).

[18] Loneliness in the ailing elderly: social and healthcare responses
Letter to Secretary of State for Health, 2013

[17] Re-establishing personal bonds and understandings in NHS Care
Letter to Secretary of State for Health, October 2013
(3 pp).

[16] NHS Healthchecks: more automation and less intelligence
Letter to The Times, 2013

[15] Psychiatry? Everyone is right - but not for long
Letter to TheGuardian, 2013

[14] The high price of commodified healthcare
Letter in The Guardian, August 2013

[13] How Care Pathways obliterate care: More industrial follies from the NHS
Letter in The Telegraph, July 2013

[12] NHS Savings? Abolish the Internal Market
Letter in The Guardian, July 2013

[11] Physis: healing, growth and the hub of personal continuity of care
A thirty-nine (39) year delayed follow-up correspondence with Sally, June 2013
(7 pp).

[10] The rise of business culture in the NHS; our consequent loss of compassionate healthcare ethos
Letter to The Times, 2013

[9] 'Fixing the NHS is straightforward'. Really?
Letter in the BMJ, March 2013

[8] Balancing healthcare: Technical vs Personal. Local vs Systemic. Closures at Lewisham Hospital
Letter to Joan Ruddock MP and Lord Ara Darzi, February 2013
(3 pp).

[7] Continuity of care: of course, but whose?A Sleight of Slogans
Letter to Family Doctor Association, 2012
(7 pp).

[6] ‘Evidence’ is both more and less than it seems. The rise of scientism and the demise of the personal in healthcare
Letter to the Secretary of State for Health, 2012
(4 pp).

[5] Eric: Another victim of Hypertrophic Obstructive Management Coagulopathy
A letter to the Medical Director, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, June 2012
(10 pp).

[4] Further NHS Reforms: inevitable and unintended consequences
Letter to BMJ, May 2012

[3] Commodification, commissioning and commercialisation: the growing threats to personal healthcare
Letter to the Secretary of State for Health, 2012

[2] Five Executive Follies
How commodification imperils compassion in personal healthcare

Submission to Secretary of State for Health, December 2011

An open letter to Mental Health Services Director, September 2010
(10 pp).

After Work After Work

L. Articles, chronologised

[1] The Medical Model - its Limitations and Alternatives. (1976)
What it says in the title! Uses the example of an ailing, elderly man struggling with later-life changes. The biomechanical can only take us so far: after that we need a certain kind of imagination. What is that?
(11 pp).

[2] Suicide and Attempted Suicide: Its Origin and Course. (1977)
Serious kinds of mental illness and self-harm are most easily designated. But what about more subtle forms of self-damage and self-sabotage? What are they?
(10 pp).

[3] Out of Sight But Not Out of Mind. (1977)
Those who professionally care for others are often much harsher with themselves. Overall, doctors have higher suicide risks than their patients. Why?
(10 pp).

[4] Scientific Psychiatry: Progress or Regress? (1977)
Medicine and Psychiatry operate from a premise of taking responsibility and defining reality for others. What are the implications for those who need to reclaim these capacities, for themselves?
(9 pp).

[5] Illness as Strategy and Communication. (1977)
Illness is often best understood and approached beyond the biomechanical. Experiences or conflicts not otherwise manageable can find a refuge and conduit in illness. How and why?
(10 pp).

[6] Adjustment or change? Radical issues in psychiatry. (1978)
Often mental distress is designated in a way that further ‘pathologises’ and stigmatises the sufferer. How may we, rather, reframe our problems in ways that are self-realising and empowering?
(15 pp).

[7] The Elements of Psychotherapy. (1981)
A short survey written for Doctors. How may thinking and talking with another person help the harmony of body, mind and relationships? How to start and when to stop?
(15 pp).

[8] Transactional Analysis in Medical Practice: Part 1. (1981)
A clear and flexible model helping us understand the different parts of ourselves and others. How are these related to our unique stories, and then our patterns of concord or discord?
(11 pp).

[9] Transactional Analysis in Medical Practice: Part 2. (1982)
A continuation of Part I. How are so many repetitive unhelpful patterns set up in childhood, to last a lifetime? If we can understand, when is this helpful in redirection?
(9 pp).

[10] A Psychosomatic Approach. (1982)
How, by expanding the biomechanical approach into a more multifaceted holism, can we broaden and deepen understanding and engagement with individuals?
(15 pp).

[11] The Psychosomatic Mosaic. (1982)
A further coaxing of the biomechanical into a broader holism. How can individual illnesses be encountered and understood in family systems?
(17 pp).

[12] Mother, Magic or Medicine? The Psychology of the Placebo. (1984)
Placebos are fascinating phenomena of induced interpersonal healing, sometimes by accident! How does this happen? What are the developmental and transactional psychological theories that can explain?
(16 pp).

[13] Physician Heal Thyself: The Paradox of the Wounded Healer. (1984)
What are the personal vulnerabilities of doctors? How are these related not only to individual wounds, but to idealised roles and depersonalised trainings?

[14] Babel or Bible?Order, Chaos and Creativity in Psychotherapy. (1986)
Theories of mind are only ever ‘good-enough’, for now. What happens when psychotherapists (and others) elevate their theories to a realm of Immaculate Truth?
(13 pp).

[15] Three Types of Encounter in the Healing Arts: Dialogue, Dialectic and Didacticism. (1987)
Knowledge, language and understanding are all human activities and constructions. What are the different types when we encounter others? How do we then ‘pack’ or ‘unpack’ the experience of these others? How, when and why does it matter?
(19 pp).

