Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A waitin' an' a watchin'.

You may be wondering, what with all the good news I’ve been reading recently, why I don’t just pack it in, get on with life and ‘move on’?

Well, I’ll believe it when I see it. How many consultants are actually working at the A and E?

Let’s take a look at the figures, starting with this ‘freedom of information’ request answer given by Ashford and St Peter’s in November 2012, which I have edited for reasons of space;

FOI Request 2825 - A&E Physicians 

Written by FOI Lead     

Case Number 2825

Request Date 26/09/2012

Completion Date 22/11/2012

Details of the Response

How many a) Consultant Emergency Physicians are employed at your A&E Department •6 .4 wte ( 7 headcount) as at today


How many vacancies for a) Consultant Emergency Physicians were there in your A&E department on 01/04/12 and how many are there today •3 wte as at 01/04/12

 1 as at today


At the most recent time you advertised vacancies for a) Consultant Emergency Physicians and b) Trainee Consultant Emergency Physicians, how many vacancies were advertised and how many appropriately qualified doctors applied for the positions •2 vacancies were advertised on same advert in BMJ and NHS Jobs

 3 appropriately qualified doctors applied for the positions


How many locums have you hired in order to fill vacant Emergency Physician positions in A&E over the past year, and what percentage of posts are currently filled by Locums. •5.4 wte Emergency Consultants positions filled substantively.

 1.0 wte Emergency Consultant position filled substantively as Locum fixed term.

 0% Agency Locums for Emergency Consultant cover.


Now, having a closer look at this answer doesn’t give me an answer I can trust.

They are saying that as at 22/11/12, there were 7 A and E consultants, working 6.4 wte (whole time equivalent), meaning that there is part-time working (nothing wrong with that).

Then, there is one vacancy being advertised which would have taken it to 8 consultants with a wte of 7.4, except that’s unlikely. Of these consultants, one was a contract locum. So, it’s more likely that when the vacancy was eventually filled, this would be timed to coincide with the locum contract ending, leaving it at 7 consultants with a wte of 6.4.

That all sounds fine, except I don’t trust the figures – I spoke to ‘a reliable source,’ one week after this answer was given and s/he told me there were only FOUR consultants at the A and E.

WHO DO I BELIEVE? I believe my source (s/he was in a position to know).

At the most charitable I would say that the hospital had chosen a particular moment, to show itself off in the best possible light. At worst…..

Why do I believe what I was told?

A look at the Hospital’s own website shows;

GMC: 3518285
Emergency Medicine
Minor Surgery
Musculoskeletal Injury
Sports Medicine
Mr Kranti KUMAR
GMC: 2518002
Emergency Medicine,
Soft Tissue Injuries
Wed pm - Soft Tissue Injuries
Mr Vincent O’NEILL
GMC: 2750149
Emergency Medicine;
Minor surgery;
Major trauma – Advanced Trauma Life Support Instructor (ATLS)
Thurs am - Minor Surgery Clinic
Dr Helen Cannon
Emergency Medicine,
ATLS Instructor


That is only FOUR consultants. I should point out that NONE of these four fine Doctors were responsible for my ankle being misdiagnosed.

Now take a look at the ‘Dr Foster’ Consultants guide;

Consultants at St Peter's Hospital

Accident and Emergency medicine

·         Jacob Addo

·         Helen Cannon

·         Mr Vijayshil Gautam

·         Dr Kranti Kumar

·         Mr Vincent Mel O'Neill

·         Thillainayagam Sriram

That’s right now, not in November last year and adds up to SIX, and I trust the mighty Dr Foster organisation. I should add that NONE of the above six fine Doctors were responsible for my ankle either.

Of course, the locum may still be there which would give 7 – but either way, 6 or 7, it doesn’t add up to 10 yet.

Sooooooo, I’m still a waitin’ an’ a watchin’ and I’ll be keeping one big fat


on y’all.

Then, and only when it’s all sorted out, I might shut up and go away.



Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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