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RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Maggots on the NHS? What next, leeches?

The crisis in the NHS must be worse than we thought. Doctors are using live maggots to treat stubborn open wounds.

Despite the extra billions being pumped into the health service, some infections are proving resistant to modern antibiotics.

Never mind Covid, experts are now predicting that ten million people a year will die from superbugs by 2050. 

In desperation, clinicians have fallen back on a method pioneered centuries ago by aboriginal communities in Australia and South America.

The treatment, which involves using larvae to eat dead tissue, was commonly used between the two world wars, but was phased out in the 1940s.

Now it is enjoying a renaissance, with the NHS buying 9,000 bags of greenbottle blowfly maggots from a company in South Wales at a cost of between £150 and £300 a pop. 

Each contains between 50 and 400 live maggots.

I had thought about filing this under You Couldn’t Make It Up, but it is deadly serious.

Leech therapy, with evidence of its use dating back to 800 BC, is making a comeback in modern medicine

Who could have imagined that in the 21st century our ‘world-leading’ NHS would still be using medieval maggot therapy to treat patients?

What next — bloodletting? Leeches? 

Given that we keep hearing that Britain is in the grip of a mental health crisis, maybe it’s time to bring back trepanning — the ancient practice of drilling a hole in the skull to relieve pressure on the brain.

OK, so the patient on the receiving end of trepanning usually died, but think of all the money we’d save on antidepressants.

How many people currently insisting they are suffering from ‘mental health issues’ would miraculously recover if they thought that instead of prescribing Prozac, their doctor would reach for the Black & Decker!

We could slash the NHS budget, which now consumes more than 40 per cent of day-to-day Government spending, if more tried-and-tested medical treatments were reintroduced.

Hot irons for haemorrhoids, anyone? Applying animal dung to cure erectile dysfunction? A lot cheaper than Viagra, admittedly, but probably counter-productive.

Given that we keep hearing that Britain is in the grip of a mental health crisis, maybe it’s time to bring back trepanning — the ancient practice of drilling a hole in the skull to relieve pressure on the brain

Forget about gastric bands and free gym subscriptions on the NHS. The morbidly obese could be made to eat tapeworms, a popular weight-loss regime in Victorian times.

It may all sound a bit retrograde, but throwing money at the health service doesn’t seem to have worked. In some parts of the country there’s a desperate shortage of family doctors, with an average of one GP per 2,000 patients. 

In the worst-hit areas, it’s virtually impossible to book a face-to-face appointment. The crisis is compounded by many GPs opting to work just three days a week.

Maybe it’s time we started hiring Australian aborigines and South American medicine men to make up the shortfall. Better still, why bother waiting for an in-person appointment or Zoom consultation when you can cut out the middle man and cultivate your own maggots at home?

And why not? If it works, you’ll be doing yourself a favour and easing the pressure on Our Amazing NHS. But if I were you, I’d give the hot irons a miss… 

Civil servants WFH — what a Whitehall farce 

The Prime Minister ‘should insist that civil servants return to work immediately. 

It’s time to read the riot act, to do what Ronald Reagan did to the striking air traffic controllers in the 1980s. 

Any civil servant not back at work by September 1, without a doctor’s note, should be sacked. No ifs, no buts’.

I wrote that back in August. No, not a couple of months ago — but August 2020. Yet 14 months later, Whitehall is still a virtual ghost town.

Look, I’m not opposed in principle to anyone working from home, provided it can be proved that productivity and services to the public are unaffected.

But that’s patently not the case with Government agencies such as the DVLA and HMRC, where driving licences and tax rebates are being delayed for months.

The majority of civil servants are still being allowed to work from home with a Cabinet Office source saying that staff were ‘extremely concerned about the expensive commute into London’

Frankly, the civil service is taking the proverbial on an intergalactic scale. Any excuse will do.

The latest gripe is that because of the lorry driver shortage, rising food and energy bills and queues at the petrol pumps, it’s too early to expect civil servants to return to work.

Laughably, it is being claimed that the WFH brigade are actually doing taxpayers a favour by saving on the cost of having to heat offices.

A Cabinet Office source said that staff were ‘extremely concerned about the cost of their own living and expensive commute into London and a very difficult, stressful period for them coming up’.

Ah, diddums. I’ve heard it all now.

As for cost of living and expensive commute, that’s why they get an average £4,000 London weighting allowance, something they’ve kept despite not travelling in to work for the past year and a half.

‘Any civil servant not back at work by September 1, without a doctor’s note, should be sacked. No ifs, no buts.’ I wrote that back in August 2020. Yet 14 months later, Whitehall is still a virtual ghost town

Their argument might carry more weight were it not for news that business at the Civil Service Club, in Westminster, is picking up again at last.

But not during the week. A staff member told the Mail on Sunday: ‘The only time the rooms are really used are at the weekend, when members come to London to see a show or go out for dinner.’

So it’s perfectly safe for them to take in Mamma Mia! and supper at The Ivy, but far too dangerous to go back to their desks.

Ministers should check the club’s register. Anyone staying there at the weekend while WFH during the week should be fired on the spot.

Insulated against the law…

Pickets outside their own workplace are limited to six. 

It is a criminal offence to ‘block people and vehicles trying to get into the workplace, block roads near the picket line, damage property and cause or threaten a breach of the peace’.

Doesn’t that describe precisely what the Insulate Britain lunatics glueing themselves to motorways have been doing for the past few weeks, and are threatening to escalate in future?

Insulate Britain protesters at Hanger Lane blocked the A40 and North Circular junction in West London on October 4

They are stopping innocent people going about their lawful business to put pressure on the Government in pursuit of an insane grievance. 

It’s not peaceful protest, it’s anarchy. In effect, it is secondary picketing.

So why don’t the same laws which apply to the unions also apply to a bunch of deranged eco-mentalists?

American author Jonathan Franzen

American author Jonathan Franzen is miffed at being nominated for Britain’s Bad Sex In Fiction Award. 

The Literary Review said a phone sex scene in his novel Freedom came over ‘a bit Benny Hill’.

One passage, in particular, provided great hilarity by referring to a gentleman’s ‘protruding pencil of tenderness’. 

Who said romance is dead? That’s about as flattering as Donald Trump’s alleged ‘toadstool’.

Somehow you can’t imagine Otis Redding singing:

And when she’s weary,

Try a protruding pencil of tenderness . . .

Now climate change campaigners are urging us to flush our toilets with rainwater.

Next thing, they’ll be telling us to use nettles instead of paper. 

It may sting a bit at first, but at least it would save the Bog Roll Bandits a small fortune on Andrex.

The Home Office spent £6,700 in just four weeks buying hundreds of Domino’s pizzas and sun hats for migrants landing on the Kent coast. So much for getting tough.

Why stop there? Why not Kiss Me Quick hats, buckets and spades and Mivvis? 

Then, on the way to their new billet at the Margate Hilton, they could stop at the Halfway House for a couple of pints.

You never know, their coach might blow up while they’re inside, just like the Nags Head’s. 

Pizzas? Sun hats? That’s not a deterrent, it’s a Jolly Boys Outing.

A group of migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers following a small boat incident in the Channel

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