[16] The Psychoecology of Gladys Parlett. (1988)
Distressed people often want skilful, if ritualised, human contact. What happens if we unimaginatively and excessively medicalise this? Gladys, in the 1980s, forewarns us.
(9 pp).

[17] The Front Door of Psychotherapy: Aspects from General Medical Practice. (1989)
The communicative skills - enabling others to heal, grow and become more resilient - have been distilled and documented, especially by psychotherapists. What happens in other venues with these kinds of complex exchanges? How is this enacted in General Practice?
(19 pp).

[18] The Shadow of Venus: Atavism and Sexuality. (1995)
Our sexuality is one of the more tragi-comic deciders of destiny. Can an understanding of our evolution, as a species and as individuals, explain why?
(10 pp).

[19] Edward: shot in his own interest. Technototalitarianism and the fragility of the therapeutic dance. (2005)
We have become accustomed to almost everything being prepacked, containerised and computer-coded. This has happened to knowledge. What happens to personal knowledge?
(10 pp). Balance of Governance

[20] Planning, Reform and the need for Live, Human Sacrifices : Homogeny and Hegemony as Symbols of Progress. (2006)
What are the hidden psychological currents that may lie behind zealous attempts to ‘modernise’ and standardise? Some motives may be obscured and dark. How are they expressed?
(12 pp). Balance of Governance

[21] Modern Times: True Parables from the Frontline of the NHS. (2007/2017)
Change is often called ‘progress’. Looking at changes in healthcare, this considers two themes: ‘Imagination’ and ‘Belonging’. When is change progress?
Published in Journal of Holistic Healthcare, vol 14, Issue 2, Summer 2017
(16 pp). Balance of Governance

[22] No Country for Old Men: The Rise of Managerialism and the New Cultural Vacuum. (2009)
The more we control, the less free we are to explore. If we increase the culture of management, what happens to the spirit of enquiry? And patient care? A historical account.
(12 pp). Time Traveller

[23] Psychiatry: Love's Labour's Lost: The pursuit of The Plan and the eclipse of the personal. (2010)
In psychiatric and psychological healthcare, personal attachments and investments in therapeutic work have been eclipsed by ‘objective’ attempts at management. What has this been like for patients and staff? A thirty-five year spanned portrait.
(13 pp). Time Traveller

[24] Why Would Anyone Use an Unproven Therapy? Treasures in the Mist. (2010)
Much of the most effective work healthcare workers do is inexplicit and undesignated. What does it, then, consist of? The Wizard of Oz has much to tell us.
(9 pp).

[25] Idiomorphism: the Lost Continent How diagnosis displaces personal understanding. (2011)
Diagnosis is a professional convention enabling us to cluster and code. Sometimes it is essential and crucial to help. At other times more is lost than gained. What? Why? Who?
(12 pp). Balance of Governance

[26] Resolved or Abandoned?Irresponsibly lost Transference: a professionally embarrassed tale. (2011)
Psychotherapists increasingly talk of managed and schematised personal change, but often the catalysts are serendipitous. What can happen?
(4 pp). Time Traveller

[27] Sense and Sensibility: The danger of Specialisms to holistic, psychological care. (2011)
Few would want an operation done by a non-specialist. So is specialisation always a good thing, with every kind of distress? Can we go too far? What happens then?
(8 pp). Balance of Governance

[28] How to help Harry - Friend or Foe? The scientific and the scientistic in the fog of the frontline. (2012)
Helping others to change can be a very delicate dance. Attempts at ‘civic engineering’ frequently miss nuances of meaning and opportunity. Does this matter? Why?
Published in Journal of Holistic Healthcare, vol 14, Issue 3, Autumn 2017
(8 pp). Time Traveller

[29] Eric - diagnosis may sometimes be.necessary; it is rarely sufficient. (2012)
Centralised planning and control are key to the success of many healthcare initiatives, for example the containment of dangerous infectious diseases. But what are the limits of this approach? Eric shows us what can happen in mental healthcare.
(14 pp). Time Traveller

[30] Fallacies in Blunderland: Overschematic overmanagement: perverse healthcare. (2012)
Competition, commissioning, contracting ... do such devices really ‘drive up’ the quality of healthcare? Are there other, absurd and darker consequences? What are these?
(11 pp). Balance of Governance

[31] From Family to Factory: The dying ethos of personal healthcare. (2012)
NHS healthcare has transformed looser, informal, colleagueial networks of care into tighter, sharper, more managed ‘production units'. We have turned families into factories. What have we lost?
(7 pp).

[32] Understanding the Other: Four elemental questions for therapeutic psychology. A personal view. (2012)
When attempting to understand and help the anguish of another, what kind of knowledge helps us most? What lies behind and beyond designated systems? Can one have a ‘holistic psychology'?
(4 pp).

[33] Words and Numbers: Servants or Masters? Caveats for holistic healthcarePart 1. (2012)
Holism’s fuller engagement with realities is an aspiration and ideal. It can never be complete, and in practice, there are many obstructions. These range from our use of language to our highly managed and industrialised culture. How does this happen? What are the consequences? This is the first of two articles.
(12 pp).

[34] If you want good personal healthcare, see a Vet. Caveats for holistic healthcare Part II. (2012)
The over-explicit and over-schematic can block our perception of larger and more subtle realities. This second of two articles portrays how this happens, and what we may be left with.
(10 pp).

[35] Democratic Fatigue: information overload. (2012)
Is increasing choice and information always what we want? Do these necessarily facilitate democratic sense and empowerment? The non-participation in recent Police Commissioner elections suggests otherwise. Parallels in healthcare are instructive.
(2 pp).

