Posted by: Witch Doctor | March 18, 2020

Draft witch


redapple.jpg a red apple ……………………

The Witch Doctor – Link to a random page





© | Agency:
© Ijansempoi |

Posted by: Witch Doctor | March 6, 2020

Draft Role of doctor cat



THE “A”s

Maidstone Hospital

…… A medical practitioner

WPET Project Manager, DH



The Witch Doctor – Link to a random page





© | Agency:
© Ijansempoi |

Posted by: Witch Doctor | November 17, 2018



redapple.jpg a red apple ……………………

The Witch Doctor – Link to a random page





Posted by: Witch Doctor | June 27, 2015

Named Person : Scots parents are stirring – at last!


Here is a report about what happened at the Scottish Government’s party last Saturday at Hampden Park.

Being a witch’s cat, I have cheekily lifted it from the “No To Named Person Site.” It is such an important issue for Scotland and the whole of the UK, that surely they won’t mind at all. If they do, I’ll take it down and precis it into my own Black-Cat Speak.


“Around ninety parents, children and young people gathered at Hampden Park in Glasgow last Saturday to hear the Scottish government explain what their ‘named person’ scheme is all about.

The wheels appear to have fallen off the PR wagon though, as parent after parent took Phil Raines, Head of the Scottish Government’s Child Protection Policy Team, by surprise with their ‘off-message’ feedback.

• Why had the Government ploughed ahead with this scheme given the opposition?

• Why there had been no consultations with parents before now?

• Why was Highland Council‘s Bill Alexander’s word accepted on the success of the Pathfinder, when it had clearly not worked for many?

To his credit, Mr Raines accepted they had got it wrong and there was a lot more they need to think about. But if he thought his attempt to dress up GIRFEC as being about support, not intervention (although the concept of “early intervention” is referred to frequently in the Government’s draft guidance), would put parent’s minds at rest, he was mistaken – the questions kept coming.

• How are the professionals involved going to be trained?

• How will they be taught to work together across agencies using a common language, particularly when they are currently so bad at it?

They raised the issue of too many people being involved in sharing information and pointed out that this would only get worse when the legislation comes into force next year. (No comment from Phil Raines at this point, but he was seen taking copious notes.)

Further questions were asked about the funding of the scheme and managing complaints.

• How will it be maintained?

• Where is the money coming from now? Where will it come from in the future?

But there was no action plan for the future in terms of funding – not even a plan for a plan!

• How will a Named Person and any complaints against them be reviewed and monitored and who will do the monitoring?

• Who will train the monitors?

• Where do families fit in when there is a breakdown between the monitor and the Named Person?

Lots of good questions, but no answers except: “we have to re-think; we have realised it’s a larger issue than we had thought”.

But these determined parents weren’t finished yet.

They insisted that no local authority should launch or roll-out any aspect of the scheme on their own timetable. There must be only one launch date, the programmes already being rolled out by authorities such as Perth & Kinross and Forth Valley, must be pushed back. Everyone must stop the roll out until parental agreement has been reached – it can’t be launched before that.

By this time the ‘ideas’ board at the front had so many post-it notes on it, they were falling off! No wonder it will be three months or more before they write all this up for the participants.

Next it was the turn of the GIRFEC Guide, distributed to delegates before the event, to get short shrift. You may recall from a previous NO2NP blog that this is the information pack which stated that the named person would ensure that children have “what they need to have a good life”, including a say in how their bedroom is decorated and what they watch on TV.

Several parents were extremely angry as they pointed out that the illustration for a ‘safe place’ in the guide of a modern, semi-detached two-storey home did not reflect the reality for many. Was the Government saying that those parents who brought up their children on the 14th floor of a tower block were not providing a safe place for their children?

How, they asked, could such a broad statement about what a ‘safe’ place was go out to parents? How will a named person be expected to judge a family as being in a ‘safe’ place? How realistic is it to define ‘safe’ or ‘happy’ or ‘feel good’ anyway. Answer? ‘We’ll go back and look at the imaging being used’. In other words – we’ll do some window dressing rather than sort out the real problem.

And that was the recurring theme. At the end of the day parents were left with the clear impression that when it comes to GIRFEC there are plenty of questions but precious little in the way of answers.”

Posted by: Witch Doctor | June 26, 2015

GIRFEC : My World Triangle


Here is another little “aide memoire” that is much more than that because it is now enshrined in Scots Law. (CLICK ON DIAGRAM TO ENLARGE).


Each Scottish child will have a personal database constructed by those in the state supporting him, including his/her compulsory “Named Person” chosen by the state.

Here is how it will be documented.

And below is only the documentation required for the left side of the triangle.

More to come.



1. This includes full information about all aspects of a child’s health and development, relevant to their age and stage.

2. Developmental milestones, major illnesses, hospital admissions, any impairments, disabilities, conditions affecting development and health.

3. Health care including nutrition, exercise, physical and mental health issues, sexual health, substance abuse.


1. This includes cognitive development from birth, learning achievements and the skills and interests which can be nurtured.

2. How additional needs are supported.

3. Achievements in leisure, hobbies, sport.

4. Education and social development milestones need to be recorded.

5. Personal learning plans and other educational records should provide evidence of what has been anieved and what supports are needed or being provided for.

6. Is the child’s progress with formal education in line with expectations?

7. Attention should also be given to further educational or training needs and employment opportunities for young people moving or who have moved towards semi- or full independence.


1. This includes the development of language and communication.

2. Being in touch and communicating constructively with others.

3. Ability to express thoughts, feelings and needs.

4. What is the child’s/young person’s preferred language or method of communication.

5. Are there particular people with whom the child communicates that you will need to involve?

6. Are aids to communication required?


1. Child’s/young person’s temperament and characteristics

2. Nature and quality of early and current attachments

3. Emotional and behavioural development

4. Resilience, self esteem

5. Knows views are listened to

6. Ability to take pride in achievements

7. Confidence in managing challenges, opportunities, difficulties appropriate to the age and stage of development.

8. Sense of identity which has an appreciation of ethnic and cultural background and is comfortable with gender, sexuality, religious belief

9. Skills in social presentation.


1. Learning appropriate social skills and behaviour

2. Values ; sense of right and wrong

3. Consideration for others

4. Ability to understand what is expected and act on it

5. How does the child respond to key influences on social and emotional development at different ages and stages e.g. collaborative play in early childhood, peer expectations at school and outside.


1. The gradual acquisition of skills and confidence needed to move from dependence to independence.

2. Early practical skills of feeding, dressing etc.

3. Engaging with learning and other tasks, acquiring skills and competence in social problem solving, getting on well with others, moving to independent living skills and autonomy.

4. What are the effects of any impairment or disability or of social circumstances and how might these be compensated for?


1. How is the child or young person responding to relationships that support, value, encourage, and guide her or him; to family and wider social networks; opportunities to make and sustain lasting and significant relationships; encouragement to develop skills in making friends, to take into account the feelings and needs of others and to behave responsibly.

2. This links and overlaps with what a child or young person needs from those who look after them and the wider environment.

Posted by: Witch Doctor | June 24, 2015

The Shanarri Wheel of “Wellbeing”


The idea that Scotland becomes the best place in the world for a child to be brought up in is surely truly admirable.

The idea that the wellbeing of each and every child in Scotland is of paramount importance is also surely truly admirable.


Here is the “Wellbeing Wheel” demonstrating the SHANARRI indicators. (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

What a helpful little Aide Memoire this is for parents, teachers, health professionals, social workers and everyone else in Scotland in contact with children. You could carry about a nice hygienic wipe-clean plastic version in your nappy bag, pocket, handbag, briefcase or rucksack for quick and easy reference.

Trouble is, this is much more than an Aide Memoire.

