Murdoch scandal uncovers one good thing

Rupert Murdoch - Caricature

Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Who would have thought it?


Amongst all the muck racking, sleaze and sheer dis-belief surrounding the investigations into News International,  my Sunday newspaper had one story showing what can be done to improve recovery for patients recovering from cancer and other conditions.

So some good might come out of this whole sorry mess;  a mess that spreads its infecting slime over all of us who write to try to give readers the truth of what is happening, and how something might impact on their lives to the good, or what is being researched in the medical world they should know about.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson had gone off to Champneys for a course of physiotherapy and exercise, to help recovery from having a pre-cancerous tumour removed from his leg.

Following surgery, he and his wife stayed at ­Champneys Medical from Monday to Friday over a period of five weeks, for physio treatment.  Cost of physio and exercise regime were paid by the police.

A statement said: “This enabled him to return to work six weeks earlier than anticipated; proving this type of treatment post-operation is an aid to recovery.

Sadly, instead of focussing on the benefits such a regime gave Sir Paul, and perhaps highlighting how ‘ordinary’ patients could copy this treatment so they, too, can return to fitness earlier, the fallout from the Murdoch scandals meant the media focussed on other issues, writing that “Britain’s most senior ­policeman ­accepted a ­freebie at a top health farm where former News International executive Neil Wallis was a PR”.

Wallis was ­arrested last week over the phone-hacking scandal which has engulfed the Murdoch media empire.

However, Scotland Yard says “Although the provision of ­accommodation was as a result of a ­family friendship, unconnected with his ­professional role, in the interests of transparency it was nonetheless ­recorded in the Commissioner’s Gifts and ­Hospitality Register on his return to work in April.”


This story shows benefits that come from an intensive course of physiotherapy and exercise – something that ‘ordinary’ cancer patients would find difficult to obtain in Britain.  Yet another way Britain’s cancer treatment falls behind that of Europe, where this type of rehabilitation is regarded as normal.

Excusing itself for the poor post-operation treatment we receive, the Dept. of Health continually bangs on with the old chestnut that we lag behind European post-cancer survital rates because we don’t get screening.  Yet the World Health Organisation says that Britain is one of the top countries for taking up screening.

Sir Paul was following the type of treatment that Europeans can expect, where many are sent off for stays at rehabilitation and medical spas, similar to Sir Paul’s.  Last time I was at Klinic Bad Sulza (a 500-bed centre specialising in rehabilitation) patients were  subjected to a strict programme to cram in everything the doctors think needs to be done to get patients back to work as quickly as possible.

Sir Paul also had  cryotherapy ­treatment – something that is becoming increasingly popular as part of European treatment.

This story shows that if you are a top executive, in public or private business life, having sensible post-operation treatment sends you back to work early.  So will the NHS learn from this story – or will others with the  potential to benefit from a  programme of constant physio and exercise be put off, because of adverse comment?

If you feel frustrated because the NHS makes you wait weeks before you can start an exercise programme post-treatment, and you would like to ‘get on with it’, and have post-or. treatment,  have a look on

Our medics constantly tell us of the benefits of exercise – but ask them to give you the same treatment as Sir Paul, or the average European, receives.  Then wait for excuses.

But most hospitals have the equipment and the staff to give patients similar treatment as that that helped Sir Paul’s recovery;  they just need the will to get on and set up courses.  But this never seems to be a priority with NHS thinking.


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