the lead Tory government has today been subject to intense criticism and continuing contemptuous hatred following new revelations regarding the future of the NHS Direct telephone service.
under new plans drawn up by Health Secretary Angela Lansbury MP, the service is to be quickly allowed to naturally stop being operative very much of its own accord, and then replaced by a different and if not worse system, called Medicine 101.
instead of being staffed by nurses and backed up by doctors, as is the NHS Direct service is currently is, Medicine 101 will employ cheaper phone operators equipped not necessarily with knowledge but with a database allowing them unprecedented access to hundreds of hours of footage from the UK and US’s most popular medical shows.
the first phase of what the Department of Health is calling ‘the 101 working scenario’ is instigated when someone worried about a health issue dials 101 into a telephone, mobile telephone, Skype handset or WiFi enabled scientific calculator. shortly after this, they are connected to the Medicine 101 Hub.
meanwhile, at the Hub, upon on learning of the details of a complaint from a caller, a crypto-highly qualified Medicine 101 Diagnosis and Treatment Delivery Operative will search the database using a certain number of keywords/phrases: e.g. ‘stab’, ‘cancerous’, ‘vacuum seal’, ‘weepy’ or ‘engorged’.
subsequent to entering the appropriate keywords/phrases, the Operative will, as immediately as possible, be then presented with a list of episodes from popular and semi-popular hospital-based dramas, comedies or documentary series in which patients with similar symptoms have featured. they will then be able to access a list of the treatments offered in the various shows, as well as the medical, dramatic or comedic consequences (for both the patient, the wider cast and in terms of the overarching narrative arc).
patients will then be texted or Tweeted any information that could be found in the database relating to their symptoms or condition, any advice on successful treatments thrown-up by the search and detailed information on the source from which the information has been gleaned. e.g. ‘9yr old boy with bleeding ears, ruptured subdural haematoma, long needle to head (Casualty; 16th July ’93, 8:00pm), died. WARNING: sad, parents sad, staff sad. possibly contributed to continued decline of programme.’
“It’s an really ingenious system when you think about it”, design team Paul Robinson-nobbert and his designer half-Scottish son Andrew Robinson-nobbert Jr., both insisted. “there is such a repository of clinical wisdom in these often thoroughly researched and realistic shows which is otherwise mostly being ignored,”
Operatives can already see data from shows as diverse and enjoyble as E.R., Grey’s Anatomy, House, M*A*S*H, Scrubs, Casualty, Jimmy’s, Surgical Spirit, 999, One Born Every Minute, Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Only When I Laugh, Doogie Howser M.D., Doctors, Young Doctors, The Flying Doctors and All Creatures Great and Small.
whatismore, the NHS is in personal negotiations with Channel 4 over Sirens, Embarrassing Bodies, No Angels and Green Wing, with ITV over Doc Martin and the UK rights to either Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman or a compendium of medical bits from McGyver, and with the BBC over Holby City, Dr. Finlay’s Casebook, Rolf’s Animal Hospital, Nurse Jackie and the one with Jo Brand in.
the Shadow(y) H(st)ealth Secret(ary), Andy Burnham was clear that he and his kind are fully opposed to the measure, describing it as “utterly crass and almost certainly not going to improve things.” “It’s such an obvious vote-pandering exercise” he later remarked in the same interview, “some bright spark intern in the Department of Health has decided that people love and trust TV more than real healthcare professionals. I, however, think that that fact is irrelevant, and what is most important is combatting this government’s total lack of regard for working people, the elderly, the Scottish and its obsession with tax cuts for big business.”
when we called, no-one from the Department of Health was available to officially respond to Mr Burnham’s accusations. however, we were told that similar slurs featuring in episodes of The Thick of It, Spitting Image and Yes Prime Minister all proved woefully ineffective.