Goodbye 2022—Hello 2023
As many of us reflect on 2022, and as we look back on another year of chaos, fear, anxiety and emergencies, I wonder how many of us can say that we don’t know anyone who is either poorly or suddenly unwell. In my own family, it appears the majority of us—both vaccinated and unvaccinated—are sniffling, sneezing and coughing. Far from being isolated or encouraged to socially distance, test and mask up to prevent ‘the spread’, we are all being encouraged to mingle with loved ones, hug colleagues at work, and join thousands of others cramming shopping malls and events in search of Christmas gifts and festive spirit.
Does anyone actually remember those heady days of stifling a cough or a sneeze for fear of having a six-inch stick shoved up your nose and being told to stay at home until the stick stays you can leave (computer says go)? Strange how quickly we forget. Having made that small but possibly significant observation, I do hope everyone had a peaceful Christmas and enjoyed some time with family. For many, this Christmas will have been different: many tell us they are struggling to be with some of their family members, who still appear completely oblivious to the agenda that we see so clearly.
Christmas for Christians is a time to be with family, to celebrate the birth of Jesus and to be happy. For the last three years, the world has been put under a spell of fear, disruption, confusion and anxiety. The antidote to fear is faith. Faith brings happiness. It is well known that if you want to feel better and improve your health, it is not an experimental injection or tablet, it is positive emotions that can help make our lives longer, healthier and happier.
If a person is happy, their energy and optimism becomes infectious and affects the mood of others. What makes us happy? Doing good things for others, doing things you are good at, and doing things that are good for you (I don’t mean the virtue-signalling, alias false altruism, that we have become so familiar with). Those who are optimistic appear to be the happiest overall.
Allowing people to learn better encourages them to seek the company of other positive-minded people. Happiness even lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease. It can lower your blood pressure, helps you sleep better, and encourages improvement in diet. Have you noticed an increase in unhappy people around you? Are you seeing nothing but gloom and doom? Perhaps you are feeling despondent—and if that is so, congratulations! That is exactly how those in control of this evil want you to feel.
Am I being too cruel in suggesting we can do better than lick our wounds? With that navel-gazing, we are helping no one least of all ourselves. With the driving-out of fear comes happiness, and with happiness comes another most precious commodity, one my friend and colleague Alex Thomson often refers to, which is humour. Positive emotions are not what those in ‘control’ are aiming for; on the contrary.
I would like at this point to highlight Psalm 23. No matter what your beliefs or background, I believe these words will comfort many. Specifically:
Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.
Against those who are evil, banishing fear is as powerful a weapon as a silver bullet to a vampire. Evil hates kindness, happiness, humility, truth and love. Our suits of armour must contain all these elements of the panoply in order to keep us safe against the evil we are surrounded by.
Disruption has always been one of life’s challenges; however, it was always done fairly surreptitiously until recently. Those that protest loudest often have the most to hide. But watch out for the quiet ones: it is the covert disruptors acting by stealth who are those we should perhaps fear most. Brian Gerrish has been exposing the organisation Common Purpose for many years, and his trained eye has noticed a drive to employ and train/groom ‘disruptors’ or ‘change agents’. Having never heard of the term ‘change agents’ before Brian mentioned it, I decided to investigate further. What I found after just a glance was extremely disturbing—and, as you can probably guess, health and the NHS was my first stop down the very dark and deep disruptor rabbit hole.
The NHS Leadership Academy, mentioned in a recent interview Brian conducted with seasoned nurse-turned-health-consultant Duncan White, incorporates the NHS School for Change Agents. This ominously-named training facility recasts the priorities of people already employed in a health organisation who can facilitate change by providing bridges across organisations, enabling voices at all levels to be heard. It appears that their credo is that listening to people on the ground at the coalface, listening to their views and concerns, enables ‘transformation’ to be more successful. The NHS School for Change Agents markets its scheme thus:
Build the confidence needed to make change happen
Do you want to make a difference in your organisation? On this course, you will build the skills, confidence, and supportive community needed to create change in an evolving environment.
