Saturday, 10 October 2009

Lies, damn lies and dipsticks

I was mildly amused by an article in this week’s Examiner where Liberal Vannin took exception to the use of the ‘Pathway’ system at Nobles (see To be honest, after a quick giggle at yet another desperate Manx press ‘shock horror expose’ with no substance I then thought no more of it for a couple of days.
This is, after all, a political grouping which calls itself ‘liberal’ yet includes white flighters thrown out of UKIP for stirring up race hate. And this is a ‘local newspaper’ which, as part of a plan to drive the last locally owned publication out of business and get an advertising monopoly, ran uncut government press releases as an unspoken condition of getting the government advertising. Even funnier, Johnston Press staff seem to be so underpaid they’re moonlighting as PR hacks for troubled government departments.
And even funnier than that, Johnston Press management are key partners in Freedom to Flourish, which, under the pretence of running an international PR campaign for the island, actually creates the bogus community groups (known in PR speak as ‘astroturf’) whose activities fill the ‘community’ and ‘charity’ columns. Helpfully, the F to F hacks we, the public, pay around half a million for via government PR initiatives are kind enough to write all the publicity for such groups. Otherwise we might not think the island is a caring place where poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia and corruption don’t exist.
Then I happened to be at an advisory meeting, supposedly on NHS ethics, where a senior local Catholic tried to move discussion to the Pathway initiative and complain that patients have no say in end of life decisions (I know, Catholic and end of life decisions, goes together like Nick Griffin and racial tolerance, doesn’t it?).
Because of other strange comments at the meeting I was intrigued enough to wonder where Karran’s complaint came from. Just jumping on fear and folk myths, or ‘advised’ by anyone or anything specific?
I knew, for example, the Catholic speaker had been ‘advised’ by his seniors in Liverpool, where the Pathway project began. And I knew that senior UK Catholics are rabble-rousing and scare-mongering in response to the recent legal clarifications over assisted suicide.
So I looked at the story again, and noted that: “Party members explained they are not questioning the plan's use for the terminally ill in Hospice Isle of Man but for those who are 'probably' dying in Noble's Hospital.”
Hmm, that’s strange. A private health facility (though underwritten by public money) which provides end of life care you wouldn’t submit your dog to, which relies on volunteers and ‘alternative therapists’ rather than employ qualified staff and offer scientifically proven medical treatment, which, mysteriously, never has the capacity to deal with working people of slender means dying of the most awful cancers, yet always has a place for wealthy bods still capable of changing their wills….
So, while this excuse for a hospital has been using the Pathway system for years, Karran is only concerned about those who are ‘probably’ dying in Nobles ( in other words, there are rumours about Nobles but absolutely no substance)?
How curious!
Could all this have anything to do with information given to the Daily Telegraph by another consultant, who pointed out that the Liverpool Care Pathway was developed by one Professor John Ellershaw. Thing is, as well as being a consultant in palliative medicine Ellershaw also features prominently in material by Care Not Killing, a right wing coalition which includes most of the flakiest ‘pro-life’ nutjobs and churches such as the C of E. This is not counting around a million in funding to CNK from the Catholic church via front groups specifically to enable ‘spontaneous’ calls from the ‘concerned public’ to any radio show phone-in on pro-life issues.
We should also note that hospice and palliative care ‘professionals’ are the most rabid opponents to assisted suicide in any form. Well, they would be, wouldn’t they?
Patients making informed advance decisions to die at a time when things get too much? That takes valuable income away from those whose only interest is spinning out our suffering as long as possible, in order to charge to the max for snake-oil ‘therapies’ with no practical or scientifically testable effect.

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