Sunday, 8 August 2010

No smoking, or no treatment!

The text below is lifted from the comment thread in the blog of David Milliband. The post discusses 'bold plans to save Britain's pubs', which concern regulation of the beer tie. Arguments are advanced in the blog about whether this will help pubs. Milliband does not consider the smoking ban worth touching in this context.

Is this comment typical of modern medical professionals?
Just prior to the smoking ban being enacted in 2007, I and other like minded people got together and set up an anti-smoking patrol watch in our local community. I have organised and run this watch with much success to date.

We gather photographic and camcorder evidence of anyone flouting the law of smoking in public places. We approached our local dentists and GPs, who then told us that anyone who smoked illegally would be refused treatment should their names appear on their patients’ lists. We also have the full support of our local police Superintendent – who agreed that this strategy would help in time to reduce smoking within our community. So far we have had no come back about Freedom of Information.

After several prosecutions we have seen the tide turning, but still need to remain vigilant on behalf of all our residents, after all it’s their health that’s at stake.

You have to remember that over 30,000 people are killed each year by SHS (second hand smoke), and this figure is rising year on year. We are still unclear about how many are affected each year by THS (third hand smoke), although there is good epidemiological evidence to show how dangerous it is to the health of young children.

I wrote to the then health secretary at the time Patricia Hewitt, who fully supported our efforts and asked to be kept up to date with our progress, which of course we did. I would like to see this kind of programme being rolled out across the country.

We are also supported by ASH UK, ASH Scotland, BHF and of course CRUK.

Dr Steven Johnson GP

[emphasis added]

Is there any other crime in the criminal justice system judged so adversely that it would merit the withdrawal of medical treatment? It is just not ethical for medics to pick on a specific group of (alleged) lawbreakers and deny treatment. I find it absolutely shocking that this comment has gone uncensored on the blog of a contender to the Labour Party leadership.

This story relates the intentions of NHS Grampian to treat smokers similarly – to punish them for flouting the legislation.

Withdrawing treatment on any other than clinical grounds must be considered very dangerous territory.



12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think this is a bit of wishful thinking – the kind of tough-guy musings one gets from would-be vigilantes about what they’d do to the likes of the Moors murderers if they got hold of them – when in fact they’d probably do diddly-squat because they wouldn’t actually have the courage to confront anyone in person. It’s very easy to be brave from behind a keyboard, sitting in your own home!!

If they exist at all, this man and his friends must get very, very bored. God, most of us smokers have trouble enough finding places that offer the occasional smoke-in – most of the places I know of don’t even let many of their non-smoking regulars know about them in case they let anything slip - so how on earth are a bunch of unknown antis, armed to the teeth with cameras, going to find out where to go?? If, as I say, they exist at all, I suspect they spend a lot of time wandering the streets, disappointed to see all the smokers dutifully standing outside ……..

Anonymous said...

There is no problem of smoking indoors in pubs in rural areas where the landlord's accommodation is part of the pub. Regulars get an invite "upstairs" and can enjoy a cigarette in comfort.

Anonymous said...

From the text we have:

"We gather photographic and camcorder evidence of anyone flouting the law of smoking in public places. We approached our local dentists and GPs, who then told us that anyone who smoked illegally would be refused treatment should their names appear on their patients’ lists. We also have the full support of our local police Superintendent – who agreed that this strategy would help in time to reduce smoking within our community. So far we have had no come back about Freedom of Information."

Could this passage be translated to mean?

We invade the patients privacy to keep NHS costs down by refusing to treat smokers, representing Dentists and GP's Dr Joseph Mengele said "anyone who smoked illegally would be refused treatment should their names appear on their patients’ lists."

Speaking on behalf of the Police authority Heinrich Himmler said "this strategy would help in time to reduce smoking within our community.

Thr Public relations officer Dr Joseph Goebbels said,"So far we have had no come back about Freedom of Information."

A harsh indictment? Maybe! Propaganda? No more so than the original comment! If David Milliband believes this kind of rhetoric will win him the leadership of his party or peime ministership in any government then Herr Doktor's surgery is open, just don't expect anything related to Freud or Jung!

Belinda said...

Lol, I must admit I did find the bit about finding people flouting the law unlikely, unless they harass people smoking in doorways.

Belinda said...

I might be writing to Mr Milliband:

'I would like a comment on whether Mr Milliband condones Dr Stephen Johnson's extraordinary confession of vigilantism.

Their action reminded me a little of a pubwatch group where the members collude in excluding troublesome members of the public from their pubs. Such a comparison illustrates the confusion in many people's minds between private and public services. Professionals working for public bodies cannot just decide they are going to punish the public by withholding statutory services. Pub landlords on the other hand are entitled to exclude people from their private properties.

Sadly Dr Stephen Johnson is not the first to suggest that withdrawal of care is a suitable sanction for people flouting smoking bans that have been implemented against clear advice, even though medical care would not be withheld from the most violent, unpopular convicts in prisons. I am not of course suggesting that care should be withheld from anybody.

Anti-smoking hysteria is corrupting all sense of proportion in this country.'

TheBigYin said...

Do we have any further info on Dr. Steven Johnson Bel? I ask because was talking on the dog and bone to a chap who is a prolific writer to the PM and assorted MPs about the smoking ban and wants to contact this particular GP, if he is a GP.

Town where he lives and an address for his surgery would suffice, anybody else help here?

He is phoning back tonight after I told him I'd google the good Dr. Need some more background though.

Belinda said...

nope. The chap you are talking about phoned me too and I said all that we had is his name.

http://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=dr+steven+johnson+gp

Dick Puddlecote said...

"We approached our local dentists and GPs, who then told us that anyone who smoked illegally would be refused treatment should their names appear on their patients’ lists."

Sounds like a fantasist. Dentists and GPs would be liable for misconduct charges for ultra vires prosecutions if this were true.

Looks like just the witterings of some mad moron from Maidstone.

TheBigYin said...

I've put a comment on the site asking the good Dr. to reveal himself as I think he is a sham for TC.

Lets see if he gets angry enough to give more details where he lives.

TheBigYin said...

Update: As I wrote the above an email came in from the site I mentioned. First here is what I wrote in the comments section regarding the good 'Dr.'

I’d like it to be known that Dr Steven Johnson GP is not, in fact, a practicing GP and did NOT start the ‘vigilanti’ group he mentions. I keep a database of all anti smoking groups, have done since ground zero 07.07 here in the UK.

The good ‘Dr.’ is a stalwart of Tobacco Control in this country which pays scant regard to the users of the legal substance called tobacco.

He is a sham, payed by the aforementioned TC to invade websites that openly debate the smoking ban and the hospitality industry.

Declare yourself ‘Dr.’ Reveal your true identity.


And the email from the site in question:

Dear John,



Thank you for commenting. We haven’t published your one below because it’s potentially libelous and as a publisher we can’t erase our liability for things posted by commentors on the site.



If you would like to rephrase it and back up your assertions, we will consider reposting.



Kind regards,



Jessica


So, what should I do, rephrase?

TBY

Anonymous said...

Has to be a wind up. No mention of the location and there's no way that anyone is going to be denied treatment by dentists and GPs on anecdotal evidence (at the moment at least}. I'm guessing it's by someone trying to discredit the antis.

Belinda said...

anonymous, you could be right although he does talk of prosecutions and 'anyone smoking illegally' could be taken to mean anyone found guilty of smoking illegally by the authorities.

Whoever it is, one assumes they are out to discredit Patricia Hewitt, ASH, CRUK and BHF at the same time.

But they DO still want this to become policy at NHS Grampian ...