Posted by: Witch Doctor | October 6, 2011

Pragmatism, profit and pickled rats!


Well, My Black Cat, you have not earned your big jar of pickled rats.

Anna has beaten you to it!

Do you suppose Anna will want a big jar of pickled rats that was intended for you, My Black Cat?

And if she does, I wonder what she would do with them?

I don’t think we will burden Anna with such rats, My Black Cat. And I know you much prefer fresh rats anyway, so I have a much better idea.

The pickled rats will become a prize for Pragmatic Doctors.

There are some pragmatic doctors in The Haxby Group Practice in North Yorkshire. They have set up a kind of dual practice which consists of an NHS component and a private component. The NHS component is called Haxby Group Practice. The private component is a company called HBG Ltd.

The doctors at Haxby have featured in the Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times, the BBC and elsewhere today. It seems there may be some kind of conflict of interest going on. They are advising patients that some kinds of minor surgical procedures can no longer be performed on the NHS, and helpfully they have set up their own company so that patients can pay their own GPs directly to perform these simple operations privately. To be fair, they have given their patients a choice. They can choose to have the procedures done privately elsewhere. They name three other centres in addition to HBG Ltd. However, they have enclosed a price list for their own service. For example you can have your ingrowing toenail removed for £146.95 during your Monday lunchtime.

The news of this entrepreneurial practice first broke yesterday on Twitter with a link to this website. Several relevant documents can be accessed from there.

The Times today states:

“Doctors leaders’ said that such schemes created a worrying potential for conflicts of interest, warning that they would become more common as the NHS tries to save money. But the practice insisted that the private option was a pragmatic response to funding problems that could spread countrywide.”

Now then, the word “pragmatic” in this context is to The Witch Doctor as a red rag is to a bull!

This witch believes pragmatism among the medical profession is at the root of many of the problems within the NHS. There are times to be pragmatic and there are times to say “no” and you need to know when each is appropriate.

The Witch Doctor has been watching the antics of the medical profession for more years than she cares to remember, and she is utterly convinced that doctors are not good at knowing when to use that simple two lettered word “no” that conveys a wealth of meaning with minimal cost and minimal effort. Instead, she has observed that many doctors much prefer to faff about being “pragmatic” in some of the most contorted ways known to man.

Sometimes Pragmatism and Profit go hand in hand.

Read this.

It is the letter that was sent by HBG Ltd. NHS to patients who required minor surgical procedures.

You will notice there is a little nugget on the first page.

*** Coming Soon***
Botox and Dermal Fillers

Now, we witches have major problems in taking dentists who offer Botox services seriously, and we have been waiting patiently for the first GP’s to join the bandwagon.

The doctors at HGB Ltd have not let us down.

We do not consider that a GP offering Botox privately to his/her patients is driven by pragmatism.

We think he/she is driven by profit.

And so, My Black Cat, we are of the view that the GP’s who have formed HBG Ltd have much in common with Cherie Blair.

They, like the former Prime Minister’s wife, stand to gain from NHS privatisation.

We witches think all the dithering, compliant pragmatic doctors who think they are entrepreneurs but in fact just don’t know when it is important to say ”no” should have a whole bottle of pickled rats dumped on their cornflakes every morning to remind them they are supposed to be a profession.

Go and see if you can arrange that, My Black Cat!


The Witch Doctor has made a mistake of gigantic proportions for which she apologises profusely. She did not have her reading glasses on when she came across the letter from the practice.

HBG Ltd is NOT planning to offer Botox.

It says that Boxtox is coming soon!

Go and find out what Boxtox is, My Black Cat. After all, it is possible it may have nothing at all to do with profit and more to do with toxic boxes of rats or something along these lines!

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The Witch Doctor – Link to a random page





© Dlundin |


  1. Hi Witch Doctor

    Pity about the pickled rats as they are a delicacy in my neck of the woods! Hi-ho – I shall have steak with my chips instead.

    Oh the allure of the fast buck when offering patients choice. It appears that three of the eight procedures Haxby Group Practice offer (as HBG) are routinely funded – naughty, naughty.

    It is refreshing to know that the magic of Botox will be offered in the future to patients of the practice.

    Your new puzzle led me to the good Dr Murray who is already offering this service. The consultation is a mere £20 and three sites treated a mere £310. I shall go there!

    Why Boxtox instead of Botox – haven’t been able to figure that one out yet, my PC won’t tell me.

    How sad it is that these entrepreneurial GPs are to make profit from their patients. You are correct in that they should learn to say ‘No’! (And if they do I might get the pickled rats?) :o]

    Anna :o]

  2. […] Posted in Alternative medicine, Change, Creep, Department of Health, Economy, Health and Social Care Bill, Health Economics, Health Policies, Infection Control, NHS Reforms, Patient Choice, Patients versus Clients | Tags: Botox, boxtox, HSCB « Pragmatism, profit and pickled rats! […]

  3. […] So rich that My Black Cat would have no need to catch her own rats or depend on the disgusting pickled variety when the big winter freeze is on. Oh no. She is of the view that The Witch Doctor would fund a […]



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