You will learn how to become a change agent by generating new ideas, pushing the boundaries, and leading others to do the same in your organisation. You will understand what drives you to create change, how to take action, and how to improve your approaches based on feedback.
By completing this course, you will discover your potential to make a difference with a community of like-minded individuals.
Change agents infiltrate every part of our modern-day society. No-one sees it, but everyone feels the effects. Look anywhere on the internet and you may be surprised at how often you see reference to ‘change agents’, but perhaps we should rename them ‘disruption agents’.
Language has been tweaked in order to confuse us. We appear to be living in the days of Babel, where subtly-altered expressions are no longer comprehensible and words have many conflicting meanings. Back in my younger days, if I said I was ‘gay’, it meant I was happy; and if I was poorly, I would say I felt ‘queer’. Today, if I said that, I would probably be marched off to a police custody suite for ‘hate speech’.
2023 is without doubt set to be a huge year. The year and era of disruption has arrived; yet we must remember that all the disruption we are currently seeing has been manufactured and has been planned with meticulous care. If we allow it to continue, it will; however, if we all say a simple no, it will stop. Often, the simplest of solutions are the most effective. If we all ditched the latest wave of technology, it would stop. If we didn’t rely on power relations and learned to rely on each other’s unique skills and knowledge, it would stop. There are more of us than there are of them—fact.
So let us look at the stories that have been hitting the headlines over the Christmas break, in case you have missed a few. Perhaps UK Column and other new media outlets have been analysing the UK Government’s corrupt data for too long—because, with us having exposed it, it would appear that the Government has decided to stop publishing all Covid modelling data. As I cast my mind back, weren’t we all told to stop our lives for a number—the ‘R’ number, short for ‘replication’? If it increased, we were all to be locked up; if it decreased, we were allowed out. Apparently we don’t need to know that number any more.
Odd, that, as all I am seeing around me at the moment is people coughing, spluttering, sneezing and complaining. Aside from the handful of paranoid hypochondriacs that any society has, there is not a mask in sight. I hear no public announcements to observe social distance or stay inside or to repeat the mantra hands, face, space. The last batch of the data was published on 23 December.
Did you read/hear of the rumour that Boris is coming back? According to his biggest fan, Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries, he is just waiting in the wings for Rishi ‘Bad Cop’ Sunak to upset more of his party before Alexander ‘Good Cop’ de Pfeffel breezes back into Downing Street and we all breathe a sigh of Johnsonian relief. Really? Anything, I guess, is possible in this dystopian, inverted, back-to-front world we appear to be living in. At the time of first draft, on 26 December, I was feeling a New Year Honour coming on—Dame Nadine Dorries, or perhaps even a baronetcy? It turned out on the day of publication that she had not been elevated in the realm—this time, at least. Arise perhaps on the King’s Birthday, Lady Nadine?
How could I write any blog without mentioning my favourite topic, the MHRA? Whilst we have all been enjoying a couple of days’ break, the MHRA has been busy approving yet another Covid jab—this time, Sanofi, with the insistence that this one shows a high immune response, as reported by Chemist and Druggist. Why am I yawning as I note this? Isn’t it just a repeat of what we have heard before every time a new injection is rolled out? Although it is the MHRA that has approved it, the chain of command now passes to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) to make a recommendation to government ministers. This is the seventh Covid vaccine to be approved in the UK.
The MHRA has also won over £900,000 funding for two projects using artificial intelligence in clinical trials. The purse-strings are held by The Regulators Pioneer Fund (who knew one of those existed in Whitehall?), which is run by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to support innovation in regulation. The aim is to introduce complex AI safely into clinical settings (how do the words AI and safety go together, I wonder?). Real patients will be replaced by synthetic datasets to create artificial control groups.
