What’s worse than a politician or official without an idea? Answer: One with an idea.
As a non-unionist I didn’t admire the old unionist leader Jim Molyneaux but he had one thing in his favour. His policy was not to have a policy. There’s something to be said for that.
People with ideas can be dangerous.
It’s even worse when politicians or officials imagine they’re expected to come up with new ideas.
Last month health officials, in England came up with a scheme to pay GPs £55 for every extra patient they diagnosed with dementia.
Notice they didn’t come up with a scheme to pay GPs £55 for every extra patient they diagnosed with cancer or other illness where early diagnosis could actually make a difference.
Drugs given to dementia patients can slow progression for a time but eventually that delay is reversed and the illness gallops ahead.
In any case, I’m reliably told early diagnosis is exceptionally difficult as there is no objective test.
So, that means the only rationale for an unreliable but early diagnosis is to allow access to already scarce support services.
Still, at least it could be a nice little earner for GPs.
Now English public health officials want to go further and have middle-aged people screened by GPs for their risk of dementia.
They want people to be told how their “brain age” compares to their biological age to “scare” them into adopting a healthier lifestyle.
The problem with that is that according to a doctor, “Giving someone’s brain age in relation to their natural age doesn’t necessarily mean they are likely to develop dementia any earlier”.
Brilliant, isn’t it?
It’s enough to drive you to drink.