Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Authoritarian medicine in Britain

Women may be prevented from having twins through IVF treatment because so many are being born that they are swamping intensive-care units. Would-be mothers will be allowed to have only one embryo implanted at a time, under proposals drawn up by a group of leading doctors. The change could reduce women's chances of having a successful pregnancy but the group says the move is needed to halt the sharp rise in IVF twins, who are blocking neonatal intensive-care beds.

At present women are allowed to have two embryos implanted to increase their chances of success, but this has contributed to a near doubling in twin births to 9,500 a year since the late 1970s. Mothers of twins are six times more likely to suffer from pre-eclampsia - high blood pressure during pregnancy - and three times more likely to die in childbirth. Twins are four times more likely to die within 28 days of birth and five times more likely to have cerebral palsy than single babies.

Professor Peter Braude, who chairs the expert group for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), said twins were "a complication, not a bonus. "The public does not realise that twins are a health risk. The need to tackle the problem is unequivocal. Neonatal units are stretched to the extent that you cannot always get your baby into one. "If you deliver your baby in London, you find the baby is being shipped off to Northampton. We need to separate mother and baby or one twin from another. If we could lower the multiple pregnancy rate, we would have more cots available. It is stopping other babies getting into neonatal units."

His group is expected to recommend that only one embryo is implanted at a time in women under 35, while remaining embryos are to be frozen for transplanting if the first attempt at pregnancy fails. Those having IVF privately would also be affected because the HFEA licenses all clinics, not just those on the National Health Service. About 30,000 couples have IVF each year. The group is expected to say that, for NHS patients, the state should fund the implantation of another frozen embryo if the first attempt fails.


Public protests achieve what useless "regulators" would not

The story below appeared in the Gold Coast Bulletin of 18 Sept. 2006

The [Qld.] State Government will close a legal loophole that allows convicted rapists to work as doctors. Work is already under way on new laws to stop doctors convicted of certain offences from continuing to treat patients in Queensland's health system. A spokesman for Premier Peter Beattie yesterday confirmed processes to create the new legislation were set in motion soon after the Government swept back to power on September 9. "There has already been an exchange of letters and we will be liaising with stakeholders about what needs to be done," he said. "We want to make sure any legislation is effective."

The move comes in the wake of public outrage after the Queensland Medical Board re-registered convicted rapist and known drug addict James Samuel Manwaring in July. After pleading guilty in 2002 to a vicious attack against his then wife, Manwaring was told by District Court judge Brian Hoath that nothing could 'excuse your involvement in these offences'. However, the Health Practitioner's Tribunal last July allowed him to immediately apply for re-registration after he had met a stipulation to submit hair for drug testing. He passed the drug test and was registered to work within days. The tribunal imposed a further 24 conditions on his registration which would be strictly monitored.

The board said its hands were tied by laws which forced them to allow Manwaring to re-register if he met the tribunal's criteria. At the time Mr Beattie vowed to investigate closing the loophole, ordering a report from the Medical Board into the laws and any potential effects.

Manwaring's victim Pat Gillespie, who has agreed to be identified, said there was no way Manwaring should be allowed to treat patients. She welcomed Mr Beattie's announcement, saying it would protect all Queenslanders. "I welcome what the Premier is doing for the patients of Queensland," she said. "This loophole needed to be closed and I am just really pleased and relieved that this is going to happen."


For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL hospitals and health insurance schemes should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the very poor and minimal regulation. Both Australia and Sweden have large private sector health systems with government reimbursement for privately-provided services so can a purely private system with some level of government reimbursement or insurance for the poor be so hard to do?

Comments? Email me here. If there are no recent posts here, the mirror site may be more up to date. My Home Page is here or here.


No comments: