NHS and UK government is ploughing money into studying ethnic groups in England for healthcare purposes.
This post has come about by mistake…I had intended to just get my flu jab. Whilst I was driving into the clinic, a man bounced out in front of the car, onto the road in front of me. Of course, I slowed down to avoid running him over.
I glared at him from the car whilst shaking my head, smiling at him as if to say, ‘what are you like?’ He turned and gave me a look that I can only describe as ‘so fucking what? I’ll do what I like.’ I had been expecting an apologetic face which he should have been wearing for making me slam on the breaks to save his dumb arse.
Driving on, I arrived at the GP surgery and park up. I’m a little shaken but okay. It is around ten steps into the surgery, I take my stick and trundle into the building. This has taken me a few minutes. I’m stood in reception, there is no staff on the desk, no signs of where to go, nothing telling me what to do.
Then the same young man glides past me and with a slight smile heads through a door towards the corridor which leads to the consulting rooms. I decide to follow. As I arrive at the corridor I can see the reception staff who are milling around and the young man sits down next to others waiting on a chairs. There are no other spare chairs.
There are around eight people sat in a row and as I watch the receptionist look at the man and she nods at him to go in. I ask her where the flu clinic is and she tells me I’m in it and to take a seat…
Now I am annoyed, I feel this man has jumped the queue and is very rude. I had arrived in the building first…I let it go as there is nothing else I can do. This man looks south Asian so who am I to question if he knows the rules to queuing and being polite? Trying to brush it off, I smile and chat with the others whilst I wait and am soon called in. I get the old jab in the old arm. All good and I leave, still a little annoyed but covering it well.
I’m happy that I have the jab. The NHS flu jab is only given to the most vulnerable, old and sick so I was pleased to have qualified again. I’ve been able to get one for the last five years, apart from last year. Last year it was refused as my notes weren’t over from my old GP. The new GP refused to believe I had lung and heart disease for months until I found and took down the paperwork to prove it.
After the clinic, I went onto to my next chore of collecting a prescription I had dropped in earlier in the week at Sainsbury’s – they have a Lloyds pharmacy at my local. This involves more organisation and a lot of effort on my part. After parking, getting the wheelchair together and getting myself across the store I am shattered. I’m not in the mood to be given bad news.
Saturday mornings are busy in supermarkets. It’s a hassle. Chemists don’t have to deliver medications so they don’t. Basically if I want my medication I have to go and physically get it regardless of how sick I am. Which I do – I’m just telling you as many people seem to believe everything floats to me on a disabled accessibility cloud.
At the counter in the middle of the supermarket, I’m told by the chemist, who insisted on talking quietly to me from the other side of the counter and asking me to speak up, that I can only collect half of the prescription. I sat there in the supermarket and cried out of frustration for a few minutes.
The lady behind the counter then becomes quite sweet and finds me a tissue, she explained that my GP hadn’t put the dosage on the script, it would be sorted out for next time she promised. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard these same words. Also hinted at future delivery option too, faith a little restored.
Once home, in anger and frustration, I research my GP surgery. I’m looking for a complaints section on their website. This is not the first time they have been rather mean to me or we’ll just say they make continual mistakes in my care which are frustrating and sometimes bordering on dangerous.
It was easy to find them online. Distracted I searched through their special clinics where I found a some treatment programs listed. I got mighty upset….I have lifted the text directly from my GP surgeries site in Watford, Herts and show it here:
East London Genes and Health
South Asian people have some of the highest rates of heart disease, diabetes, and poor health in the UK. Living with a long term illness has a major impact on a person’s quality of life and on their family.
East London Genes and Health is a medical research study set up to help fight against these and other major diseases.
The primary objective of the research is to investigate and understand why some individuals have a disease and help suggest how new medicines and treatments might be developed.
*If this were actually true maybe I would applaud it however it isn’t.
This East London Genes and Health program intrigued me. It sent me on another little research mission and I could find no evidence to support what this program is saying.
In fact poor health, heart disease and diabetes are just as likely to strike a black or white person as an Asian person. Bad health affects all peoples equally. It is wrong that funding is going towards such a program and for so long too.
It is wrong that certain ethnicity’s in the UK are given preferential treatment and care.
It should probably also be noted that the ethnic group ‘South Asian’ is rather large. It covers a huge amount of countries so it isn’t about a control group for easy study. Here is what wiki says about the ethnicity of this group and where they could originate.