[36] Missed and Miscommunications: Personal disconnections in Psychological Healthcare. A letter for embattled colleagues. (2013)
Throughout our most important, difficult and intimate relationships we must be able to listen carefully to what we do not want to hear - without this much is jeopardised. This is true, too, in many of our healing encounters - often these require our best attempts to creatively contain dissonance.
(10 pp).

[37] PsychoTapas. (2013)
PsychoTapas! Sound-bite seminars for modern conferences!

[38] Institutional atrocities: The malign vacuum from industrialised healthcare. (2013)
Flagrant neglect or abuse in our care of the vulnerable within our advanced Welfare State seems shockingly perverse. How and why does this happen?
(11 pp). Balance of Governance

[39] Beyond Orwell: Healthcare’s hollow governance. (2013)
Our smallest difficulties with others are often rich in political complexity. What does this mean? Two apparently trivial examples from healthcare administration are explored.
(12 pp). Balance of Governance

[40] Language is not just data: it is a custodian of our humanity. (2013)
Computers and informatics have become central to NHS healthcare. All experience and activity are now subject to official technical designations. This changes our communications: language becomes increasingly lackeyed to the computer’s requirements. Much else is lost. What?
(6 pp). Time Traveller

[41] Post Mid Staffs: A Plenitude of Platitudes. (2013)
Can the harmful excesses of depersonalisation in healthcare be usefully addressed by further redesign of systems and management? Or do we need a different kind of thinking and vocabulary?
(4 pp). Balance of Governance

[42] 'GPs know their patients, families and communities' - Really? (2013)
GPs are increasingly employed as task-directed, upper-echelon healthdroids. They are losing the pastoral skills that depend on holistic views and vernacular understandings. Why is that?
(3 pp). Balance of Governance

[43] Hello, Health Commissioner. Goodbye, Family Doctor? The new healthcare reforms and their threat to personal doctoring. (2013)
The idea, now diktat, that GPs should lead the complex provision of healthcare for localities may subtract more than it adds to overall health-welfare. How and why could this happen?
(5 pp).

[44] All is Therapy; All is Diagnosis. Unmapped and perishing latitudes of healthcare. (2013)
Advances in medical science have often subtly and inadvertently subverted human connections and understandings. Vignettes spanning sixty years show how and why.
(12 pp). Time Traveller

[45] Our Ill-faring Welfare. The hinterland of our headlines. (2013)
Despite ever-increasing funding and management initiatives, our public welfare services seem riddled with unhappiness, corruption and sometimes cruelty. These are alarming paradoxes: how do we understand them?
(11 pp). Balance of Governance

[46] Bingo! Majoritarian Healthcare! (2013)
Transparency, Accountability and Democracy can seem like a protective triumvirate for public decision making, but these can easily turn shallow, demotic and false. Here is a small example of what is coming.
(5 pp). Balance of Governance

[47] Where in the World are You? Miraculous cyber; insidious dislocation. (2013)
What do mobile communications, Internet sex and modern schematised health systems have in common? – a computer mediated disconnection of intended content from embedding human context. What happens?
(10 pp).

[48] Form Devouring Essence: When brokered services tend broken hearts. (2014)
Our healthcare rhetoric of data and systems has largely destroyed our capacity to make the kind of personal bonds that understand and heal human dissonance. Stephen and his plight serve to illustrate and explore this.
(8 pp). Balance of Governance

[49] Autoasphyxiation: The doomed brief of GP Clinical Commissioning Groups. (2014)
The corralling of GPs to design and commission health services cannot counter the inherent disintegration and depersonalisation of Marketisation. A glimpse from the frontline.
(5 pp). Balance of Governance

[50] Some Countercultural Caveats for Pastoral Healthcare – the fractious coexistence of packaged care and therapeutic spirit. (2014)
Pastoral healthcare has a crisis of competence, morale and humanity. This currently eludes enormous funds and myriad think-tanks. The elusions are subtle. What are they?
(7 pp). Balance of Governance

[51] Neglect in NHS Healthcare? (2014)
We have turned families into factories.
(3 pp). Balance of Governance

[52] Packaged Mindfulness? Some unpackaged pieces of mind. Can our integrity and wisdom thrive with mass-production? (2014)
Our increasing push-buttoned and systems-managed world has produced myriad losses of human relationship and personal sentience. Can this then be countered by modern packaging of ancient wisdom and practices? Is this our wisest approach?
(16 pp)

[53] A day in the life. (2014)
Man Overboard! A brief autobiographical cross-section
(6 pp).

[54] NHS England 2014: Vichy France 1941: The old ghosts in our new NHS machine. (2014)
Governmentally prescribed schemes to increase democratic accountability in Welfare are easy to intend, yet very difficult to implement. They can easily backfire to unanticipated forms of oligarchy or totalitarianism. How does this happen?
(15 pp) Time Traveller

[55] Our unravelling humanity: do we need more regulations? (2014)
To its credit the government seems to now be understanding the importance of lost human connections. The response, though, is predictable: it is to add to Healthcare’s already massive regulation. This may add rather more to our problems. How?
(6 pp). Balance of Governance

[56] PBR, PBC, PCT, CCG, CMHT, CBT, NICE, QUOF: NHS Alphabetti spaghetti? A guide for the perplexed: a critical glossary. (2014)
What do the plethora of NHS institutional terms mean? Why are they important to understand? And what is their relationship to one another? Can this help explain our current malaise in healthcare? Here is a critical glossary.
(10 pp).