This wheel is now enshrined in Scots Law …. an approved Act of Parliament that will become fully effective in 2016.

Therefore from 2016, every parent in Scotland will be breaking the law.

Whether they are discovered to be breaking the law however, and are labelled “criminal” and receive due punishment or suppport is quite a different matter.

It will depend largely on the conscientiousness of the “Named Person” appointed for each child in the family and what particular wellbeing parameter the Government is focusing on at a particular time.

Posted by: Witch Doctor | June 22, 2015

Getting It Right For Every Child


No doubt somebody somewhere will give an account of the event at Hampden Football Park in Glasgow last Saturday – a Scottish government (or SNP?) initiative to inform parents about the “Wheels” Triangles” “Martices” “Databases” “Toolkits” and a compulsory state appointed “Named Person” outwith the family to oversee the “Wellbeing” of every child in Scotland.

Here is a leaflet that was sent out to each delegate prior to the event explaining what is an incredibly complicated Act of the Scottish Parliament in remarkably simple terms.


“People who work with children will check every child has what they need to have a good life.”

“Every child will have 1 person who looks out for them and their family if they need help.”

“People who work with your child will check your child is safe.”

“People who work with your child will check your child is healthy.”

“People who work with your child will check your child is achieving.”

“People who work with your child will check your child is nurtured.”

“People who work with your child will check your child is active.”

“People who work with your child will check your child is respected.”

“People who work with your child will check your child is responsible.”

“People who work with your child will check your child is included.”

The Black Cats of the witching world believe that in 2016, when this Law comes into effect, Scotland will be re-named “Utopia.”

Posted by: Witch Doctor | June 20, 2015

The £25 reward/gift/bribe


Most folks in Scotland don’t know about the controversy surrounding “The Named Person” because they have either never heard of the term or have never given it due consideration.

Today, at Hampden Park, one of Glasgow’s large football grounds, the Scottish Government (or was it the SNP?) held an event to explain to parents how the government would ensure they Get It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC) by using “Wheels” Triangles” “Martices” “Databases” “Toolkits” and a compulsory state appointed “Named Person” outwith the family to oversee the “Wellbeing” of every child.

Note the word is “Wellbeing”

The word is not “Welfare.”

There is a difference.

And that difference is important.

And oh, the parents were to be given gift vouchers worth £25.00, travel expenses, as well free childcare to thank them for attending.

Some are saying this is a bribe.


“Ministers have been ridiculed for using bewildering diagrams to explain their controversial plan to appoint a state guardian for every child under 18, and accused of trying to buy public support for the policy.”

And others are saying:

“It is aimed at parents with children aged up to 18, and according to official literature there will be young people’s groups and a “separate recruitment process for children and young people”.”

“It confirms our fears that we are not far from being dictated to by a government not too distant from the type portrayed by George Orwell’s in the nightmare vision of his ‘Big Brother’ world.”

Presumably the Scottish government is not keen about being considered “Orwellian”

So maybe they consider the £25 “bribe’ is money well spent.

Posted by: Witch Doctor | February 20, 2015

Named Person – The Seeds of Creep


It will soon be obligatory in Scotland for every child to have a “Named Person” from birth until 18.

Already the Creep has begun.

Although not covered by the Act, mothers are being asked if they would like to meet with the “Named Person” of their unborn baby.

“The Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014 will see every Scottish child allocated a named person, usually a health worker up to the age of five, followed by a teacher.

The named person for each child would be identified about seven months into the pregnancy. Pregnant mothers will then be offered an opportunity to meet with their baby’s named person and a midwife, which the official guidance suggests should take place in the family home.

The disclosure that the scope of the proposals includes unborn babies comes as more details are emerging about how the legislation will work in practice.

The guidance states: “Where additional wellbeing needs are anticipated at birth the prospective Named Person should be involved in planning and providing supports to eliminate, reduce or mitigate risks to wellbeing.”

This would have to be done on a “non-statutory basis” because unborn children are not covered by the Act.”

Reading the comments following the Scotsman article it seems the Named Person is causing quite a stir in The Land of the Oldest Sage Witch’s Highland Granny.

If you scroll down this link you can read the comments.

The Scots are stirring.

Just in time for the run-up to a General Election.

Fascinating, My Black Cat.



Posted by: Witch Doctor | February 18, 2015

The tartan partnership


We have not blogged since October.

As is often the case, me and My Black Cat become catatonic when world events reach a certain pitch of evil….. child abuse, and perhaps even murder, involving those in the state responsible for the wellbeing of children in care, in schools, in medical practice. Beheadings and many other atrocities using the name of a religion. Slavery. Trafficking.

Evil there certainly is in this world of ours right now.

However, The Oldest Sage Witch’s Highland Granny has brought us round with a jolt!

She quotes from a document being spewed from The Scottish Government.

“Parents as partners in getting it right for every child”

In Scotland, is The State planning to take responsibility for the upbringing of all children?

They have changed the word. They are calling it “wellbeing” rather than “upbringing.” But delving deeper it seems to The Witch Doctor that in Scotland, “wellbeing” is considered to be “good upbringing.”

And The State will see to the “wellbeing” of every single Scottish child from birth till age 18.

It seems The State is condescendingly allowing parents to become “partners” in this responsibility.

The State has appointed useful idiots known as “named persons.” Every single child in Scotland will have a “named person” from birth till the age of 18.

Funnily enough, My Black Cat came across this notion about a year ago when the Bill was going through the Scottish parliament. It has since become an Act.

We didn’t trust the state then, and we don’t trust them now.

Posted by: Witch Doctor | October 22, 2014

Dementia toolkits… Pah!


The Witch Doctor just needs to hear a whisper of the word “toolkit” and she loses the will to live.

So, can you imagine the effect that a “dementia toolkit” will have on her?


Well, put it this way. If you never hear from The Witch Doctor or My Black Cat ever ever again, you can blame our demise on Simon Stevens and the damned dementia toolkit that is patronisingly “aimed at ‘demystifying’ the condition for GPs.”

Below is a cut and paste from a post we first published here in 2008.

The Witch Doctor is still as perplexed as she was then.

So is My Black Cat.

Furthermore she is hopping mad that the money she pays to HMG in tax will be spirited away to bribe GPs to herd in all the dementia patients they can lay their hands on.

What are they going to do with them once they find them, My Black Cat?

Will the enthusiasts running the NHS make a database and sell it on to any Tom, Dick or Harry willing to pay for it?




They thought no-one would notice when they introduced The Dementia Thing at Christmas, My Black Cat.

Now Dr Crippen has picked up on it and has a lot to say.

The Witch Doctor was just musing over a lecture on dementia she attended a long time ago. She took the form of The Human Kind on that occasion, because it was she who organised the lecture, so she had to be visible – it would have freaked everybody out if she had donned her witch garb.

Please don’t question why The Witch Doctor was arranging a lecture on dementia – it is a convoluted story. Interesting, but too convoluted to tell.

Anyway, it was really a long time ago, before Memory Clinics were heard of.

The lecturer, who was a young, enthusiastic, clinical psychologist described the service she ran. To all intents and purposes, it was A Memory Clinic.

Maybe The First Memory Clinic. Who knows.

The lecturer’s role did not involve excluding other medical conditions unrelated to dementia. This had already been done before patients were referred to the clinic.

The audience, who were all doctors, listened attentively and seemed to agree it was a good idea for the patient and his/her family to obtain a firm, early diagnosis and prognosis of dementia.

This perplexed The Witch Doctor. She couldn’t work out why how this might benefit the patient.



So, at the end, at question time, she asked the question.

““What do you feel are the main advantages of patients knowing their cerebral symptoms are due to dementia?”

Apparently there seemed to be two main advantages.

1. Patients would be able to make practical plans for the future and tidy up their finances and other aspects of their lives before they became severely disabled.