What that means, in simple terms, is that testing will stop and if the computer says yes, you get it in your arm, up your nose or down your throat. If the computer model of risk says no, you don’t. It will all be in the name of safety, of course—and to improve our health. Cost will have nothing to do with this abolition of human control groups; perish the thought.
I shall be looking forward to the January MHRA board meeting; roll up for your tickets now! After having to e-mail the MHRA to remind them that the January board meeting tickets were not available online, I have received a kind response and the website has been corrected that so that the tickets are now bookable. If you would like to join me in being a polite and reasonable public observer of the meeting, please reserve your spot here. The draft agenda, which includes patient safety, can be found at the same link.
Doctors leaving the NHS
Dare I say we warned of this too? For many months, UK Column News has been reporting an exodus of medical staff and doctors. The i Newspaper reports that two-thirds of junior doctors (postgraduate trainees) are looking to leave the NHS. From a British Medical Association survey, it appears that 79% of them often think about leaving the NHS, with 65% actively researching leaving the NHS. The BMA is currently pushing for doctors to reconsider a 2% pay rise already offered to doctors.
The reason I am highlighting this story is because I predict that more mass disruption in weeks and months to come will exacerbate the demise of an already collapsed ‘health’ service. Of course, a sick or non-existent health service cannot serve an increasingly sick population. Perhaps it is sheer coincidence that demand appears to be surging when the supply no longer exists. The net is tightening, and will continue to tighten as we move forward into 2023.
Explain why you have hired a white person, NHS employers told
Are you as shocked as I am when you read this headline from the Telegraph? Shamefully, it is my own teaching hospital, where I trained to qualify as a State Registered Nurse—the Royal Free Hospital, London—which has adopted a policy requiring interview panels to justify themselves whenever someone from an ethnic background who has been selected for the shortlist has not been appointed to the post they applied for.
If a candidate has been rejected, they are advised to write to the Chief Executive of the NHS Trust in question to ask how they were scored, why they were rejected, and why someone else was appointed. In the event that the interview panel fail to comply, that will be documented in a monthly ‘workforce race equality progress’ report on the Trust. My question is this: As a white, English, Royal Free-trained nurse, if I were shortlisted for but not appointed to a job I applied for, am I allowed to ask the same question?
Wokery within the NHS
Where else can we make savings in the NHS? How can we possibly afford to run a decent health service with well-qualified staff when our Government is handing over money to mainstream media channels advertising the NHS? This further scrimp comes under the guise of ‘Equality, Diversion and Inclusion’ (EDI). Keep an eye out for that phrase, as you will be reading and hearing it more and more. What it means in everyday language is virtue-signalling at its finest. To its credit, the Telegraph even admits as much! EDI is, as if by magic, creeping in by stealth to most areas in health, including our Blood Transfusion and Organ donor transplant service.
£8.2 million a year is spent on EDI jobs and the policy affects over half of our NHS Trusts. Diversity and Inclusion is high on the agenda for 2023—but, once again, am I, as a white English nurse with English ancestry, entitled to the same rights as those of a different colour, belief or race to me, or have I been sidetracked and am I now irrelevant in the bigger picture? I don’t believe colour, race or belief instantly qualifies anyone to be the best for a specific job. Whoever is the most experienced and qualified for the job should receive it, regardless. Or is that far too simple?
NHS targets are to go
In the ripping-up of the rulebook, the burning of NHS target figures will be the next step. According to many of the papers, including the Mirror, it seems that a review of the health service will include a scrapping of targets.
My belief is that this is an obvious way of hiding the seriousness of the situation. With many of the frontline staff of the NHS leaving or striking, it would seem that only the dead have access to any form of medical ‘care’. As seriously sick patients die waiting for an ambulance, and others end up waiting for weeks to be seen by a GP, the NHS is facing devastation through disruption (there is that word again). With a conservative estimate of over 7 million on the waiting list, set to double to 14 million, it appears that the United Kingdom has no safe healthcare to access. Perhaps we should be renamed the ‘Disunited Kingdom’?