[57] Mass-produced Mindfulness for Common Mental Health Problems: The awkward dance between managed systems and human meaning. (2014)
A greater and calmer sentience is key to much of our better health and life-experiences. Can we mass-produce methods to achieve this?
(5 pp).

[58] Our Welfare is ill-fared by yet more strictures and structures. (2014)
Surely, all Welfare professionals should forever be more strictly appraised and registered? Here are some reasons why not.
(4 pp). Balance of Governance

[59] Six Suicides and One Homicide. The catastrophe of jettisoned personal containment in healthcare. (2015)
Care and treatment are different though synergistic. The increasing trend to executise treatment over care destroys this critical complementarity. The consequences show us how important are such balances.
(9 pp). Balance of Governance

[60] Healthcare's Hole in the Heart : Can we have value for money and not lose our humanity? (2015)
Efficiency has now become cardinal in healthcare management. Increasingly methods from competitive production industries have been adopted. Yet the results are often paradoxical and demotivating. Why is that?
Published in British Journal of General Practice, November 2019
(11 pp). Time Traveller

[61] Appraisals: how do we assure safety without asphyxiation? (2015)
‘We can’t carry on like this!’ is now a familiar cry of impotent frustration throughout Welfare services. Clearly we need challenges to our dysfunctional order. Yet our officials’ responses are often redolent of the last gasps of Empire: draconian authority with officious nervousness. What is happening?
This example – of General Practitioner Appraisals – is a telling microcosm.
(10 pp). Balance of Governance

[62] A Fortunate Man: the vulnerability of vocation. A major work revisited. (2015)
A Fortunate Man – a searching portrait of a country GP by essayist and novelist John Berger – was first published in 1967. It projected a highly personal view of medical practice: one undertowed by rich human complexity. Nearly fifty years later, what does this anciently pioneering book offer us?
(12 pp). Review

[63] Rick and Ajita: How may we reconcile systems of healthcare with our subtle humanity? (2015)
Systems – our ordering of commonalities – have contributed greatly to our treatment of structural disease. Elsewhere systems are much more problematic. Rick and Ajita show us how and why.
(9 pp). Balance of Governance

[64] Evidence from Professional Appraisals? We learn more about the governors than the governed. (2015)
Professional Appraisals have become often absurdly complex, cumbersome and remote, and then blindly authoritarian. Now they obscure and destroy more than they can assure. What, then, do Appraisals tell us?
(3 pp). Balance of Governance

[65] Off-piste: only fresh tracks lead to fraternalism in healthcare. (2016)
Care Pathways – executively designed systems for all – can easily displace the nourishment of our healthcare from fraternalism. What is that? Two intimate vignettes illustrate.
(10 pp).

[66] From Balint to Square-bashing. Fifty years’ experience of General Practice. (2016).
Our healthcare’s increasing employment of complex technology is often accompanied by a disinheritance of our human complexity. This inverse relationship is undesigned but ever-more important. A personal history of the culture explains.
(9 pp). Time Traveller

[67] Preventing Overdiagnosis? Yes, but what kind? Part 1: Geography. (2016)
‘Preventing overdiagnosis’ should be an undeniable call. Yet even to agree a definition will prove impossible. To understand why it requires us to look far beyond the workaday tenets of our professional practice: the hinterland is vast. This is the first of two parts.
(9 pp).

[68] Preventing Overdiagnosis? We need fewer systems and more philosophy Part 2: Geology. (2016)
Contemporary medical practice now harvests two new and increasing tranches of diagnosis: first, subjective experiences of discordance, disturbance or distress; then symptomless but risk-linked biometric anomalies. These have led to a massive medicalisation of areas of life often better otherwise understood.
(13 pp).

[69] Revitalising Holism. We need literature of wit and grit more than piety and idealisation. (2016)
‘Holism’ can easily become a politically correct, liberal healthcare catechism. A recently published book of sterling values, The Snake in the Clinic, illustrates the problem. Here is a review.
(5 pp)

[70] Our ailing profession. We need more than resilience and replenishment. (2016)
The malaise among NHS healthcarers is akin to the patient dying from an internal haemorrhage: oral replenishments, or even transfusions, may be very inadequate. A recent day conference parried this perspective.
(8 pp). Balance of Governance

[71] Can Art’s courageous experiments also be accessible? A review of a brief work of brilliant obscurity. (2016)
Sometimes art and philosophy tantalise us with ideas or experiences we can never quite ‘get’. Sometimes, we may suspect, this is the author’s intent. Can this, nevertheless, enrich us?
(4 pp). Review

[72] How and Why Do We Retire? Ill omens for younger doctors. (2016)
The nature of our departures from our work often tells us much about what kind of problems are being left behind. The individual may escape, but what about the wider community?
(6 pp). Balance of Governance

[73] Introductory note to Death by Documentation. (2016)
(3 pp).