2. The knowledge would encourage them to do things they wanted to do with those closest to them sooner rather than later. A world cruise was mentioned as an example.

The Witch Doctor remained perplexed.

No-one else in the room seemed to be perplexed.

This confirmed that The Witch Doctor is odd.

Funnily enough, a few days after that, The Witch Doctor encountered a patient at her clinic who had early dementia.

By coincidence she had attended this very same embryo “Memory Clinic.”

The Witch Doctor couldn’t resist talking about it with her for a little while.

The patient said:

“You know doctor, one of my neighbours has really bad dementia, and no one told her what was wrong, poor soul. I just keep thinking how lucky I am, now that I know what’s wrong with me.”

The Witch Doctor became even more perplexed.

And still is.

The Witch Doctor is odd!

Do you suppose HMG is going to pay for these unfortunate patients to have a world cruise?

Is that why they want everyone trained to “recognise” the early symptoms of dementia?

Posted by: Witch Doctor | September 28, 2014

More on paedophilia and oddballs


In general, The Witch Doctor yawns when she hears about yet another case of chatting up, touching up, or some kind of sexual harassment that falls well short of rape of an adult – especially when it happened decades ago and real hard evidence is non-existent.

When you look at the familiar face above, you might find it difficult to believe this but true it is nevertheless – attempts have been made to chat up, touch up and sexually harass The Witch Doctor in the past. You might also find it hard to believe, but The Witch Doctor never batted an eyelid at any of these advances even on the occasions that some dick or another tried to expose himself. No. She just dealt with the matter there and then.

No-Big-Deal !!!

A quick smack or a huge wallop is generally all that is required.

And then there is always the Book of Spells in the most serious instances.

So probably we witches have an advantage.

However, if every male who had ever chatted up, touched up or sexually harassed a female over their lifetime was eventually caught up with and tried for the offence, the police force, courts and prisons would grind to a halt.

However, to be clear, The Witch Doctor is not referring to rape, attempted rape or serious physical assault.


On the other hand, if anything makes this witch absolutely fuming mad it is where sexual abuse of children or adults needing protection occurs in a setting such as a school, childrens’ home, hospital, church, or anywhere else where  people are supposed to be protected by trustworthy staff.

She also gets fuming mad at the notion that festered a few decades ago within The Paedophile Information Exchange, that acts of paedophilia were somehow OK and might even benefit the child!!!!

Here’s a report of numerous sordid offences that beggars belief:


“A public investigation is to be launched into how a paedophile teacher, William Vahey, was able to drug and abuse at least 60 children at the £25,000-a-year Southbank International School in London.”

“Between 2009 and 2013, Vahey, an American humanities teacher, used sedatives to render boys drowsy on excursions, then took them back to their rooms and abused them while they were unconscious. The FBI has described him as one of the most prolific sexual predators it has ever seen.”

“A review from Hugh Davies QC, commissioned and paid for by Cognita, has already found that the school breached statutory guidelines in hiring Vahey, failing to take up references and allowing him to be hired by only one person, the then headmaster, Terry Hedger.

Davies said Vahey’s questionable conduct had been known about during his employment and reported, but that inadequate record-keeping meant the alarm had not been raised.”

The Witch Doctor has always been wary about handing over any her several witch children to the care of people she did not know well for school trips, sleepovers etc, especially since one of her own teachers, now an old man, is currently in jail for child sexual abuse involving his pupils many years ago.

And incidentally, she thinks the fact that Jimmy Savile, a man who, famous or not, was clearly an oddball by any standards was permitted to roam around hospitals the way he did for years on end is utterly preposterous. NHS heads should roll over this.

Posted by: Witch Doctor | September 16, 2014

Aye or Naw?


Awe weel. For all thae scots bairns who will no “click” on the link in the last post, here is the whole story.


“Four months ago I joined the Yes camp out of a desire to take part in the great debate that the Yes camp told me was taking place within their ranks. Being a doubter I thought maybe I’d failed to find this debate and that it was exclusive to the membership of the Yes camp, so I joined hoping I could locate it and take part. But even as I was accepted into the ranks – after my ‘Morrison votes Yes’ article in Bella Caledonia, I noted that 5 out of the meagre 20 comments I received berated me for either not having decided sooner or for having questioned Yes at all. Another said, and I paraphrase: ‘Well if he’s had to mull it over he could easily switch to the other side.’ That comment in Bella Caledonia worked away at me like a stone in my shoe. Beneath it, I realised, was a subconscious message: ‘Now that you’re in with us you have to toe the line – ask questions about Yes and you’re out.’

Within the Yes camp I attempted to find the revolutionary and inclusive debate that I’d heard was happening. But as soon as I was ‘in’ I was being asked to sign petitions, to help with recruitment, to take part in Yes groups, to come out publicly in the media, to spread the word and add the blue circle Yes logo to my social media photograph – even to come along and sing a ‘Scottish song’ at a Yes event. I declined to sing but I went along to public meetings and took part in debates online. I noticed that the whenever someone raised a pragmatic question about governance, economics or future projections for oil revenue or the balance of payments in iScotland, they were quickly silenced by comments such as “We’ll sort that out after the referendum, this is not the place or the time for those kinds of questions”. Or the people who asked such questions were indirectly accused of ‘being negative’ or talking the language of the enemy. There was an ethos of “Shh, if you start asking questions like that we’ll all end up arguing (and that’ll be negative) so in the interests of unity (and positivity) keep your mouth shut.”Within the Yes camp I attempted to find the revolutionary and inclusive debate that I’d heard was happening. But as soon as I was ‘in’ I was being asked to sign petitions, to help with recruitment, to take part in Yes groups, to come out publicly in the media, to spread the word and add the blue circle Yes logo to my social media photograph – even to come along and sing a ‘Scottish song’ at a Yes event. I declined to sing but I went along to public meetings and took part in debates online. I noticed that the whenever someone raised a pragmatic question about governance, economics or future projections for oil revenue or the balance of payments in iScotland, they were quickly silenced by comments such as “We’ll sort that out after the referendum, this is not the place or the time for those kinds of questions”. Or the people who asked such questions were indirectly accused of ‘being negative’ or talking the language of the enemy. There was an ethos of “Shh, if you start asking questions like that we’ll all end up arguing (and that’ll be negative) so in the interests of unity (and positivity) keep your mouth shut.”Within the Yes camp I attempted to find the revolutionary and inclusive debate that I’d heard was happening. But as soon as I was ‘in’ I was being asked to sign petitions, to help with recruitment, to take part in Yes groups, to come out publicly in the media, to spread the word and add the blue circle Yes logo to my social media photograph – even to come along and sing a ‘Scottish song’ at a Yes event. I declined to sing but I went along to public meetings and took part in debates online. I noticed that the whenever someone raised a pragmatic question about governance, economics or future projections for oil revenue or the balance of payments in iScotland, they were quickly silenced by comments such as “We’ll sort that out after the referendum, this is not the place or the time for those kinds of questions”. Or the people who asked such questions were indirectly accused of ‘being negative’ or talking the language of the enemy. There was an ethos of “Shh, if you start asking questions like that we’ll all end up arguing (and that’ll be negative) so in the interests of unity (and positivity) keep your mouth shut.”

