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Off The Record

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Off The Record

- The Conservatives seemed very pleased with the dynamic-sounding name they picked for their proposed new NHS supervisory committee. The party said its HealthWatch body would have the power to monitor the NHS and refer patients’ concerns to a wide range of authorities. However, the Tories could, NT suggests, perhaps benefit from some health watching of their own.

If they had, they would no doubt have spotted that the name had already been taken, by a well-established health improvement charity.

- Nursing research has faced criticism in the past by some in the medical establishment, so it is quietly pleasing that a British doctor has won an alternative Nobel Prize, handed out for pointless research, for his groundbreaking study. Brian Witcombe, a consultant radiologist at Gloucestershire Royal NHS Foundation Trust, was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize for medicine for his report, Swallowing and its Side-effects, which was published last year in the British Medical Journal. The report concluded that ‘sore throats are common, particularly while the skill is being learnt or when performances are too frequent’.

- Pity poor NHS chief executive David Nicholson – he arrived at last week’s chief nursing officer’s conference in London on the last day, having missed the boat trip down the Thames the previous night with nursing directors. When he told the crowd, they bayed in sympathy and the main man responded: ‘I’ve been in this job for 14 months and that’s the first bit of sympathy I’ve got.’

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