[74] Death by Documentation: The penalty for corporate non-compliance. (2016)
Our organisational efforts to assure fail-safety, uniformity and probity can easily – in excess – turn destructive beyond anyone’s wish or anticipation. This tale tells how such ‘mission creep’ happens and how it is sustained.
(25 pp). Balance of Governance

[75] General Practice is the Art of the Possible: but we are turning it into a tyranny of the unworkable. Reflections on our inspections regime. (2016)
There used to be a tacit assumption that healthcare (and welfare generally) was mostly imperfectible, but that practitioners would generally do their best. All that has been replaced by something very different. This long letter – to an NHS inspection manager – shows in detail how we lose our professional trust, identity and integrity.
(25 pp). Balance of Governance

[76] CQC Inspection and closure of my NHS General Practice. Farewell from a long career. (2016)
Letter to Chief Medical Inspector of Care Quality Commission, November 2016
(2 pp). Balance of Governance

[77] The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating: Actual and virtual realities: how our inspection culture unhinges. (2016)
What’s really going on? How do we know? Who do we listen to: the participants or officially designated inspectors? This response to a contended official report – that rapidly closed down a small and very popular GP surgery – portrays our difficulties.
(33 pp). Balance of Governance

[78] Is expedience the death of our professional spirit? What our colleagueial utterances are telling us. (2016)
Short-term adaptations to survive may – longer term – have the reverse effect. How can this be? This short dispatch, from an ailing frontline of our NHS, explains.
(5 pp). Balance of Governance

[79] Too Big to Talk About. Organisational momentum: its paralytic wake. (2016)
Corporatism often enlarges and entrenches itself by increasing demands for compliance. Eventually though, unchecked, this will sicken any organisation. Such is now evidently ailing our NHS. A brief glimpse from a small conference provides a sample.
(6 pp). Balance of Governance

[80] I, Daniel Blake. Industrialised humanity: why and how should we care for one another? Fraternal wisdom from a film maker. (2017)
How do we best assess the complex needs of others? Are these best served by always increasing systems – now particularly computerisation and proceduralisation – to determine our human contact? A recent film I, Daniel Blake, cautions with courageous wisdom.
(11 pp). Review

[81] When is Compliance Necessary for Public Safety? The policing of Welfare: a personal story. (2017)
Imposing managerial order onto some aspects of our natural human complexity is far more easy and attractive to design than to sustain. Our misplaced and excessive efforts can lose us far more than we gain. Here is one salutary story and a broader analysis of social control.
(12 pp). Balance of Governance

[82] Holism is less about eliminating root causes than tending our many branches. Reflections on causation in healthcare. (2017)
Attributing causes to human behaviour and predicaments may seem often essential and sometimes easy: it is frequently tricky. With the pursuit of ‘root causes’ this is especially so – the greater our efforts, the more we are likely to miss. An intimately observed example explains.
(9 pp).

[83] Abolishing the NHS Internal Market. Too big to talk about? (2017)
Our healthcare culture is now largely controlled by notions of commerce, ubiquitous surveillance and micromanagement. The inevitable depersonalisation is increasingly disliked by both healthcarers and patients. Nevertheless we seem unable to reverse these effects. What is happening? How do we respond?
(13 pp). Balance of Governance

[84] When is Change Progress? Are we throwing the baby out with the bath water? (2017)
Risk management and quality assurance must always be good, surely? Not necessarily. More of something good is not always better. Sometimes we can add more problems than we take away. A complex public event and two private dialogues illustrate.
(9 pp). Balance of Governance

[85] David Zigmond: Biography for Centre for Welfare Reform. (2017)
(3 pp).

[86] Should All Doctors be Resuscitators? Unfactored costs of prescribed risk management. Rhetoric is easier than reality. (2017)
Being prepared for unlikely risk or adversity may sound like good counsel. But only so far: beyond that other things are damaged. This speculative analysis is of a recent safeguarding inspection. It demonstrates how apparently sensible procedures may, when extended, distort and implicate far more than we usually imagine or intend. What happens? How do we understand?
(11 pp). Balance of Governance

[87] The Cost of Everything and the Value of Nothing. (2017)
A recent book NHS For Sale provides a trenchant analysis of how the market brings waste, expensive complexity and inevitable corruption to healthcare. But the damage is even more extensive: this review and reflection explores. Review (8 pp). Balance of Governance

[88] A Healthy Heart for the NHS? What is the price of sacrificing personal relationships for public money? (2017)
A recent article, Back in the emergency room, conveys clearly the twenty-five years of economic waste and organisational inefficiency brought by the serial reforms to our NHS. The author, though, does not address the human damage and cost. Here is a corrective.
(7 pp). Balance of Governance

[89] WRONG, WRONG, WRONG ... OUT! How can we contain one-size-fits-all policies? Three struggling letters. (2017)
Our welfare services are increasingly controlled by RMIC (remote management, inspection and compliance) regimes. Evidence of long-term benefits of RMIC are patchy and contentious; evidence of damage or harm is much more substantial, and by many indices. These problems, and the difficulty engaging authorities, are illustrated by three letters between a coercively ‘decommissioned’ GP and a governing authority (the Care Quality Commission).
(19 pp). Balance of Governance

[90] Hi Tech With Many Human Hearts. Vitalising humanity from a film maker. (2017)
A recent film Heal the Living (directed by Katell Quillévérré, 2016) weaves a rich tapestry. Life’s vicissitudes, human paradox and interconnectedness – all are here: holism at its most raw and tender.
Spoiler alert: This article describes much of the content of the film.
(4 pp). Review

[91] Déjà Vu. Twenty-first century healthcare reforms and post-war urban renewal. (2017)
Two large reforming movements in recent history have lost their human sense as they have gained momentum. What did they overlook? What can we learn?
(25 pp). Time Traveller

[92] Boadicea and The Machine. The price of survival as a frontline medical practitioner. (2017)
NHS doctors describe increasing stress, pressure, demoralisation and alienation. What is this like to work in? Why is this happening? A recent book, Your Life In My Hands: A Junior Doctor’s Story, offers vivid description and challenging analysis.
(13 pp). Review

[93] People or Procedures? Personalised treatment can be very different to personal care. Why? (2017)
Recent advances in genetic mapping herald some dramatically positive developments in hi tech healthcare. Yet this is paralleled by unprecedented ailing demoralisation and alienation within the service that will deliver these. How do we explain this discrepancy? What can we expect?
(13 pp).