The Yes movement started to remind me of the Trotskyists – another movement who believed they were political but were really no more than a recruitment machine. I know because I was a member of the SWP in the late 80s. As a ‘Trot’ we were absolutely banned from talking about what the economy or country would be like ‘after the revolution’; to worry about it, speculate on it or raise questions or even practical suggestions was not permitted. We had to keep all talk of ‘after the revolution’ very vague because our primary goal was to get more people to join our organisation. I learned then that if you keep a promise of a better society utterly ambiguous it takes on power in the imagination of the listener. Everything can be better “after the revolution”. It’s a brilliant recruitment tool because everyone with all their conflicting desires can imagine precisely what they want. The key is to keep it very simple – offer a one word promise. In the case of the Trotskyists it’s ‘Revolution,’ in the case of the independence campaign it’s the word ‘Yes’. Yes can mean five million things. It’s your own personal independence. Believing in Yes is believing in yourself and your ability to determine your own future. Yes is very personal. How can you not say Yes to yourself? You’d have to hate yourself? Yes is about belief in a better you and it uses You as a metaphor for society as if you could simply transpose your good intentions and self belief onto the world of politics. The micro onto the macro. Yes is a form of belief – and this is the genius of the Yes campaign: they’ve managed to conflate personal self-determination with state power – to shrink the idea of the state down to the self and the question of the future down to ‘belief in the self.’You wouldn’t want to repress yourself and you personally want to be independent in your own life so, the Yes logic goes you should ask the same of your country. Every economist has told us that you cannot transpose the micro-economics of your home onto the globe – that micro and macro are different worlds, with different rules, but Yes has managed to blur the two to say ‘your country is you.’ Your country is an extension of your own personal desires. As the ubiquitous campaign slogan runs ‘Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands’ – and to reinforce the domestic personal motif the image is that of a newborn – a perfect new self.

The Yes camp have managed to make it seem like criticism of their politics is an attack on the individual’s right to imagine a better self. To do this, the Yes campaign has had to be emptied of almost all actual political content. It has had to become a form of faith.

And it’s not surprising – there is no way that the groups under the banner of Yes could actually work together; they’re all fighting for fundamentally different things. How can the Greens reconcile themselves with the ‘let’s make Scotland a new Saudi Arabia’ oil barons? How can the radical left reconcile themselves with the pro-capitalist Business for Scotland group? Or the L.G.B.T Yes Youth community find common cause with elderly Calvinist nationalists or with the millionaire SNP donor who backed Clause 28. Instead converts chant the same mantra – YES – to cover all the cracks between their mutual hatred. Debate becomes reduced down to one word and the positivity of that one word erases all conflicts and questions beneath a fantasized unity. YES. Yes also erases history, politics and reality. Yes means too many things and ends up meaning nothing. It’s silenced the conflicting politics within it to the point that it means little more than the euphoric American self-help phrase “be all you can be.”

Now some may say – ah yes but Yes is a rainbow coalition – the very essence of democratic pluralism. But you have to ask yourself with so many groups all tugging in so many directions what makes a separate Scotland any different from the rest of the UK with its democratic conflicts, its mess? Democracy is a daily struggle, an ongoing fight to reconcile differing opinions and ideologies, of contesting facts and plans and shouldering the burdens we inherit from history. It’s hard, it’s exhausting, it’s frustrating and it’s all about compromise.So why do we need to leave the union to engage in this painful process we call democracy?

The answer is that the factions within the Yes camp are all dreaming that they will have more power in the new Scotland ‘after the referendum.’ Bigger fish in the smaller pond. The Greens will have more power than they ever could in the UK. Business leaders will have more influence over Scottish government. The hard left will finally realise its dream of seizing power and creating a perfect socialist nation. Each group is dreaming of this fresh new country (as clean as a white sheet, as unsullied as a newborn) in which they themselves dominate and hold control. Clearly these groups can’t all have more power and the banner they share is a fantasy of a unity that is not actually there. It’s a Freudian slip when converts claim that the first thing that will happen ‘after independence’ is that the SNP will be voted out – it betrays the fantasy that each interest group has of its own coming dominance.

Many people are voting Yes just to express their frustration at not being able to engage with politics as it is. They’re voting Yes because they want their voice to be heard for the first time. That’s understandable and admirable, but Yes is not a debate or a democratic dream, it’s an empty word and an empty political process which means dream of what you want and express it with all the passion in your heart. The dream will die as soon as the singular Yes gets voted and Scotland then turns into a battleground of repressed and competing Yesses. Once the recruitment machine has served it purpose it will collapse and the repressed questions will return with a vengeance.

I left the Yes camp and joined the No camp not because I like the UK or think the status quo works well as it is. No. I think things are as complicated and compromised as they always are and that we live in trying times. The Yes camp understand that and so have created an illusion of a free space in which everything you’ve ever wanted can come to pass – overnight. How can it? There are exactly the same political conflicts within the factions of Yes as there are within the UK. After a Yes vote the fight for control of Scotland will begin and that unity that seemed like a dream will be shattered into the different groups who agreed to silence themselves to achieve an illusion of an impossible unity – the kind of unity you find in faith, not in politics. What makes this worse than remaining in the UK is that Scotland will be fighting out its internal battles on a world stage after demonstrating it intends to run its new politics on an illusion of unity, a unity that breaks up even as it is observed.”

How aboot clicking noo, ye lazy lot! Ye’ll find maist o’ the comments interestin. And there are other guid posts tae!



Posted by: Witch Doctor | September 16, 2014




Some of you will remember me.

I am The Oldest Sage Witch’s Highland Granny.

Me and My Broomstick swoosh into this blog occasionally when The Witch Doctor and My Black Cat vaporise into some alternative universe or other for weeks on end and totally neglect this place – their own wee corner of cyberspace.

Read this, will you, my daft Scottish bairns, and get yer act together!

Yer minds are getting caught up in the most persuasive of Creep.




Posted by: Witch Doctor | July 18, 2014

Bless the Archbishops!


Well, My Black Cat, do you know any doctors or witches who are able to accurately predict the death of a patient within six months – a patient who is being fed, watered and receiving treatment for their condition(s)?





Me neither.

Not a single one.

Retired learned archbishops might be able to do it. Perhaps with age and experience they develop the ability to tap into the Will of God.

Maybe, My Black Cat.


Posted by: Witch Doctor | February 23, 2014

PIE and the three plums : Reading material


It is a busy time for The Witch Doctor and My Black Cat, nevertheless we feel there is a need to catalogue some of the items in the press regarding the Three Plums that have been pulled out of the pie. This post will be used to do this by expanding links as we gradually watch the matter unfold as it must surely do.

We are waiting patiently for the BBC to report (it now has – 24 February 2014 Last updated at 17:58) on the association of Harriet Harman, her husband Jack Dromey, and Patricia Hewitt with the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) In addition, for some time now we have been waiting for these two feminist plums who have both occupied the highest levels within the British political establishment to explain their views on the matter then and now. However, My Black Cat wonders if the plums are being, or will be, questioned by the police and that is why the BBC is lying low at the moment (in view of the mess they got themselves into over Savile and other allegations).

In the meantime in Scotland, it might be a good idea if Alex Salmond and Aileen Campbell contemplated the past affiliation of these two feminist, high profile political plums with paedophiles, changing the age of consent, and desire to legalise incest. They might then ask themselves whether it is really is such a good idea to have the state legally meddling in the upbringing of each Scottish child from birth until age 18 years.

“The Scottish Government wants a named person, a health worker or senior teacher, to oversee how each child is raised up to age 18.”

More from the papers:

“Aileen Campbell, Minister for Children and Young People, is adamant that the measures are necessary, despite opposition from the Faculty of Advocates, teaching union the EIS and civil liberties campaign Big Brother Watch.”

Just in case they have never given it much thought before, perhaps, Alex Salmond and Aileen Campbell should also contemplate how Creep works.

Perhaps they should ask themselves whether they themselves, the state and its politicians are wiser than the vast majority of parents who, through family bonds, have the best interests of their own children at heart.




