We got back a few hours ago from out weekend away with the gang to Hanmer.  Fun weekend with nice people.  Pretty tired now.  A big event – I had my first beer in a pub.  I drank the whole thing and liked it.  Kind of.  I liked the first third, went of the middle third then enjoyed the final bit.  And I didn’t throw up afterwards!  One step closer to being accepted as a Kiwi.

Drinking, sledging, BBQ, hot tubs, mini golf, adventure maze and amusing games.  I’ll try to get photos up later in the week.

We all start a new rotation tomorrow.  I’m on night cover again (through choice), this time covering the other medical specialties apart from Cardiology and Respiratory.  Basically I do the day job of the doc who’s on nights so I change team to team every week.  I’m also on call tomorrow as well which is annoying but hey ho.


Or at least I may be able to be soon.  I have one night on call left to go.  After that we’re off to Hanmer Springs for the weekend for some relaxation.  It’s not as if the nights have been tiring – in fact they’ve been strangely (insert that word that’s the same as ‘quite’ but with a different word order).  But a week is generally draining even if you sleep well during the day and fairly antisocial.

Anyway, I just got an email from Barry at Wilderness Medical Training after filling him in on my recent exploits on the Medex expedition and he’s linked to my blog and photo site from the WMT website.  Which is nice of him.

Wilderness Medical Training are the group who ran the Chamonix ‘Expedition Medicine and Field Skills for Diverse Environments’ course I went to this summer gone.  As you may remember from earlier posts the course was extremely well run, informative and damn good fun.  Plus you get to meet a whole host of people with a love for the outdoors and doing something a bit different with their training and lives.  They run courses throughout the year in a variety of locations for lay people as well as medics so there’s something for everyone.  Go check out the website for details.

My photos of the week can be found here, including us playing around on the glacier, ice climbing and building our tremendous ice cave.  As I said – great fun.

And speaking of photos – I’ve been using my downtime to sort out the recent Medex expedition shots so will be posting them to my site over this next week.  I’m also posting all the shots since we moved to New Zealand so if you’re really bored check them out (link is on the right).

Managed to get a last minute dentist appointment after 3 days of tooth ache only too have nothing done. 

I’m sure it’s his fault.  What with all the moving around in recent years I’d not been for a while until K kept giving me a hard time, saying she wouldn’t love me if my teeth fell out (so superficial!).  Anyway, saw him a few months back and I’m all fine, still no fillings and healthy teeth.  The sensitive one I have has been stable for years and doesn’t really bug me.  He gives me advice, I go away.  And since then the pain in my sensitive tooth has got worse and worse.  Methinks bad advice to drum up business…maybe too cynical?  Anyway, sensitive toothpaste for me from now on (apparently he’s been on it since his early twenties – he tells me lots about his own teeth) and a ‘scrape and polish’ in a month.  Such a lovely phrase. 


Lola (our new secret cat) has settled down the weird behaviour somewhat.  When I first got home she was going mental, banging her head into anything around, quite manic, jumping and generally being strange.  Then she relaxed and even curled up on my lap while I was reading.  She likes having her head scratched, just like me.

Then when we were sitting quietly she suddenly went for me, bit me, sunk her claws in and generally looked quite frightening.  Then she sat right back down next to me.  About 20 minutes later she did it again.  Now I think she’s schizophrenic.  Or maybe bipolar…  I’m going to hold judgement on whether we’re still friends.

Speaking of schizophrenic cats, it reminds me of someone we learnt about during my psychiatry rotation.  Louis Wain was a painter famous for pictures featuring anthropomorphised cats. 

He then developed late onset schizophrenia and his paintings changed, developing a deep focus on the cats specifically creating increasngly abstract images as his illness progressed.

He eventually ended up at Springfield in Tooting which is where I learnt my psychiatry.  Check the links out for more information.

This shows the apparent progression,  more of his paintings and as part of a larger thesis.

Wow. Bad day. Bad mood. Stressed. Mulling. Over stuff.

Articulate – yes I know.

One thing leads to another and another and I snapped at someone today which really pissed me off. I try to maintain grace under pressure (we still believe in love) and it really annoys me when I lose it, even if it’s just being short with someone. You shouldn’t bring your frustrations and annoyance out on someone else. Of course, she really pisses me off and was annoying…Arghh. Enough.

