Congratulations to Carolina Lamb, (CP online 27-11-20).

It is fantastic to see members of our younger generation joining St Mary’s unpaid volunteers, who, last time I checked, accounted for around a tenth of the IW NHS Trust’s workforce.

Congratulations also to Brian Martin, who leads important work in the field of tele-medicine, which can benefit many members of our elderly generation by reducing the requirement to attend some routine hospital appointments.

Both have the potential to save our NHS money and are representative of just two initiatives being championed by the trust here on the IW.

How one responds to the medical needs of an increasingly elderly population, while at the same time saving money, is key to much of the work currently being undertaken by our trust.

Long waiting lists for NHS treatment have forced many desperate NHS patients to go private.

When private health care is undertaken in NHS hospitals this provides trusts with a lucrative additional revenue stream. More and more NHS services are being outsourced to other providers to shed direct responsibility for delivery and save money.

These are all part of an increasing suite of alternative care packages to, in our trust’s jargon, ensure ‘sustainability’. There is a huge amount riding on such work, which if successful will no doubt become a model to be rolled out nationally

When such work becomes too important to fail, the temptation can be to conduct trials within a closed and secretive framework, where outcomes can all too easily become predetermined and results narrowly considered.

Bona fide research affecting patient care needs to be undertaking objectively, and most importantly, independently peer reviewed.

A properly constituted ethics committee has a crucial role in overseeing the efficacy of such work and as such needs to be chaired by a eminent academic highly respected in the field of bio ethics, who has no connection with either IW NHS Trust, nor its partner, Portsmouth University Hospital.

When there is an absence of any, or all, of these prerequisite safeguards and checks, and when in a democracy a public accountable body acts in a way that prevents members of the public from scrutinising their work, one has to ask, why?

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