[94] Not So Sapiens After All. Lessons for Welfare from a history teacher. (2017)
The trials and tribulations of our Welfare system have deeper and more complex roots than many can imagine. A recent and remarkable book Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind can greatly help deepen and broaden our understanding. Also published in the Journal of holistic healthcare, Volume 15, Issue 3, Autumn 2018, pp 63-64
(10 pp). Review

[95] One Small Altercation: a Massive ResiduumHow do large systems deal with outliers? (2017))
Speaking truth to power may be straightforward in intent but rarely in course. This essayed letter to a health service safeguarding board (NHS Care Quality Commission) illustrates typical difficulties – personal, practical, philosophical and ethical. The questions raised are crucial throughout our tribulated Welfare services.
(23 pp). Balance of Governance

[96] Whatever happened to professional judgement and responsibility? (2017)
The erosion of a gratifying sense of professionalism is now – belatedly – often cited as a major factor in the collapsing morale of NHS doctors. How has this happened?
(8 pp). Balance of Governance

[97] Why are we so resistant to holism? (2017)
Our technologies – so irresistibly convenient – often enter our lives with costs that are more subtle: our more natural senses of personal context, meaning and relationship. Why does this happen? What can we do about it?
(11 pp).

[98] If we fast-track primary care, what do we lose? (2017)
Speedier access, diagnosis, treatment and despatch may seem like undeniable progress for our healthcare. Yet such benefits may come with a large, though less obvious, sacrifice.
(9 pp). Balance of Governance

[99] Prevention must always be better than cure, surely? The potential perfidy of our expanding pre-emptive regulation. (2017)Due to subsequent events this article was rewritten in 2021. Please see Article 136.
To effectively forestall trouble we often need prescience, strength and boldness. Yet greater wisdom and probity sometimes comes, instead, from nuance, discrimination and restraint. A current example from healthcare and an elderly yet prophetic science fiction classic show us how and why.
(14pp). Balance of Governance

[100] Collectivising the Personal. Seminal lessons from Bolshevism. (2017)
There is a time-honoured principle and skill involved in all medical practice: we must be vigilant to those times when our interventions are making people ill, or iller. Ignoring this in public policy can cause exponential damage. Unlikely co-examples? The USSR ninety years ago and our contemporary NHS governance.
(11pp). Time Traveller

[101] Pornography in High Places. Reflections on sex, calumny and human nature. (2017)
Sometimes public accusations tell us, implicitly, more about the numerous accusers than the solitary accused. What does that mean? Here is one recent example, explored. (9pp).

[102]When is deviation perversion? How do we assess real harm? Legality is often easier to define than wisdom. (2018)
The unexpected often alerts us to the potentially malign. Defensive responses follow, often then blinding us to other possibilities. Here is a surgeon who stepped out of line. How did we respond? What did it mean? (6pp).

[103] The Price We Pay for ‘Certainty’. An unseemly tale. (2018)
Living in a world of ever-greater knowledge can bring us expectations that burden more than benefit us. There is always a price for dividends.
(4 pp).

[104] We Are Not Alone. The healing shadow of the other. (2018)
Apart from what we may do in healthcare, why and how else are we important for one another? Accounts from a recent illness and a colleagueial exchange explore.
(6 pp).

[105] Shame: healthcare’s unmeasurable undertows. (2018)
Medical and mental healthcare have become increasingly transmitted by notions and language of the explicit, the designatory and the measurable. What happens to the rest of our humanity? Three vignettes from different decades illustrate.
(10pp). Time Traveller     Balance of Governance

[106] When nostalgia becomes prophecy: an omened vignette. (2018)
Sometimes ‘minor’ historic observations tell us of very major changes we have undergone but not yet apprehended. Here is one.

[107] Industrialised Humanity. How may we best care for one another? A dialogue between the Centre for Welfare Reform and Dr David Zigmond. (2018)
Massive advances in our technology – particularly IT – have made possible new forms of ‘evidence-based’ corporate management and industrialisation. These have frequently been linked to marketisation.
But such ‘advances’ are paralleled by growing distress and demoralisation throughout our welfare services. Why? What can we do about it? (15pp). Balance of Governance

[108] Life After Death? A posthumous dispute. (2018)
The end of contractual employment usually terminates our legal responsibility. But what about our moral responsibility toward unattended compromises we know we are leaving? How well can ghosts speak for, and to, the living?
Here is a virtual dialogue with healthcare’s governing authorities.
(10pp). Balance of Governance

[109] Bad humanity is bad economics: the perils of industrialised healthcare. (2019)
In 2014 the venerated King’s Fund published Reforming the NHS from within. Beyond hierarchy, inspection and markets. This was a diligent but bold study shows how recent reforms have helped neither the economics nor the efficiency of the system. Subsequent events have shown, increasingly, that report’s accuracy and thus enduring relevance.
But the King’s Fund did not venture to define or explain the psychological or social damage caused by the flawed reforms. This omission is important: the King’s Fund is powerfully influential, and so – often – are their reports. This paper addresses those omissions and then offers some remedial suggestions.
(32 pp). Balance of Governance

[110] ‘Two stars and a wish’: can the best of ourselves really be regulated? (2018)
Regulations are sometimes mandatory for public safety, probity and decency. But what is the role of the regulator in our subtler activities of Welfare? Eve’s predicament is now common: it should caution us.
(5pp). Balance of Governance

