NHS plans to take pressure off hospitals by encouraging home brain surgery


For thousands of years it occurred in the comfort of one’s own home, surrounded by cherished family members and employing principles of ancient wisdom. I’m talking, of course, about ancient brain surgery, known as trephination.

Primitive cranial trephining, the surgical opening of the skull performed with primitive tools and techniques, is one of the most fascinating surgical practices in human history. It probably started in the Neolithic at least 7000 years ago.

Remarkably, it is performed yet today in parts of Africa, South America, and Melanesia.

That’s why it makes perfect sense for the NHS to take pressure off hospitals by encouraging home brain surgery.

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#333333″]There’s an unholy alliance between the NHS, desperate to save money regardless of who dies as a result, and the Royal College of Midwives, desperate to increase autonomy regardless of who dies as a result.[/pullquote]

Wait, what? The NHS is not encouraging home brain surgery? It’s not encouraging it because too many lives, including men’s lives, would be put at risk by brain surgery at home even though that’s how brain surgery was done for most of human history?

Oh, right, the NHS plans to “take pressure off hospitals” by encouraging home birth! That way the only people who will die are women and babies. That makes much more sense and is in keeping with the long time practice of the NHS to save money on the backs and through the agony of women.

According to The Daily Mail:

Officials want to encourage expectant mothers to have their babies outside hospital, either in small, midwife-led units or their own homes.

One proposal under consideration would see women offered vouchers to pay for their own private midwife for a home birth, if it could not be arranged on the NHS.

It has been put forward as part of a major review of maternity services being overseen by NHS England which is expected to report back next year.

Officials want to drive up safety and improve the overall birthing experience amid concerns that some labour wards are very understaffed.

Apparently officials of the NHS feel that it is too expensive to let UK midwives kills babies in hospitals when they could kill them cheaply at home.

1. At Morecambe Bay:

Frontline staff were responsible for “inappropriate and unsafe care” and the response to potentially fatal incidents by the trust hierarchy was “grossly deficient, with repeated failure to investigate properly and learn lessons”.

Kirkup [the author of the report] said this “lethal mix” of factors had led to 20 instances of significant or major failures of care at Furness general hospital, associated with three maternal deaths and the deaths of 16 babies at or shortly after birth.

“Different clinical care in these cases would have been expected to prevent the outcome in one maternal death and the deaths of 11 babies.


The midwives at Furness general were so cavalier they became known as “the musketeers”.

Of note, officials at Morecambe Bay attempted to short circuit investigations of the deaths and only relentless pressure by parents of babies who died ultimately led to an investigation.

2. At Royal Oldham/Greater Manchester, 7 babies and 3 mothers died in the space of 8 months:

Seven babies and three mums have died in two Greater Manchester maternity units in the space of just eight months – sparking an independent investigation.

Bosses at Royal Oldham and North Manchester General Hospitals called in outside experts to review the departments in light of the 10 tragedies …

It is understood the deaths took place between December 2013 and July last year – with four babies and two mums dying at Oldham, and three babies and one mother dying at North Manchester.

Once again, the hospitals themselves failed to investigate the deaths until a midwife anonymously reported them to the newspaper:

One Royal Oldham Hospital midwife, who contacted us anonymously … said: “It’s worse here than Morecambe Bay. It’s really bad, there have been lots of problems. Babies have died unnecessarily.”

3. At Milton Keynes:

History is repeating itself with the deaths of FIVE more newborn babies following staff failures at the hospital maternity unit…

Milton Keynes has now seen at least eight such deaths in two separate periods over the last eight years.

The latest five deaths happened over eight months between 2013 and 2014…

Most of the deaths involved staff failing to recognise or act upon warning signs of foetal distress.

All the babies were full term and previously healthy, and in each case parents claim speedier medical intervention could have saved their lives.

This is the second spate of preventable perinatal deaths:

Between 2007 and 2010 three babies had died due to midwife and doctor failures – a situation slammed as “scandalous” by coroner Tom Osborne .

As a result a CQC task force was put into the unit for a year. But in July 2013 problems recurred when staff failed to act after an unborn baby girl developed an abnormal heartbeat during labour.

The child was born with asphyxia and died two days later.

In November the same year two baby boys died shortly after they were born 24 days apart. Once again, vital clues from their deteriorating heartbeats during labour had been ignored for too long.

In all three cases the hospital admitted liability and offered a settlement – of around £20,000. The parents all refused and are now launching legal action.

Two more babies died between November 2013 and March 2014. In each case the hospital has admitted the care was “not good enough.”.

Meanwhile there is a sixth case, involving a baby boy born in January this year. An inquest will shortly decide whether failures by the hospital contributed to his death.

That’s dozens of preventable perinatal and maternal deaths in just 3 hospital systems. It may be only the tip of the iceberg.

Why has this happened?

I suspect it is because of an unholy alliance between the NHS, which is desperate to save money regardless of who dies as a result, and the Royal College of Midwives, which is desperate to increase its autonomy regardless of who dies as a result.

And I am sad to say, it reeks of gender discrimination. The NHS is trying to save money on the backs of women. They are willing to deprive them of state of the art obstetric care by replacing obstetricians with midwives, by allowing midwives to practice without appropriate oversight, and, in promoting homebirth, by letting them practice with no oversight at all.

I haven’t seen the NHS propose outsourcing to the home of any aspect of male medical care. How about home prostatectomies, or home vasectomies? Each of those procedures is far less dangerous, and far less painful than childbirth … but those procedures involve men, and apparently, the NHS believes that they shouldn’t save money by letting men suffer.

You have to credit the NHS with one achievement, though. In a masterpiece of marketing the NHS plans to take life saving services away from women and babies and pretend that allowing preventable deaths is improving “choice.” The fact is that more than 95% of women DON’T want to give birth at home. They’ve had the option for many years and they’ve rejected it.

But women, their needs, their desires, their very lives, pale when weighed against the NHS desire to save money and the RCM desire to increase autonomy.

The only issue going forward is how many babies and women are going to die as a result.