Readers who frequent the pages of the UK medical blogosphere cannot fail to have noticed the decline in blogging activity. Almost a year ago, Dr Rant posted ‘Farewell Lord Darzi’ which was a farewell post in more ways than one. Earlier this year, the sun set spectacularly on Dr Crippen, and more recently The Jobbing Doctor turned off his steady flow of posts in mid-stream. Many of those who are still posting are doing so at reduced frequency. Only L’Oréal Pal continues to post regularly, presumably because she thinks she’s worth it.
Pal, of course, is longer on the medical register – and is therefore immune to GMC sanctions. The rest of us who are still on the register will inevitably wonder from time to time whether the Stasi will one day knock on our door. Those of us who profess anonymity know only too well how thin that veil is, and how easily it can be torn aside. Even Dr No, earlier this year, was offered a holiday he couldn’t refuse.
It may of course be that as the brown-nosed politics of Nu-Labour has given way to the – for now – softer politics of coalition, bloggers have felt less prompted to vent their spleen. But Dr No doubts the silence is one of apathy. The NHS remains in as parlous a state as ever; and only last week the World Photocopying Organisation, otherwise know as WHO, was accused of faking the swine ’flu pandemic, the better to line the pockets of their pals in the pharmaceutical industry.
The other alternative is interference – sinister interference. Dr Crippen was known to be in hot water over his ME posts, and his disappearance coincided with a stiff letter of protest to The Guardian. And The Jobbing Doctor’s sudden disappearance followed soon after a briefly published post critical of a particular hospital. In both cases, not only the blogger, but their entire blog, disappeared from their home websites.
Happenstance, coincidence, or enemy action? Dr No is not sure. For now, Dr No intends to follow the ways of his esteemed colleague, Auric Goldfinger. Two disappearances are a coincidence. But if a third blog disappears in suspicious circumstances, then he will have no alternative but to conclude that the disappearances have resulted from enemy action.