View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Thursday 4 February

Overcast today, but not as cold as of late. The mercury is now at 6C / 43F, and any remaining ice and snow is melting fast. The difference, some 5 degrees above yesterday's high, is quite noticeable and welcome.

Locally, plans to fill in part of the Inner Harbour here in Stornoway have been rejected by the Pier and Harbour Commission. The upper part of the Inner Harbour would have been put to other use, but the P&HC have declared that the scheme would alter wave patterns, jeopardise the safety of adjacent quays and increase the likelihood of flooding. The northern part of the Inner Harbour does not look very appealing at low tide (mud).

In Cambridgeshire, a man who called for the out-of-hours service of his GP surgery was unlawfully killed by the locum doctor that turned up. The patient was administered ten times the recommended dose diamorphine for kidney stone pain and died as a result. Dr Ubani, who works at a cosmetic surgery clinic in Germany, appeared hesitant when confronted with the choice of painkillers available to him. Diamorphine (abused as heroin) is not commonly used in Germany. The inquest into Mr Gray found he had been unlawfully killed by Dr Ubani, who has since returned home. It was his first ever call-out as a locum in the UK, and he is ruled to have been incompetent. One of Mr Gray's sons, a medical doctor himself, said that checks on overseas doctors coming to work in the UK should be tightened. More details here.

My personal opinion is one of shock, that the checks currently in place are so woefully inadequate. As you all know, I am a Dutch national who has worked in the UK for a number of years. When I applied for my last job, a good command of the English language was one of the main conditions for me getting the job; after professional competence. It would appear that locum doctors are not checked on those criteria. I hope the coroner's recommendations are acted upon by the relevant authorities as a matter of urgency.