I am very glad to see in last week’s Mid Devon the wide, robust support for this hospital. It has served the people very well since very early in the 50s when Britain was on its ‘uppers’ after WW2.
Readers will know that I have been on the case for the Community Hospitals for years. I have spent thousands of hours in my retirement on this, both in South Devon, and Devon more widely – especially in its north. In spite of fact and logic, and along with other conscientious citizens, I have seen a fatal combination of the CCG and the Torbay ‘Trust’ closing 70% of these beds. As predicted, the inability to discharge patients promptly from Torbay when right to do so, and to exclude the best care to patients who can best be treated primarily by GPs in local hospitals, has been proven.
This has reflected a ‘neo-liberal’ ideology in the three main political parties. The idea is that ‘public’ is bad, and ‘private’ with so called competition, and privatisation, are good. For instance, a talk I gave in Totnes in 2007 was entitled ‘Your NHS: Going, going, gone.’ It was widely advertised and all those town councils where there were community hospitals were written to. 30 people turned up – mostly GP friends and their ex-nurse wives. There was one councillor. This was at the tail end of a Labour regime. For too many decades OUR NHS has been a political football and victim to political whim.
Readers who notice signals will have questioned why April 1stwas chosen as a calendar day for the launching of the Health and Social Care Bill in 2012. This was driven through with Lansley, now Baron Lansley. What ever was said ‘The NHS is Safe in Our Hands’ etc, the opposite was intended. This bill was not founded on professional knowledge and experience in our medical services. Instead there was major input from such as PWc, McKinsey et al.
Copies to Chairman of TSDHT – Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson KBE, CB, DSC ‘Provider’ body
and Dr Paul Johnson Chairman of the Devon Clinical Commissioning Group ‘Commissioning’ body
and Professor Adrian Harris Executive Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive, Royal Devon and Exeter
Open letter – see https://dhalpin.infoaction.org.uk/ or search ‘david halpin’
Dear Dr Dyer, 2nd of November 2020
This is necessarily long but should be of interest and a spur to re-evaluation of the present downward direction of OUR NHS, and towards the better for it, and for our society in general.
My own course as a patient, and in service within OUR NHS
You will know me by reputation, and from your wife Stephanie caring for me as a GP. She might have sought your advice as an endocrinologist about my iatrogenic but not fully expressed diabetes ‘insipidus’- due to damage of my secondary renal tubules from 27 years of Lithium – 800 mg pd rising to 1000 mg pd. Nocturia and extreme urgency of micturition resulting. ‘Isosthenuria.’ This was stopped in Spring 2019 at my request having learned of the cause of several ‘side effects’ from my reading. My fingertips were becoming numb and I love using my hands. This was out of self-diagnosis - ‘physician heal thyself!’. BNF advice was to review the need for further prescription of this nerve and kidney poison every 3-4 years. That never happened to my knowledge.
There were other deleterious side effects – cerebellar ataxia, thankfully largely resolved, shoe size increase from 11.5/12 to 14 – handmade boots necessary, sudden onset of hyperacusis with my own speech as I weened off the Li, etc. At a second opinion with Dr Jeannie Todd at the Hammersmith last March (requested by me) I was found to be a little dry (I note loss of skin turgor on waking in the morning), hyperparathyroidism secondary to Vit D deficiency, and some iron deficiency. Latter longstanding. I have put this down to achlorhydria. (Vit B12 required for about 15 years. I do not associate the latter with inappropriate consumption of Li.)
Readers might recall my summary of a long process well before any ‘consultation’ about a glossy ‘hub’. OUR NHS - Destabilise>demoralise>dismantle. And perhaps they would have read the quote from the annexe to my web site when I stood, with some exhilaration, as a truly independent candidate in Newton Abbot last December. Here it is again -
In his report to the Conservative Party’s Economic Reconstruction Group in 1977, Nicholas Ridley wrote that: "...denationalisation should not be attempted by frontal attack but by preparation for return to the private sector by stealth. We should first pass legislation to destroy the public sector monopolies. We might also need to take power to sell assets. Secondly, we should fragment the industries as far as possible and set up the units as separate profit centres."
But do not look just at the Tory party. The other two, Tweedledum and Tweedle, have the same core. This is called, by euphemism, ‘neo-liberal’. ‘New liberal’ - that is having been either on the ‘right’ or the ‘left’ before. This is typical of the distraction used to fascinate the minds of the electorate/plebiscite. The EU has it in its core also. The essence is the idea that competition brings efficiency and general good, as against the command economies of the former USSR or Mao’s China. The reader will know that neither ideology brings too much ‘good’. Good comes from the essential spirit within the human, and indeed the animal kingdom, along with ‘common sense’.
This large and complex ship is steaming at maximum knots. It is crammed to the gun-whales with passengers. On the bridge and down in the engine room there are the GPs, specialists, nurses and all the important others keeping the ship on course and the screws turning.
'Sparks' the radio officer is doing his best to keep up with the stream of often contradictory messages coming over the short wave from the owners' offices.
Hunt, Dr Poulter, Nicholson, Keogh, Hakin et al are barking out the orders across the ether. The deck hands are shifting the deck chairs furiously as directed from the Westminster head office whilst the band plays on, and on.
There is dense fog and there are icebergs about. Should the officers of the watch go to 'slow ahead' and change course? If the course and speed are held, disaster is sure. If the SS NHS sinks, it will be sunk for ever. It will never be re-floated.
Clerk to Haccombe with Combe Parish Council bccs to interested/supportive villagers
I have yet to reply to your brief e-mail when you told me that the 'PRWO' Mr Jonathan Rowlands had walked up the drove track, and then right up to No Man's Land a week or two after the 'fire', with two parish councillors. I will do so but should be grateful for your help as numbered below.
1. The PC has been privileged in receiving information from PC Robert Harvey about the arson. Although I e-mailed him twice I had no replies from him. He had replied about the theft of the post - in essence down to me. You told me that he said the black Ford Focus had been sold on several times. No crime number was given to me that your contacts with him had generated. The registration plate (and I learn they are being stolen and swapped without DVLA or police action) was recorded by the PC chairman, Tim Boarer. Please tell me of his relevant observations. You told me he had walked up the track that afternoon of the 2-06-2020 and seen the car positioned on the track - at a point nearest the linhay we finished building with a good stone mason and carpenter in 1994. Home to barn owls later - nest included by me in the building.
2. You said Mr Rowlands was going to write to me. 4 months have passed. I have heard nothing from him. As you know I have never had any contact with him ever since he was party with Dr Matthew Fox and the parish council in the removal of the posts in October 2012. The posts had been set in place by me and Mark Blaber, whom I have employed for most of 40 years in about 2000 to stop destruction, especially of the hedge bank I own. You will know that I have cared for this ancient drove track for c. 40 years, about six years before I bought the 25 acres to the east in 1986.
I have read again the two postings on my website found by searching <drove track>. My accounts are clear. I do not retreat one iota from saying 'the culmination of a malicious campaign by the Haccombe with Combe Parish Council.