26 Feb 2014

Daily Mail Hysteria Over Harriet Harman and Pedophilia


26 Feb 2014

Paedophile scandal: Harriet Harman insists she has nothing to apologise for


25 Feb 2014

Harriet Harman is being treated unfairly


25 Feb 2014

Harriet Harman backtracks on liberty group’s links with pro-paedophile campaigners and expresses ‘regret’


25 Feb 2014

Labour’s paedophile problem is more about press regulation



25 Feb 2014

PIE, the NCCL and Harriet Harman: why she was right not to apologise


25 Feb 2014

Harman expresses ‘regret’ over NCCL link with paedophile group: Politics live blog


25 Feb 2014

Harriet Harman tweets Daily Mail website picture of girl aged 12 in bikini


25 Feb 2014

Harriet Harman’s handling of the Daily Mail ‘smear’ has been wholly inept


25 Feb 2014

Harriet Harman demands apology for Daily Mail’s paedophile ‘smears’


25 Feb 2014

Harriet Harman took too long to apologise over Daily Mail’s paedophile allegations


25 Feb 2014

Harriet Harman and PIE Scandal: Who Were British Establishment Paedophiles Who Were Involved?


24 Feb 2014

Harriet Harman condemns paper’s ‘smear campaign’


24 Feb 2014

Harman and pals are discovering the cost of putting the past on trial


24 Feb 2014

DAILY MAIL COMMENT: A silence that grows ever more deafening


23 Feb 2014

Labour trio can’t stay silent on this paedophile claim


22 Feb 2014
Senior Labour figures have serious questions to answer about past links to vile paedophile support group


20 Feb 2014

Vital questions these Labour apologists for child sex MUST now answer


9 March 2009

Harriet Harman under attack over bid to water down child pornography law


Posted by: Witch Doctor | February 22, 2014

Paedophilia and incest


There seems to be agreement between the Guardian and Daily Mail regarding The Three Plums coming out of the pie.

Posted by: Witch Doctor | February 22, 2014

Pulling plums out of the pie


If you want to see how Patricia Hewitt, Harriet Harman and her husband Jack Dromey are ageing over the years, then click here.

Please do.

Posted by: Witch Doctor | February 20, 2014

The fairy godmother from the state.


“The Scottish Government wants a named person, a health worker or senior teacher, to oversee how each child is raised up to age 18.”

Think about it, My Black Cat.

Just think about it.

That’s all

Posted by: Witch Doctor | December 21, 2013

Nudging witches to feel good about themselves.


My Black Cat has just presented The Witch Doctor with some Christmas reading.

Does she not know that witches are not in the least charitable?

Even at Christmas-time?




Posted by: Witch Doctor | November 24, 2013

11,000 children and two doctors


“If we are to create peace in our world, we must begin with our children.” –

Mahatma Gandhi

Just in case you are unaware of this, The Witch Doctor feels the need to inform you about Italy’s first female doctor.

Her name was Maria Montessori and rumour has it that she might have gained entry into medical school because her name was misread as Mario Montessori.

She was the only female medical student in her year and had to perform much of her training alone and out of hours because at that time it was not deemed suitable for a female to learn about the intimacies of the human body alongside male students.

After graduation Dr Montessori specialised in psychiatry including the care of mentally disabled children. Subsequently, by observing how children learn she developed a method of facilitating the young child’s natural love of learning using special materials that she herself designed. Each child was treated as an individual. Her approach was for the teacher to learn from the child and “follow the child”

This is what she said of the child of kindergarten age.

‘Little children between three and six years of age have a special psychology. They are full of love. They are only without love if they are ill-treated. If they are badly treated their real nature is altered. They are full of love themselves and need to be loved in order to grow’.

Maria Montessori.

But more than this – she followed the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi – that if there was ever to be peace in the world it would depend on the children of the world. The Montessori method incorporates respect for the Universe, the Earth, Nature and all life within the planet. She believed that children should cooperate and care for each other rather than compete. The true Montessori classroom (and there are some imposters) is a place of peace, respect, kindness and individualism.

It is reported there is a doctor in Syria who sends his children to a Montessori school.

His name is Dr Bashar al-Assad. He also happens to be the President of Syria.

It is also being reported that more than 11,000 children have been killed to date in Syria’s civil war.

Dr Maria Montessori will be turning in her grave.

Dr Bashar al-Assad seems to care not a damn.

Posted by: Witch Doctor | November 9, 2013

How to save the NHS £886,626,000 a year


Rationing or cutbacks directly involving patient care within the NHS may or may not be necessary. The Witch Doctor assumes at the present time neither is necessary.


Because no-one has accounted for the waste that is going on within the NHS.

Waste in little things.

Waste in big things.

Waste in not prioritising the important from the unimportant.

Waste in continually trying to manage the unmanageable.

Waste in making decisions that even a monkey could, in the blink of an eye, recognise as crazy.

Waste in projects that go well over budget or are abandoned.

Waste from staff faffing about doing things that are of no benefit to patients and of miniscule benefit to themselves.

Until that waste is fully accounted for and corrected, The Witch Doctor is of the opinion it is rather obscene to talk about rationing or cutbacks.

Who in government is measuring the cost of ALL of this waste resulting from inappropriate activity?

Well, a medical blogger is having a go at this.

He / she / they have worked out how to save the NHS over £ 886,626,000 a year.

And that is just for one scam.

The scanning scam!

The Witch Doctor is not clever enough to verify these figures. Neither is My Black Cat. Nevertheless, black cats have a wisdom all of their own. MBC maintains that if no-one from government challenges these figures either by commenting on this blog or on Nothern Doc’s blog, then we should assume that the figures are correct and that the scanning scam wastes about £886,626,000 of taxpayers’ money.

However, it seems to The Witch Doctor that this calculation does conceal another happening of a financial nature – one that probably siphons off a few million pounds of money directly from patients’ bank accounts into the private sector.

The problem is, The Witch Doctor has to be careful how, or if, she tells you about this, because, as readers of this blog may be aware, she seldom discusses clinical situations concerning patients unless they happened a very long time ago or it involves a very close member of her family.

So, she may or may not tell you sometime about the other side of the scanning scam that she has observed in recent times.

Posted by: Witch Doctor | November 5, 2013

Regulators in a corner


For more years than she cares to remember, because of the nature of her specialty, The Witch Doctor has had the privilege of working very closely with a number of hospital pharmacists. Some of these professionals became her closest colleagues and the dedication and support they gave the service during difficult times was exceptional.

The Witch Doctor is pretty sure these pharmacists all have a sound, educated, and objective scientific approach to their subject.

She is absolutely certain, for example, that they have all heard of Avogadro’s number and understand its significance.

Community pharmacists working in high street shops seem to be a different breed. It appears they have been subject to Creep in a spectacular way. Many happily sell the modern equivalents of snake-oil without a blush.

DC’s Improbable Science has tackled the subject head on.


“The problems seem to lie mostly in retail shops. Their shelves are laden with ineffective pills and potions. And the pharmacist has every incentive to sell them. His/her income depends on it directly if it’s a privately owned pharmacy. And his/her standing with head office depends on it in chain store pharmacies. This conflict of financial interest is the prime reason why pharmacists are not qualified to form a third tier of healthcare. The avoidance of conflicts of interest among doctors was one of the great accomplishments of the NHS. In the USA there are huge scandals when, as happens repeatedly, doctors order expensive and unnecessary treatments from which they profit. It’s no consolation that such problems are creeping back in the UK as a result of the government’s vigorous efforts to sell it off.”

For some patients who are in the habit of “asking their pharmacist for advice” all of this may be an eye-opener.

This article by David Colquhoun is pushing the General Pharmaceutical Council into a corner. The Witch Doctor is curious how they will deal with these allegations, because, sooner or later, deal with them they must.

Indirectly, the article is also pushing the General Medical Council into another corner. What on earth will they do with those medical practitioners who choose to ignore the significance of Avogadro’s number? Will they fail to be revalidated because they peddle “snake oil?”