As I ceremoniously place my latest NHS Christmas gift of a bowel cancer testing kit on the open fire, I am literally watching NHS money go up in smoke. I never asked for this ‘gift’, nor did I order it. I was never even given the opportunity to refuse it; it was simply assumed that I would comply and send it back. Perhaps that is where we are all destined to go, should we allow those in ‘control’ to have their wicked way. Not on our watch, is what I say.
Vaccine for Strep A
What a surprise, I hear you cry. Yes, I agree with you all; it was only a matter of time before there was a miraculous excuse to manufacture a ‘vaccine’ that we all know we neither need, want nor desire. The fear drive has continued over the Christmas and New Year break, with parents being urged to vaccinate their youngsters with flu mist in order to prevent them getting Strep A.
Sadly, as of the time of writing, although 24 children have died this winter, this has happened before and is not unusual. However, this year, as the fear continues to escalate, parents are flooding paediatric emergency departments and pharmacies in the search of the ever-elusive antibiotic. GPs have been forced to cancel routine appointments to deal with an unprecedented overwhelm.
A word of advice to parents. You all know your children best; you know if they are sick or seriously sick. Most children make an unremarkable recovery (that is the official medical language for a good recovery with no lasting after-effects), and only a tiny percentage go on to get seriously sick with iGAS, the invasive form of Strep A that can be fatal if not treated immediately. The signs are obvious: a sudden dramatic deterioration in the child’s condition, a limp body, a high fever or unresponsiveness. If these occur, seek emergency attention by calling 999 or your national equivalent number.
It appears that in Cornwall in the far South West of England, where I live, there has been a new, more virulent strain of Strep A. However, just how many of these are related to the administration of flu mist remains a mystery. Meanwhile, private companies watch as the NHS self-destructs, while circling like vultures to pick the bones and to profit from the misery of the NHS waiting lists.
As predicted, the USA seems to be following the same pattern as the UK, as the CDC issue a warning about a sudden increase in numbers of Strep A. For parents of children in the USA, the advice remains the same.
2023: looking ahead
To start with health, if 2022 was the year of ‘reset’, 2023 would appear to be the year of reimagining and renewal. The disruption that has lead to the destruction of every system we have been programmed to rely on will now shift up a gear into the next phase of ‘building back better’. The race is on to build a sustainable future for generations to come (and I have a bridge to sell you).
2023 will see a new era in Artificial Intelligence (watch out for a forthcoming UK Column interview conducted by Alex Thomson on the hype around AI), with many more AI applications in life sciences. Clinical trials will be transformed by AI so as to become unworthy of the name, as will our understanding of population health—mainly through surveillance, sold under the convenient euphemism of ‘tracking and tracing’, through mobile phone apps and cameras.
2023 will also set the stage for the final phases of digitisation and Big Data. Human health decisions will be made by machines, and everyday decisions relating to health will be in the hands of technology and data companies.
2023 will continue to see burnout and demographic collapse among medical staff in the West, and there will be a concerted effort to recruit healthcare professionals from all corners of the globe. A shortfall in personnel will enable the introduction of robots to replace humans in caring for the sick. To incentivise staff, flexibility of working from home at hours to suit the employee will be offered. A lack of wellbeing and mindfulness will become the new ‘pandemic’. Patients will be segregated, segmented and prioritised, with many being referred to local ‘hubs’ in their local high streets to free up hospitals, which are to become no-go zones for the hoi polloi.
2023 will see the Metaverse burgeon, starting with the captive audience of the underage. How many times have you asked others, or been asked yourself, to put away your phone because it interrupts your conversation? In the coming year, many of our youngsters will be donning headsets and propelling themselves into an unregulated free-for-all virtual reality that will eventually become their home for at least three days of the week. Alex Thomson tells me that this meta-learning is already being hailed on posters in the Brussels metro as a delightful liberation for school pupils: immersed in who knows whose world, cut off from the family members in their own home.