[111] How may disciplining authorities best be dialogic? Should governance have limits in Welfare?(2018)
Is the nature and quality of our healthcare a primary social and political responsibility? If so, its assurance – by governmental regulation, management and inspection – must always be good, surely?
Not so: more of something ‘good’ is not always better – it is often worse. This paradox is often refractory to dialogue. An essayed letter, to a senior officer of a healthcare executive body (the Care Quality Commission – CQC), samples this process and what can happen.
(13pp). Balance of Governance

[112] Rehumanising General Practice? A cautionary tale. (2018)
Why and how are personal and family doctoring becoming extinct? An account of a clash with governing authorities – here published in e-Organisations & People – illustrates.
(11pp). Balance of Governance

[113] Our ailing NHS: the follies beyond our financial struggles. (2019)
Have our successive healthcare reforms provided, as promised, better efficiency and value for money? Or have they, rather more, created both psychological and social damage to healthcarers and thus the care they provide?
(14 pp). Balance of Governance

[114] This is Going to Hurt ... so how do we bear the pain? (2019)
Why and how do we conceal or displace our most painful experiences with public displays of humour? A recent bestseller This is Going to Hurt leads us, with doomed wit, to a darkness beneath.
(7pp). Review

[115] Admissions: a neurosurgeon’s life of devotion, struggle and resignation. (2019)
How much can autobiographical reflections help us face our larger shared problems of humanity? This essayed review exploresAdmissions, a very personal and long-term view of healthcare.
(10pp). Review

[116] The disintegration of General Practice is mostly due to its serial reforms. (2019)
Why is it so difficult to get continuity of care, or even an appointment, with your GP? And why is the GP workforce now so unhappy and depleted? Here are some explanations beyond those of increasing demands and how we finance them.
(6pp). Balance of Governance

[117] Unravelling General Practice: the tragic legacy of our serial reforms. (2019)
Why and how are we caring so ineptly for the services that must care for others? The current plight of General Practice has much to teach us.
(4pp). Balance of Governance

[118] The policed industrialisation of our Welfare services: How excessive safeguarding becomes destructive folly. (2019)
We all want safe, efficient, skilled and humane Welfare services. Yet ever-increasing regulation and inspection, beyond a certain point, yield us something quite different. This manifesto, for The Centre for Welfare Reform, outlines the nature and severity of the problem and what else we might do.
(9 pp). Balance of Governance

[119] The More Abbreviations, the Less Personal Care: the depersonalised relegation of a corporatised NHS. (2019)
In our Welfare activities there is often an instructive and inverse relationship between the burgeoning of new institutional terms and language we use on the one hand, and the declining core of human interactions we are trying to guide and safeguard on the other. The profuse new lexicon currently generated by reforms attempting to salvage NHS General Practice illustrates this. What is its significance?
(5 pp). Balance of Governance

[120] Whatever Happened to Medicine’s Mojo?. (2019)
The scientific effectiveness of modern medicine is ever-more powerful. Why, then, are doctors in the NHS feeling so dispirited and discounted? Here, a brief outline of our healthcare’s organisation over the last century provides some answers.
(12pp). Time Traveller     Balance of Governance

[121] Money Can’t Buy You Love. The perishing of our healthcare’s human heart: a historical perspective. (2019)
Can the important deficits in our NHS healthcare be adequately remedied by more money and staff? If not, why not? A brief survey of the last hundred years may clarify.
(8pp). Time Traveller     Balance of Governance

[122] NHS morale needs more than money. (2019)
Heated debate about how and how much to fund and resource our NHS continues, rightly, to rage. Yet in this contentious heat are we often blind-sided to another aspect of our problems?
(5pp). Balance of Governance

[123] A Loss of Human Sense and Scale: a view from general practice. (2020)
What happens to our welfare services if our drive for ‘efficiency’ drives out the smaller scale that fertilises our better human sense? This dialogue examples and explores the current abject plight of NHS general practice.
(12 pp). Balance of Governance

[124] Is Covid 19 the denouement for our marketised NHS? (2020)
The government's decisive response to the Coronavirus epidemic indicates their implicit acknowledgement of the limitations and dangers of a marketised healthcare system. What now? Is this realisation enough?
(4pp). Balance of Governance

[125] Covid-19: are there lessons from history? (2020)
Currently we are caught in a maelstrom of the very alien and all-too-human. What are we to make of our diligent and bravely steadfast healthcarers having to face a dangerous pandemic while so dangerously ill-equipped? Some historical snapshots may explain.
(7 pp). Time Traveller     Balance of Governance

[126] Human contact: do we need it in medical practice? (2020)
Have rapid recent advances in IT rendered traditional face-to-face medical consultations largely redundant? Here are the views of three doctors: one younger, publicly on television; two older, more privately.