The problem with discharging loads of people is that new people come. And they were sick today (ok, so arguably everyone in hospital is sick (almost) but some are sicker than others and the sick ones take more time, thought and anxiety). Interesting though. Rheumatology really interests me and I liked it as a student. The only draw back is that I rarely have any clue as to what is going on with the patients! Ha ha. It’s a complex subject.

Couldn’t sort out my tax disc but did put my car into the garage to sort out the clutch and managed to make it sound like I knew what I’m talking about,

So for the last 3 weeks it’s been really hard to get into gear and keeps grating. I think the clutch is wearing out but don’t know whether it’s an adjustable clutch (cheaper to repair) or will need replacing…

Prompting him to look at me and say he thought it was adjustable. Ha ha. Thanks dad! it’s better than ‘my car don’t work and makes funny noises (fall to ground weeping).

‘Date’ did not happen due to stress induced grumpiness and then by the time I was sorted out she has left with another woman. Damn! Ha ha. We’re all catching 28 weeks later tonight though which should be awesome. Actually, we’re leaving in 5 mins. Shit…

Oh and I’ve just read this:


Doctor application system ditched

The controversial system used to match junior doctors to specialist training posts has been shelved by ministers. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said that after the first round of recruitment, the system would only fulfill a monitoring role this year.

Instead, the subsequent recruitment rounds will be CV-based, and handled at a local level by medical deaneries.

Doctors had complained the system was profoundly flawed, and that many juniors had been unfairly treated.

  This was the only option on offer – which they have presented as a decision
Dr Matt Jamieson Evans
Remedy UK

Juniors had to apply for a job through a system known as the medical training application service (MTAS).

But the system ran into serious trouble with many complaining about a lack of posts, poorly designed recruitment forms and technical failures with the online application system.

The doctors were angry about the way everyone was made to apply for training places at the same time, rather than the old rolling recruitment process which allowed them to keep on trying for jobs as they came up.

They feared those who missed out in the first round of recruitment would not be able to get back on the career ladder towards becoming a consultant.

Criminal offences

It also emerged that the MTAS website had been the subject of two security breaches.

  The Department of Health has at last seen sense and effectively abandoned the unfair, discredited, and shambolic MTAS system
Dr Andrew Rowland
British Medical Association

Ms Hewitt told the Commons earlier this month she was confident that criminal offences had not been committed.

But following further investigations a report has been sent to the police.

A campaign group of doctors, Remedy UK, has launched a legal challenge with the aim of getting the whole recruitment process scrapped.

However, ministers are committed to seeing through the first round of the recruitment process.

They said every eligible applicant in the first round had now been guaranteed at least one interview for their first preference post, and as a result an additional 15,500 interviews had been arranged, and were now taking place.

Only doctors who fail in the first round of recruitment will go to second and subsequent rounds.

Doctors’ response

The British Medical Association welcomed the decision to suspend the use of MTAS.

Dr Andrew Rowland, vice chairman of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee, said: “The Department of Health has at last seen sense and effectively abandoned the unfair, discredited, and shambolic MTAS system.



The recruitment system has been an unfair mess from start to finish.
Kate, Kettering

“Junior doctors have suffered blow after blow because of the government’s terrible handling of these reforms.

“They have had to go through months of anxiety about their NHS careers, and on top of that, have potentially had their personal details exposed on the MTAS website.”

However, Dr Rowland said the BMA remained opposed to the Remedy UK legal challenge, saying that scrapping the first round of applications would be disastrous for doctors, for patients, and for the NHS.

“Forcing people to re-apply for jobs through yet another new and untested system would be unfair on the junior doctors and consultants who have had to spend huge amounts of time and energy on MTAS.”

Dr Matt Jamieson Evans, a spokesman for Remedy UK, was unimpressed by the government move, which he called a “grandiose smokescreen statement” intended to divert attention away from the fact that thousands of doctors had suffered at the hands of MTAS.

He said: “The system has been down for weeks.

“I fail to see how they could have envisaged using it. This was the only option on offer – which they have presented as a decision.”

A review of MTAS will decide whether the system should be reinstated in future years.

Published: 2007/05/15 11:38:46 GMT