“South Asian ethnic groups are a composition of the diverse population of South Asia, including the nations of India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.”
I look into this quite heavily for a few hours and I suggest if you do the same you will find the same – incidences of heart disease, diabetes and lung disease are not specific to race. However the NHS funnels monies into programs for this reason.
If this was a study of white people to make sure they were getting proper healthcare within the NHS it would be certainly classed as racist and as such this program of study and entitlement to medicines on ethnicity is racist.
The program does get it’s funding from several sources but its still for spurious reasons.
This outlines the study itself the cohort profile of the East London genes and health program. It gains its evidence for the program from this article,
The study does show that they looked at samples of a million patients of the NHS but the UK has many millions of patients… The result of the study are on page five. Again, I will say there really is very little evidence to support continual funding of special treatments and care for these individuals.
So is the NHS is being racist towards non South Asians?
As many of the doctors and the chemists in my local area fall into this particular ethnic bracket it is considerably worrying as to how easy it is to prefer treatment to people they feel more obliged to through this program.
Also the changes in benefits rely heavily on your GP filling out the correct forms if you are poorly, if white people and black people are considered ‘stronger’ what does this mean regarding to how they are viewed by their South Asian doctors?
We must stop testing ‘groups’ of people…especially with NHS monies..surely this should be a private study funded purely by those involved?
Racism is a term used to describe when a certain set of peoples are not given the same services and use of facilities as others.
So I have some questions.
Where is independent scientific evidence to support that South Asians need more care?
How did they get funding?
How much money have they had?
What is the involvement of the doctors and why?
How many patients are currently in study?
How many patients have gained benefit through this scheme?
What has been gained?
Who will benefit from the overall research?
Will medicines which have been researched through this program be available to others of non South Asian descent?
When did Watford become East London?
This is divide and conquer theory at it’s best but that doesn’t excuse it. Now at fifty years old I am starting to realise that my tolerance for others was never met…this is a very sad state of affairs.
If I feel like this, I can only imagine how others feel watching their loved ones go untreated whilst wondering why others somehow seem to fly to the start of the queue.
The video is from when the program was launched in East London…it has since expanded to over 2.5 million participants and has extended outside London.
Regarding the doctors of South Asian descent…
The above PDF is from the Medical Defence Shield arm of BAPIO which is a union for doctors…not all doctors, just doctors that are from a country that they represent. This old PDF states that their members are responsible for most of the deaths and complaints made against doctors in the NHS. It goes on to say of the doctors…
“Some of them tend to work in
isolation, some have a fatalistic attitude and others have
problems due to cultural differences. Proportionately
more ethnic minority doctors are likely to have
communication problems and lack of awareness of
acceptable professional behaviour. There may be lack of
appreciation about GMC’s “duty of a doctor” and failure to
respond appropriately when there are concerns about a
performance/conduct issues. Many are not a member of
defence union or professional associations like BMA or
BAPIO and are reluctant to seek help and advice.
The paper actually lists racism as the main reason why patients complain…without any evidence it is listed as the overriding factor for failure of the doctor by this law firm.
I recently read Whistle in the Wind by Dr Peter Duffy. I cried through the patient stories. Behind each complaint is a terrible story of a patient suffering. Having been through enough myself at the hands of the NHS I wanted to know how isolated my experiences were. It turns out they are not isolated. It is a great read of courage of behalf of this doctor and the patients that he talk of.
It’s a horror story regarding how law firms like the Medical Defence Shield can continually defend doctors who put patients lives at risk over and over again. Using dirty tactics to basically bully good doctors out of their jobs and promote bad doctors into prominent positions that they cannot handle. Within a matter of years a bad doctor can be in control of a departments clinical decisions and funding in an NHS hospital.
Perhaps all junior doctors should seriously think of their motives. If you’re becoming a doctor because that is what your parents want then don’t. If you are becoming a doctor because of the money then don’t. Patients of the human kind would appreciate doctors who want to make their lives better and who care.
There should be more doctors like Peter Duffy but when they are treated so poorly by NHS Trusts after raising concerns…it is no surprise they leave the locality.
On a more personal note I’ve had to return to the GP with all the evidence from the consultants for the same medication twice more since writing this article. The GP I saw yesterday assured me again that it is on my repeat prescription now. She apologised and told me the other GP isn’t permanent so her actions were ignored by the system…
Thanks for reading. Any questions and comments always welcome.