[127] How and why have we so misbegotten our NHS staff? (2020)
In Covid-stunned UK our NHS workers are currently lionised and eulogised. But this is very different to most of their experiences in recent years. What does this tell us about our working culture? And what can we do about it? This analysis is of culture, and its social and motivational psychology.
(9 pp)

[128] Destroying relics does not destroy cultural legacies. (2020)
Human history, like individual human lives, often reveals many stories we later find ugly or incomprehensible. What should we do with these puzzling or disturbing relics?
(3 pp)

[129] Sorry we missed you: the many echoes and omens from the gig economy. (2020)
A year before our Covid 19 maelstrom a film, Sorry we missed you, portrayed with trenchant and stark clarity the frequent personal effects of the gig economy for those at the bottom end of the consumer chain. This belated but now even more timely review asks: what is the wider relevance of this for our Welfare and healthcare, especially now that our complex economy is rendered even more perilous?
[5pp] Review

[130] Our Post-Covid NHS: whither our withered personal continuity of care? (2020)
What is the value, and future, of personal continuity of healthcare? The current global Covid-19 pandemic has led, for now, to a near-total eclipse of these questions. But what will we see when this eclipse has passed?
A clinical vignette from 1978 is an ancient reminder of what, in all likelihood, we are losing.
(13pp) Time Traveller

[131] NHS Healthcarers' Staff Erosion, England 2020s: Dust Bowl USA 1930 (2020)
Globally we are now – if belatedly and erratically – awakening to the cost of something long-forewarned: the opportunistic disrespect and disregard of the natural environment and ecosystems on which we all ultimately depend. Is the ailing and unravelling of our previously healthy NHS a microcosm of this global pattern? Is it a parallel process? If so, what should we do?
(10pp) Time Traveller

[132] Harold Shipman, Serial Killer: Mad, Bad or … What? Our righteous horror revisited (2020)
The most shocking destructive human acts are designated by the State – and in our minds – as either wilful criminality or insanity. In the final event the law will decide. How much do these categories help?
(9pp) Time Traveller

[133] Then and Now: What can we learn? (2020)
A short explanatory note about the Then and Now articles
(1pp) Then and Now 

[134] Then and Now: Hannah and Her Physician (2020)
What have we lost in the relentless tide towards ever-greater specialisation and packaged healthcare?
(5pp) Then and Now 

[135] Behind the NHS Logo: What kind of NHS will survive? (2021)
The Covid pandemic has challenged and stretched the NHS as never before. What kind of service is likely to emerge and survive?

[136] When is prevention not better than cure? The perverse cost of our healthcare's recent pre-emptive regulation (2021)
To effectively forestall trouble, we must be able to exercise prescience, strength and boldness. Yet only sometimes: each generation must learn how our pre-emption may also do much harm. Here is a recent example of such harm in healthcare, flanked by a vintage yet prophetic science fiction classic: together they show us how and why we often need restraint. Here we can see a major blight to our pre-Covid NHS, and - as we look with anxious hope toward our post-Covid NHS - what will be important to rescind.
(14pp) Then and Now 

[137] Restoring Our Better NHS: abolishing marketised commissioning is an essential start but is not nearly enough (2021)
The government's long parried acknowledgement of the unviability of many years' NHS reforms will be welcomed by almost all its healthcare staff. But this proposed reform-of-reforms appears to overlook many of our recently accrued problems. What are these?

[138] What do we want of doctors beside biomedical science? (2021)
Our Covid-crisis has necessarily concentrated NHS general practice into a remotely delivered Sort, Fix and Send (SFS) service and - latterly - a mass-vaccination contributor. The current Health Secretary says that further remote digitised-cybernation of general practice is now the way ahead for our post-Covid NHS. What is at stake?

[139] How far can we police the obscurely perverse? Reflections on the sacred, the satanic and the State (2021)
How might we understand the abduction-murders of women? And what is the State's role in preventing such haunting crimes?

[140] Digital Healthcare: Clouded Horizons. Specious optimism from pundits and politicians (2021)
The New Statesman recently published a supplement largely supportive of massively increasing digital consultations and clinical management within the NHS. But this would incur significant perils and losses. What are these?

[141] See it, Say it, Sorted. To tell, or not to tell? (2021)
What do we want to know, and what not? This often seems 'irrational', even unnegotiable to others. Three vignettes from different decades portray our conundrums.

[142] The whole is more than the sum of its parts. Three tales of human richness and obscurity. (2021)
In the interests of healthcare economy and its professionals' delivery agility many - politicians, planners and now younger doctors - are vaunting the merits of more remote and procedurally algorithmic practice. These both assume and predicate the irrelevance of personal continuity of care. Yet much gets lost. What? Three authentic tales from a single practice illustrate.
(12pp) Then and Now 

[143] Identification or commodification? How do we best staff our NHS? (2021)
The last thirty years of our NHS have been largely shaped by reforms modelled on competitive manufacturing industries: these have led to a commodification of staffing and services. What has been lost? Two vignettes, separated by nearly fifty years, give us something of an answer. The last thirty years of our NHS have been largely shaped by reforms modelled on competitive manufacturing industries: these have led to a commodification of staffing and services. What has been lost? Two vignettes, separated by nearly fifty years, give us something of an answer. (6pp) Then and Now 

[144] Beyond Our NHS Logo: What kind of NHS will survive?  (2021)
The Covid pandemic has challenged and stretched the NHS as never before. What kind of service is likely to emerge and survive? (8pp)

M. Transcripted interviews

1. A day in the life
Interview with Pulse, October 2014 – Article 53

2. Only personally fulfilled practitioners can deliver good personal healthcare
Interview with Independent Age, May 2016 – Letter 49

3. Industrialised Humanity. How may we best care for one another?
Interview with John Burton from the Centre for Welfare Reform, February 2018 – Article 107

4. Life After Death? A posthumous dispute 2018 - Article 108

5. A Loss of Human Sense and Scale 2020 - Article 123
A dialogue with Doctors for the NHS

N. The Perils of Industrialised Healthcare

The Perils of Industrial Healthcare

The End?

Section Contents Copyright ©; Dr David Zigmond 1976, 2017, 2020, 2021

David Zigmond would be pleased to receive your feedback


Version: 18th January 2021