Will they lose their license to practice?

I suppose they will have to – otherwise revalidation will lose every vestige of credibility.

Won’t it, My Black Cat?

Posted by: Witch Doctor | November 2, 2013

Ladbrokes and O2 – are you out there?


The Witch Doctor remembers as a child willing herself to become old enough to gamble on the fruit machines buried deep in a “games arcade” at a holiday resort. There were other interesting contraptions too with the potential to make a child very rich. When she did reach the designated age she lost all her pocket money. She soon gave up.

The adult Witch Doctor in the past has been known to do the odd line in the football pools, occasionally tried to “Spot the Ball” (she thought she could do this scientifically by following the direction of the players eyes). She never won anything so she soon gave up.

However, she can still feel the gambler’s wonderful adrenaline surge and can fully understand the addiction. Maybe that is why she gave up.

Anyway, this post is really about her mobile phone.

If you have been reading this blog over the years, you will be aware that The Witch Doctor is a great fan of iPhones, iPads and all things Apple dating right back to the very first Macintosh. It has to be said, though, that she is not seduced by every latest upgraded version. She is very selective before she buys a new model.

Take her iPhone for example. She reckons she was the first UK witch to purchase an iPhone – the first day the first model was released here. The interesting thing is that she has never upgraded this phone. Her kids, friends and colleagues who mocked her at the time now all have their own iPhones and text relentlessly from them. They are all rather stupid and ill mannered. A phone is a phone. Even an iPhone is a phone.

Anyway, all this is beside the point.

It so happens that The Witch Doctor regards her iPhone only as an emergency device – a kind of accessory to the Book of Spells. It is a means of communicating that she has a flat tyre or breakdown to one of her kids who will then come out and sort it or phone for a garage to do the needful. It is also used as a means of her family contacting her when they are experiencing some kind of calamity that requires a witch’s presence. No-one except her immediate family and two friends know her mobile number. She gives it out to no-one. There is no need.

Today, The Witch Doctor received a text on her now becoming-a-collectable iPhone. It was from Ladbrokes. It advised me that if I bet £10, I get £30 free bets.

Has someone, somewhere along the line said “do her phone.”

If so, is this witch important enough to have her phone “done”?

Or does everyone, in this age of transparency have his or her “phone done?” by somebody or another.

So Ladbrokes and O2, can you tell me how a betting outfit knows The Witch Doctor’s phone number?

Posted by: Witch Doctor | October 26, 2013

Hands off our Kit Kats!


Because of the micro-meddling of the UK’s public health gurus, Nestle will change their recipe for Kit Kats in order to reduce the saturated fat content from 7.2g to 6.4g

If the taste of this well-loved snack changes, then The Humankind will just resort to deep-frying them in dripping, just as they do with Mars Bars!

There are unintended consequences when the Thought Police patrolling the “Responsibility Deal” try to meddle with the little decisions that people should make for themselves.

That’s all.

Posted by: Witch Doctor | October 25, 2013

Scary stuff? Seven is the witching number!


It is now seven years since The Witch Doctor first came across a certain name that was closely associated with the health care reforms attributed to Blair and Milburn. Indeed this person, as advisor to government, has been described as the architect of these reforms. It was also about the time that a private health care company, a European subsidiary of United HealthCare in the USA, had succeeded in taking over the running of an NHS general practice in Derby. It was the first time a large USA based healthcare organisation had been given UK tax-payers money for this purpose.

At an evening meeting on Thursday 12th January 2006 these reforms were described by the Chief Medical Officer of Scotland as “Scary Stuff.”

Since seven is The Witching Number it seems appropriate that the man who advised Blair and Milburn regarding their new (?scary) vision of the NHS has returned to the UK from the USA to replace Sir David Nicholson as Chief Executive of NHS England.

My Black Cat is tickled pink by this appointment. She is amused that some of those, who in the past have been so against the health care reforms, are now welcoming back the architect of these very reforms!

It is Creep at work, My Black Cat!

Human Creep.

Incidentally, this individual is Simon Stevens. Since 2004 he has been in the USA as a senior executive of United HealthCare. He made his mark there and seems to have been highly respected across the Atlantic for his abilities to enhance United HealthCare’s position in the international market.

“A spokesman for UNC commended Mr Stevens for his leadership over the company’s “truly significant entry into the international marketplace”.

Presumably he has come home to see through his concept that fuelled the Blair / Milburn reforms that were subsequently pushed through parliament by the current coalition government who ensured they attained legal status.

Mr Stevens seems to have sold some shares, presumably to avoid any accusations of conflict of interest.

“Although NHS England said Mr Stevens will “divest himself of any UnitedHealth Group shares before taking up his new NHS post in April, and will comply with all public service rules related to these matters,” a review of this agreement by NHS England chairman Sir Malcolm Grant will be made after Mr Stevens’s first year. Critics argue that this could pave the way for greater collaboration between the NHS and United HealthCare, which already runs some GP services in the UK.”

It is difficult to imagine that the “marketplace” and “consumerism” will not feature to a great extent in NHS England as a result of this appointment.

N.B. In addition to divesting his shares in United HealthCare, apparently Mr Stevens has taken a £20,000 voluntary cut in salary from that advertised (£211,000 per annum) for the first year.

Spare us this information.


It is in very bad taste!

Posted by: Witch Doctor | October 20, 2013

NHS fraud and legal loopholes


Me and My Black Cat have been rendered catatonic by all the ridiculous and horrible things going on in the world today, hence the silence.

However, we thought we’d better read this stuff.


On the other hand, it’s OK that firms running NHS care services avoid millions in tax since it is totally legal.

What do you think of that, My Black Cat?

Firms apparently under scrutiny :

Partnerships in Care Owned by Cinven, a leading European private equity firm.

Healthcare at Home owned by Vitruvian Partners – a European private equity firm.

Independent Clinical Services Owned by Blackstone

Spire Healthcare Owner : Cinven

Lifeways Owner: August Equity Partners

Priory Group Owner: Advent International Corporation is one of the world’s leading global buyout firms.

Acorn Care Owner: The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan board

Care UK Owner: Bridgepoint

Tunstall Owners: Charterhouse and Bridgepoint

Posted by: Witch Doctor | August 10, 2013

Ramblings on handbags and cherries


Well, My Black Cat, seemingly there is a right hue and cry about a handbag!

Apparently a well-known celebrity who is not well known in Switzerland was told that she would not be able to afford a particular handbag.

The Handbag in question cost £22,000 for goodness sake!

If The Witch Doctor, regardless of her perceived or actual wealth or lack of it, was contemplating spending that amount of money on a handbag, or even showing an interest in it, then she might be grateful to a shop assistant who brought her down to earth with a bang in whatever way possible.

A change of topic……

The Witch Doctor has a totally abnormal addiction to fresh fruit. You would not believe the amount of fruit she can devour during a day, so she won’t tell you.

However, this addiction means that she considers herself to be a bit of a fruit connoisseur.

Take cherries.

Her favourite cherry is the beautiful, sweet, white cherry known as the Rainier cherry. They are quite difficult to come by where she lives. But during July and early August they are available in a well-known chain store in a neighbouring small town.

So every year, The Witch Doctor, during the summer months, frequents this chain for her grocery shopping so that she can add in a supply of “white cherries.”

Yesterday she cleared the shelf by adding the remaining three single layered packs of these cherries to her shopping basket. On this occasion no comment was made by the check out assistant.

This is unusual.

On most occasions over the years the check out assistant says:

“Do you know these cherries cost £8.00 a punnet? Will I put them back?”


“Are these cherries a gift or for yourself? Do you know they cost £8.00 a punnet”?

The Witch Doctor usually just smiles and says “I know” but when she feels slightly more belligerent she replies something along the lines of:

“No they are for me. I’m worth it.”


