The last blog of 2016

As befits a curmudgeonly older man, I tut a lot about Christmas decorations going up before the cricket season is over. I object loudly for months about the intrusions of the winter festival of excess. When Christmas eventually arrives, I enjoy it. Sharing good food and drink with people you care about is an irresistible […]

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Dancing about psychiatry

No one knows who first said that writing about music is like dancing about architecture, but dancing about psychiatry certainly does not seem to work. Stigma can be conveyed without the use of words. On Friday, I attended a really enjoyable party in honour of Vanessa Cameron, who leaves the Royal College of Psychiatrist at […]

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The virtual asylum revisited

Early in my career as a consultant, I took responsibility for the psychiatric care of a group of men who had been resettled in a community facility after decades as residents in a distant mental hospital. One man sticks in my mind. Ernie had diagnoses of learning disability and chronic schizophrenia. He was mute. He […]

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A Public Health Disaster

I have mentioned my grandfather, Arthur Poole, in this blog more than once before. He was a plumber (“an artist in lead”), autodidact, raconteur and trade union activist who taught me to appreciate a pint of well-kept bitter.  He would be irritated and amused that I was co-author of this report presenting evidence for a […]

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Reasons to be cheerful

What if the worst happens? Well, it has. Donald Trump is going to be President of the USA. His campaign rested on his status as an existential “winner”, a promise to reverse America’s misfortunes through the power of will and the demonization of minorities. These ideas belong to a political tradition that is indistinguishable from […]

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The life so short, the craft so long to learn

On Monday, 24th October 2016, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges published a list of forty treatments and investigations that confer no benefit to patients and therefore might be appropriately discontinued. The initiative is part of the Choose Wisely campaign, which started in North America. Although the campaign is driven by the principle “first, do […]

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Gimme Some Truth

Jeremy Hunt is usually a skilful media performer, but he was unable to keep the lid on his own hubris in an interview with the Mail On Sunday this weekend. This is particularly unfortunate as he is developing a talent for being consistently wrong about almost everything. The Mail on Sunday piece opens like this:  […]

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A change is going to come

British society is in a peculiar place in its attitudes to diversity. This apparent confusion does not just involve multiculturalism and migrants. It is evident with respect to all types of difference. There are certainly signs of real progress. The Last Leg, long one of the funniest programmes on TV, is now also one of […]

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