2023 will be a catalytic year for discussions about value. What new models can spur innovation that will enable both access and success? Hospital at home, otherwise known as ‘virtual wards’, will become the new norm. For the most vulnerable in society, personal budgets will be allocated (the Netherlands has already had a fraud disaster in this area, from which we have not learned). How many GP appointments or hospital visits will you be allowed before you have to pay up or shut up?
If you wish to look the part, you will be ‘on point’ if you don outsize denim or hot neon colours. As we are thrust into a real life Hunger Games of futuristic aesthetic, we will be going back to the 1980s for sartorial fashion.
As we see the rise in digitisation, medical devices, AI and Augmented Reality, we will witness the demise and disruption of the old normal as we are catapulted into the ‘new world’ of digital disruption, where countries will become borderless—yet only accessible to those with power and influence.
You (note that the first person is not used by the World Economic Forum as they address us) will own nothing and be happier than ever. What does this look like in reality? The right to buy will become a thing of the past, as the goods sector of the economy is replaced by services. The transition from owning to non-ownership will become more obvious during 2023. Owning a car in a couple of years’ time will be unheard-of and so boomer, as you instead sign on digitally to a plan where you can participate in a transport service. Do you want a Rolls-Royce picking you up for work tomorrow, or something a little more plebeian, such as a Ford? The private conveyance that everyone owns will soon be a thing of the past.
No-one will need to go far, as everything will be at your fingertips within a 15- or 20-minute walking distance. Smart towns and cities are here to stay, and as I type, the plans to zone us off from our neighbours and our friends is in full swing. In Oxford, already there is rebellion and resistance to plans to zone the city off, with ‘climate lockdowns’ looming as the pretext for the next phase of restrictions in our lives. With less publicity, Bath, another of our most touristy and progressive cities, was planning its own version a full year ago, and now so is Edinburgh.
As the pace of technology and social change accelerates, the art of prediction will become all the more important and significant. With 18.8 million headsets and other augmented/virtual reality devices having been shipped worldwide, the growth of this sector will be driven by public demand as it is made more affordable to consumers. Virtual reality is predicted to be worth over $28 billion by 2023, and whilst these developments will be hailed as groundbreaking, many of them will still only be accessible to the wealthy.
Surveillance, eye-tracking, facial recognition and track-and-trace will all benefit from a larger market. London is currently the most surveilled city in the whole world outside China.
Another area not to be forgotten is one I am not expert in: non-fungible tokens (NFTs). I am told the mass adoption of these will be a crucial innovation in the brave new financial world of the blockchain—a realm which the creator of the credit default swap was hyping as long as seven years ago. NFTs are unique digital assets, such as fashion items or wearables, in the Metaverse. The Dutch Supreme Court ruled nearly eleven years ago now, in a case involving teenage gamers, that to steal these digital assets is a real-world crime. In 2022, the NFT market was valued at approximately $3 billion, and its value is projected to grow to $113 billion between 2023 and 2027. Watch out for NFTs cropping up in the gaming industry in 2023, and then they will go mainstream in 2024.
There is no doubt 2023 will be a big year and a catalyst for huge changes to our lives. To change the dynamic, it will only take a tiny word to stop it all in its tracks. That word is no. I make no apologies for repeating myself in encouraging all those reading to say just that. Complying is as bad as participating in my book, and it will be those of us who are fearless, conscious and prepared to help and support others—those not yet aware of what is going on right in front of their eyes—who will matter most.
My New Year resolution this year will be to gently help just one person understand the agenda and to wake up. ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, and Rome was not built by one person, either. If we can all make it a goal and ambition for 2023 to switch one more light on in this present darkness, think how many of us there will be this time next year.
With that, I will wish you all an interesting and different New Year. Happiness is down to each and every one of us, and no matter what challenges the future holds for all of us, we still have choice. The choices may not be as appealing as years gone by, but they still exist. Choose wisely, do your own research, join your own dots and stand your ground. Have faith.
Until next year,
Then the nations around you that remain will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will do it. Ezekiel 36:36