“It’s OK. I don’t smoke, drink, or go out with men, so I can just about afford them.”

Now then, My Black Cat, do you suppose I should report these recurring events to the papers and the BBC?

After all it might be that The Witch Doctor is continually being subjected to some kind of illegal racist, or sexist, or ageist, or some other kind of …”ist” attack!

Posted by: Witch Doctor | August 7, 2013

The elderly : China’s way


To all nations their own way.

What do you mean by that, My Black Cat?

Here is China’s way of dealing with the elderly – necessary partly because of the unintended consequences of their one-child policy.

“The “Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly People” bill says children must care for their parents’ “spiritual needs” as well as their physical needs – which are already protected by law – as they grow older.

Filial devotion is a serious business in China, and is deeply etched in the national psyche. But the transformation of Chinese society over three decades of reform has played havoc with the traditional family model, as younger generations leave home to work in cities, and no longer stay behind to care for their aged parents. Retirement homes are a rarity, and decent pension provision is also a long way away.”

Hmm, I came across a video today My Black Cat.


What do you suppose will happen if the only son or daughter has emigrated to say Europe or the USA? How can they follow the law? Are they made to return home frequently? Will they avoid returning home because a punishment awaits them? Will there be a requirement to stay in China until their parents die? Should the UK ensure the Chinese doctors employed here have no elderly parents at home?

Who knows, My Black Cat. Governments and leaders in China, the UK and everywhere else should always be aware of the unintended consequences of their pronouncements and laws. On occasions when these consequences are easily foreseeable governments should in some way be held accountable for them.

The video is probably some kind of propaganda.

I think.

We don’t have propaganda in the UK any more. Now we call it “Nudge”

Indeed, today The Witch Doctor learned yet another new term.

“Choice architect”

How clever is that?

Posted by: Witch Doctor | August 6, 2013

Berwick review into patient safety


The Berwick review into patient safety has just been published, My Black Cat.

Huh. You’re already reading it! You are keen to see whether they are following your advice that you want made law.

“She thinks that all documents related to healthcare from whatever source, be it government, hospital, or any other body using public money, should have the first page after the title page completely dedicated to giving a summary of the full costs. It should also indicate those private companies, charities or individuals who benifit financially from the exercises. Included on this page should be an estimated cost for NHS staff time lost due to preparation and meetings. Any link on this page should not be a hide-and-seek exercise to find the full costs but rather one clear direct link for those who are interested in obtaining more detailed information on the full breakdown of the costs.”

I’ll bet you won’t find that degree of transparency in this document My Black Cat. However go through it with a fine toothcomb and, if it makes you feel better, have a fizzy fit if there is nothing there about the costs of this review to the taxpayer.

Posted by: Witch Doctor | August 4, 2013

Keogh Review and a new law?


Julie has counted the number of clicks it takes to find the real cost of the Keogh Review from the public purse.

It takes 6 clicks.

This, of course, is a ridiculous number.

It would have been much better to have seven clicks, since SEVEN is the magic number.

But what if those sitting on Reviews, Committees, etc are unable to generate magic?

What if the number SEVEN means nothing to those who make decisions about how our money is spent?

What if there are no witches on these committees?

What should be done then, to ensure those who use the NHS are informed clearly and concisely about where their money has gone?


For once, My Black Cat has come up with a very sensible answer.

Indeed, it is so sensible, that she is certain that someone, somewhere, will start lobbying parliament for this to become the law of the land.

She thinks that all documents related to healthcare from whatever source, be it government, hospital, or any other body using public money, should have the first page after the title page completely dedicated to giving a summary of the full costs. It should also indicate those private companies, charities or individuals who benifit financially from the exercises. Included on this page should be an estimated cost for NHS staff time lost due to preparation and meetings. Any link on this page should not be a hide-and-seek exercise to find the full costs but rather one clear direct link for those who are interested in obtaining more detailed information on the full breakdown of the costs.

After all, it is our money collected from us to be used for the communal health benefit. When times are hard, such a law would ensure the public can see for themselves whether activities related to healthcare are being sensibly prioritised or whether money is being wasted debating ideas and activities that are clearly unworkable.

Well, My Black Cat, it seems this is one of your more sensible ideas.

But who is going to lobby for you?

No-one will listen to a cat!

And you’re not going to get any help from me! This old witch has far too many other things to do right now!

Posted by: Witch Doctor | August 2, 2013

Keogh Review : Page 49


Back to the Keoch Review.

It is a change for the better? Page 49 is the beginning of an attempt to include the cost of the review within the document itself. This is not new – a doctor in The Witch Doctor’s hospital attempted to do this many years ago.

Is Page 49 accurate or not?

After all, it gives a link to “GOV.UK”

However, if you had been paying attention you might have noticed that The Witch Doctor’s spelling is not up to scratch.

She made a common error : It is not “Keoch” but “Keogh.”

This is important because, unlike Google, not all searches incorporate sound checks.

It looks as if “GOV UK” does not incorporate sound-checks in its search engine. So if you can’t spell, are not familiar with the vagaries of the English language, are careless, are in a hurry, or are not used to paying attention to detail, then you might reach a dead end when you search for information on “GOV UK.” And it will be entirely your own fault if you can’t find what you are looking for. “GOV UK” will not help you with your deficiencies.

Anyway, when you click from page 49 of the Keogh Review, you have to click again.

Your click arrives at “Service Contracts Finder”

You have to click “Start now”…..

This takes you to a page “Welcome to the Contracts Finder”

You then have to do a search. You have two choices. You can enter a keyword to “FIND OPPORTUNITIES.” Or you can enter a keyword to “SEE WHAT IS BEING BOUGHT BY GOVERNMENT”

The Witch Doctor typed in “Keoch Report” using the search “SEE WHAT IS BEING BOUGHT BY GOVERNMENT”

She was told “We found 0 results for your search. Try again”

Thinking she might have used the wrong term, she tried again.

This time she searched for “Keoch Review”

She was told “We found 0 results for your search. Try again”

Then she checked her spelling of “Keogh”

She found it!

There it is:

“Support to the Review into the Quality of Care and Treatment

asked Professor Sir Bruce Keogh to review the quality of care and treatment provided by those NHS Trusts”

LOCATION : England

DATE: 15 November 13

VALUE : £2,773,614”

If you can be bothered, you can click again to obtain further details of the contract.

If you eventually get round to clicking “Awarded Suppliers” you find this:

“PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
7 More London, Riverside, London, SE1 2RT
Awarded value: 2773614.00
Is the supplier likely to sub-contract? No
Supplier is a Small or Medium Enterprise: No
Is the awarded organisation a voluntary, community or social enterprise organisation? No”

Just count the number of clicks it takes until you find something approaching the real cost of the Keogh Review to the taxpayer.

It is something in the region of £2,773,614 + £169,000 + £28,000 + £30,000

Presumably, in addition, there will be extra costs relating to the time spent by hospital staff preparing and participating in the visits by the 190 panelists.

To most of us, this is quite a lot of money – our money that is going towards healthcare.

And most people will be quite unaware of the real figure – even the few who cared to read page 49 of the Keogh Review.


Because The Witch Doctor can confidently tell you that most people nowadays just scan documents such as this. Even those who read carefully don’t bother to click. If they do click they will not click repeatedly to delve deeply into a document, and most will definitely not persevere if their spelling is not up to scratch.

So, most people have no idea how much The Keogh Review has cost them as taxpayers.

Since it is the money YOU pay to the government to fund the NHS then it seems entirely appropriate to The Witch Doctor that the Keogh Review should have made it clear on Page 49, without having to click, that PricewaterhouseCoopers was awarded £2,773,614 for the contract for this review. 

