As I write this blog the noble few, the bold and brave few, are in the High Court in London presenting arguments to Judge. There is strong legal evidence to support a finding that the Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt has been acting unlawfully. We can only wait and see. We know he has been dishonest, quoting the weekend effect as fact when it was a fiction. We know that he deceives, claiming that the seven day NHS would be better from the perspective of patient safety, whereas the opposite would be the result. The five day NHS is already full to capacity dealing with the elective issues, chronic diseases, etc. In the ‘five day’ NHS there is still complete 24/7 cover of the emergency services. But to extend the five day, elective service to seven days requires far more than just doctors. But even if it was just doctors, you would need to increase their numbers by a simple formula, but we do not actually have the figures. In each weekday how many staff are working on emergency cover? What cover do they have from the non-emergency staff? Basically to extend five days to seven days of full activity would need significant increases in staffing levels as well as other resources. It is so obvious and yet certain politicians seem to have such an amazing capacity to lie with conviction that no wonder the poor old populace believes them!

The lies and spin of successive governments are unravelling and yet we still manage to feign surprise that our politician’s should not be honest! Think about it. Politicians lie. We know they lie. They know we know they lie. We know, they know, we know, they lie.  But stop there. Perceptions and deceptions. I was talking to a professional in the financial sector recently and she was saying we are all chameleons. I misheard and thought she said we are all comedians. Both are apt.

It is difficult and it has always amazed me how slick, professional liars, get away with their devious deceptions!! The sociopaths, the industrial psychopaths. But think of it, every parent who has talked about the tooth fairy is a liar. We comfort each other, as humans, and tell each other that it is going to be alright. But we know that it is not.  Part of the human condition is that people lie. What we are concerned about, however, is the end, not the means. And if the outcome of the lie is that harm has been caused then that lie is wrong. If the outcome of the lie is that harm has been avoided, then that lie is good. If you cannot think of good lies, then try the truth.

There were no good lies shared in the inquest of Ms Leung Kwan, Zoey. A death retrospectively sanctioned by a broken system where the practice of law is used, not to deliver justice, but to obstruct justice. So the four doctors appearing at this coroner’s inquest were legally represented by the firm of Reed Smith Richards Butler (RSRB). If the current website was reviewed it would describe RSRB as having “leading corporate, commercial litigation and finance practices and recognized expertise in property, intellectual property and employment law. Opened in 1980, the Hong Kong office is one of the territories major law firms with over 100 lawyers and other fee earners.” I have added the italics as this statement draws attention to two problems. Reed Smith Richards Butler was only formed in 2011. The law firm that opened in Hong Kong in 1980 was Richards Butler. And then the statement “other fee earners”. One wonders what services were on offer! I suppose these would be a collection of specialists and consultants who would allow the firm to offer expertise in more specialised areas of the law as indicated on their website. What is certain though, is that medico-legal work is not included. One last point before moving on, on the website RSRB does not figure very prominently in this global network but they do say that the aim of the RSRB was to deliver high quality legal advice with the aim of solving legal issues, “in accordance with client’s commercial objectives”. This underlines a fluid philosophy as far as the law and justice is involved and is a desperate failing of the adversarial nature of so many attempts at dispute resolution.

I shall leave this as a short blog as things are going to get bit complicated as we pull apart the murky background of the legal side of this medico-legal issue. In 2011, RSRB was representing four doctors in a potentially very high profile case. The solicitors involved were Chris Howse, senior partner, and David Kan, partner. Things changed in 2012. A new firm opened that claimed medico-legal law as “an area of particular expertise, with two medical doctors on our team of practising lawyers”. This new firm was called Howse Williams Bowers. A founding partner being the same Chris Howse from RSRB, and David Kan, ex-RSRB, also “jumping to a new ship”.

Andrew Burd (Prof)

The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

View Full Profile