Phillip Lee featured in a thread on here earlier in the week “ Phillip Lee GP MP wins our greedy bastard of the month award” For me he epitomises all that is wrong in our society and in the world of healthcare. Never in the UK’s history, have we seen such a lack lustre bunch of incompetents, as our present government. The NHS diabetes audits, published year after year, prove no progress is being made in the fight against diabetes. Is it any wonder, with numbskulls like Phillip Lee with his hand on the tiller, of both government and healthcare.
A wake up call is on the way to Phillip Lee, the letter copied below. The writer gave us permission to publish it on this blog. How will Lee respond ? Will he respond ? In my opinion he should offer a grovelling apology and promise to do better in future. But my experience tells me, he will whimper he was misquoted and offer a slippery limp wristed response, before swiftly heading for the exit door. Time will tell.
Dear Dr Lee, MP,
I was horrified by your recent comments regarding those of us with Type 2 Diabetes. Even more so when I learned that you are a GP. As I am sure you now realise, your comments were completely misinformed and you unfairly encouraged prejudice against people with a disease – that you as a GP are supposed to support. Whilst I say I am sure you realise how wrong and misjudged your comments were, I note that there is no mention of them on your website and no retraction. Indeed there is the comment from 2007: “More than 1.5 million Britons now have Type II Diabetes. This is thought to be a direct consequence of poor choices in diet and diminishing levels of exercise.”
I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes this year at the same age as you – 42. Please don’t believe that it could not happen to you. I have never been overweight, never smoked, exercised regularly for many years and I have always been careful with what I eat. But in your misinformed comments you seem to think that I should “pay for [my] drugs at cost, in that way you would be attaching a consequence to lifestyle choice." I have found it hard to come to terms with my chronic disease – in part because of the common misrepresentation of those with Type 2 Diabetes as being fat, lazy, stupid people who don’t care for their health and who have brought the disease on themselves – a “lifestyle choice” as you call it. When I was diagnosed, people told me I must have been eating too much sugar! Please look at the images in the media that go along with your comments to see the stereotype that is out there and to see what your comments help to encourage. You are stigmatising a group of people who as a GP you should know more about.
As a GP you should know that although the understanding of Diabetes has progressed a long way in recent years and shown that it is in fact a set of many diseases with varying causes, true cause and effect is still largely not understood. It is now thought that most, if not all, of the Diabetes diseases have a genetic component. There is no evidence that eating doughnuts causes Diabetes as you imply.
Considering your argument further – because I realise you were using those of us with Type 2 Diabetes as an example – you appear to think that the NHS should be making decisions about who is ‘worthy’ to treat rather than simply treating people who are unwell. This argument is unsustainable – where does it end? With committees reviewing cases to determine whether or not individuals are worthy of being treated? If you were unfortunate enough to get hit by a car when crossing the road because you didn’t take enough care, should you pay for your own treatment? Should those who have lung cancer and have smoked be denied NHS treatment? What about someone who contracts malaria whilst on holiday? Or someone who contracts HIV/AIDS from unprotected sex?
Your primary concern appears to be the cost of the NHS. You, of course, know the implications of denying medication to those of us with Type 2 Diabetes. Without control of blood glucose, we are susceptible to complications such as heart disease, blindness, neuropathy and amputations. These complications are the true cost (both financially and in terms of impact on people) of Type 2 Diabetes. By denying medication, you will increase the level of these complications. Do you then propose that these individuals are not treated on the NHS for these complications? Your proposal would have the effect of increasing overall cost – in particular to the lives of the individuals and their families.
I understand and share your concern about the increasing burden of Diabetes on the NHS. And so I would ask you to be truly radical instead of falling back on stereotypes and poorly thought-through arguments. The NHS gives very poor advice to people with Diabetes – advice which actually exacerbates their condition. By ignoring the NHS advice and following advice from web forums such aswww.Diabetes.co.uk and www.eattoyourmeter.org and sites such as www.bloodsugar101.com I have managed to get my blood glucose under control and down to levels of those without Diabetes. This is achieved through careful management of carbohydrates in my diet and following a ketogenic diet which is high in fat. It has also had a beneficial impact on my lipid profile by dramatically reducing my triglyceride level. But the NHS advice is against this diet (and they are unable to provide evidence for their claims) and encourages those with Diabetes to eat substantial amounts of carbohydrates in a ‘healthy’ diet. The level of carbohydrates that the NHS recommends are very unhealthy for those with Diabetes and lead to the awful and debilitating (and costly!) complications. I would ask that you take a truly radical approach to Diabetes care and challenge the status quo of current NHS care which I believe leads to substantial negative impacts on individuals and increased cost for the NHS. On the above sites there are many, many examples of people who followed NHS advice to their detriment but who have managed to positively impact their health by going against NHS advice. Please take time to find out more from the sufferers of this disease.
A debate is needed on how we, as a country, are going to pay for our health in the future. But I expect MPs (and GPs) to help lead an informed debate rather than one based on prejudice and misinformation.
Yours sincerely etc
So pleased to see you are back, I see I have a lot of reading to do to catch up.
Couldn't resist making this my first.
My view is that society has been going downhill for some time. You would think that the powers that be should be the ones setting the good example. But no once again it appears that MP's are once again taking the lead role in how not to behave.
Wish I could have put this letter together. Praise to the author, his or her points are put so well and I for one are in complete agreement as I'm sure other readers are.
The question is will he respond to the letter, I hope he does it certainly warrants a decent reply. Please can I ask the originator to let us all know what the reply was, when or should it arrive.
Thank you for taking the time to do this on behalf of diabetes sufferers and their families.
I think I can best say "ditto, ditto, ditto"
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