Then they could have consulted The Abacus which would have told them that:

£2,773,614 + £169,000 + £28,000 + £30,000 = £3,000,614

They should also have made it clear that there were other “hidden costs” more difficult to evaluate as members of NHS staff participated in the exercise rather than performing their usual work.

That, is what we witches mean by “transparency.”

But I suppose “Page 49” is a start to clearing the opacities around healthcare spending even if this document has quite a long way to go before making the taxpayers’ expenditure crystal clear.

Eh, My Black Cat?

Posted by: Witch Doctor | July 30, 2013

NHS111 and telephone consultations


In view of the current news, the spirit is moving this Black Cat to regurgitate a post that appeared in this blog round about April Fools day.

Here it is :



My Black Cat is reminding me that they brought in people like window-cleaners to man the ‘flu helpline a few years ago.

The Witch Doctor thought this was ridiculous at the time but supposed there was a bit of a panic and they had either run out of qualified people to do the job or they were not prepared to pay a professional wage.

The new NHS111 service is due to be rolled out on April Fool’s Day. Who on Earth would be witless enough to roll out a new service like this over the Easter Holiday weekend? That speaks volumes.

According to Jobbing Doctor, those triaging patients are likely to be “trained” teenagers employed on low wages.

“Lets have a single number that can be used and services can be channelled through this. We don’t need expensive nurses to run it any more, we can now have barely trained teenagers to do it on the minimum wage. National standards, uniform quality, cost effective: what’s not to like?

The answer is just about everything. At least the nurses had a modicum of training in medicine to fall back on: the teenagers won’t. There will be a culture of covering your a*** in this system where any departure from the easiest algorithm will be met by “Call an Ambulance” or “Visit your doctor within 6 hours”

The Witch Doctor totally and utterly disapproves of doctors participating in telephone consultations apart from in circumstances that are well-defined and exceptional. It should never be considered best practice. In the past she herself has initiated a telephone consultation service in such well-defined and exceptional circumstances and so she knows a little about the advantages and limitations of such a venture. She can, however, think of no circumstances when it would be safe to use a routine telephone consultation in an emergency or out of hours setting. That means she does not approve of NHS Direct, NHS 24 nor any similar service manned by medical staff, nurses, or lay persons. These services up till now have been telephone consultations that generally do not in the first instance involve a doctor although the conversation with a nurse may well direct the patient towards seeing a doctor in a face-to-face consultation.

But doctors creep.

The General Medical Council creeps.

The government creeps.

It has gradually become OK with doctors, the GMC and government to employ “others,” untrained in medicine, to follow algorithms in order to make a diagnosis without seeing the patient. However, algorithms, although useful in certain circumstances as a type of personal “Aide Memoire” are really only a way of propelling a patient down a “pathway” which takes them on a “journey” which may or may not lead them to a proper face to face consultation with a medical practitioner. It may or may not lead them to an accurate diagnosis. In this witch’s view, an “Aide Memoire” whether it be a reminder such as putting your shoes on the wrong feet, tying a knot of string around your finger, or peering at an algorithm on a computer screen should always, in the case of making a medical diagnosis, be used in conjunction with full medical training and experience. The medical training The Witch Doctor received involved spending time with the whole patient, not just a distant voice. It involved taking a full medical history followed by examination.

This too has crept. It is a rare thing for a doctor nowadays to have enough available time to take a full medical history and do a proper examination.

This is Bad Medicine.

It is very easy, especially when time is limited, to put the tick in the wrong box that leads to a patient embarking on a journey along a path whose destination is disaster. Sure, the qualified medical practitioner may get it badly wrong during a time limited face-to-face consultation but at least, in these circumstances, there is somebody in charge who has professional responsibility for the error or malpractice.

Who exactly would be responsible if a wrong turning is taken by a teenager / student / window-cleaner / nurse employed from April Fool’s day by NHS111?

Nobody of course…….

Just as nobody was responsible for Mid-Staffordshire……….

So, it seems things are now going from bad to worse in England.



However, The Witch Doctor thinks that the easily remembered single number 111 could be developed in such a way that it has an important function – an information resource only – a function that would not involve triaging patients in an out of hours / emergency situation utilising teenagers and others “trained” to play at being doctors and nurses.

My Black Cat has an idea to enhance such a “111 information only” service. She believes that many patients who own a computer would themselves be able to follow algorithms much more safely than “trained” teenagers or others who are not medically qualified. They would be able to take their time to do so. They would have more of a chance of answering the questions accurately. They would be able to have ongoing observations of their condition that may lead them down a different pathway. Many patients will be far more knowledgeable about many things including their own health issues than those “trained teenagers” and others supposed to be triaging them.

Is it madness having patients triaging themselves or ill relatives by using an algorithm to decide whether it is necessary to see a doctor?

No doubt.

But not nearly as mad as the Creep that is already happening as a result of the demise of medical professionalism carefully orchestrated by Alan Milburn – a previous, and very clever, Secretary of State for Health responsible for offering a huge financial carrot to GPs and consultants leading to a change in contracts. A change that opened the door to healthcare becoming a commodity.

Posted by: Witch Doctor | July 25, 2013

Revisiting a change for the better


Well, My Black Cat, after all the excitement of a royal birth, it is time to focus ourselves on more mundane matters.

We were, in our post on 17th July, discussing change. A better kind of change – or so we thought.

So, what have you discovered when you followed the two links on our post, My Black Cat?


You have discovered you had to get the abacus out and add up some figures on Page 49 of the Keoch Review?

And what were these figures My Black Cat?

The cost of The Keoch Review was £169,000 + £28,000 + £30,000

That gives a total cost of £227,000

Well, My Black Cat, it is good that the Keoch Review has devoted a whole page to informing us how much it has cost the taxpayer. That surely is what the chairman of the committee that we mentioned in our post was trying to achieve.




But you, My Black Cat, are behaving like a mediocre cat belonging to The Humankind rather than a witch.

In fact, you are being a very, very stupid cat.

Go and read page 49 of The Keoch Report again.

The Page is called:

“Annex B Resources required for the review. “

This time concentrate your mind.

Read it carefully.

And once you have discovered how stupid you are, let me know the TRUE COST to the taxpayer of the Keoch Review.

Posted by: Witch Doctor | July 23, 2013

No home birth for a king


Oh dear, My Black Cat, the wonder of the birth of a child (any child) is being dampened down by the wet blanket Republicans who seem to have a need to get in their tuppence-worth.

Republicans or Royalists, they all seem to be missing an important point.

The latest addition to the Royal family was not delivered at home.

Presumably it would have been possible to have very comfortable labour and delivery rooms with all sorts of accoutrements such as birthing pools available at Kensington Palace, any other palace, or the Middleton’s home.

Presumably there are competent midwives, obstetricians, anaesthetists, paediatricians etc who could have been enticed to be close at hand for a home delivery in a palace or a country house.

Presumably all sorts of expensive equipment could have been wheeled in for the occasion.

Presumably this would have resulted in more privacy for the couple and avoided disruption in the street around the hospital.

Presumably it would also have avoided possible leaks and pranks such as the one resulting in the tragedy of a nurse who committed suicide during the Duchess of Cambridge’s earlier admission with morning sickness.

Nevertheless, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge decided to have their first child in a hospital setting.

Perhaps they were advised it would be safer. After all, when things go wrong in obstetrics, they can go wrong very quickly and all sorts of expertise, medications and equipment might be required immediately.

This, after all, is a future King.

Perhaps this baby is special.

Perhaps the “home birth targets” don’t count for future kings.

Perhaps this baby is more special than the babies of the twee parents who would move mountains to have a home delivery for their offspring (and for themselves).

Perhaps the would-be republicans who are fussing over the fuss would be better to fuss over government targets for home births.

Older Posts »