Phil Whitaker, New Statesman

Phil Whitaker

New Statesman

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Past articles by Phil:

The worst of the pandemic may be past, but the NHS is struggling to recover

The total number of patients waiting for some form of investigation or specialist treatment has topped 7 million. → Read More

In the consulting room, the doctor isn’t always the one giving the reassurance

I realised that Cherry, who had recently lost both her husband and her vision, wanted me to know that she was doing OK. → Read More

I had always resisted seeing patients “virtually” but the pandemic shows it works

Most initial assessments and follow-up consultations can safely be done by phone – as long as one remains vigilant. → Read More

Why coercion is not the solution to the care-home vaccine problem

The only part of the pandemic response the Johnson government has got right has been the vaccination campaign. From the decision to establish a task force and to appoint, in Kate Bingham, a genuinely capable leader, through to the hedging of bets across a range of potential vaccine candidates, it has been a success story. This being Covid, though, a government misstep was → Read More

NHS 111 is a political project – and proof providing healthcare on the cheap only makes matters worse

Nine-year-old Ryan’s case was highlighted in red on the triage screen, demanding an urgent callback. NHS Pathways, the algorithmic software used by NHS 111, had deemed that an ambulance should be dispatched. I got through to his father, Tony. “I’m from the out-of-hours GP service,” I explained. “What’s been going on?” “Not a lot really.” Tony sounded bemused. “He was sick on → Read More

How the Indian variant threatens recovery

By refusing to adjust the roadmap is Boris Johnson repeating past mistakes? → Read More

We have now nearly eradicated polio – Covid needs the same treatment

I’ve never seen a case of polio, and it’s all thanks to immunisation. → Read More

What AstraZeneca vaccine fears reveal about our skewed sense of risk

No one gives a second thought to the dangers of driving to a vaccination centre, yet that is a far more significant risk than blood clots. → Read More

Lockdowns are the equivalent of a car airbag, and only bad drivers need to keep activating them

Why Boris Johnson’s insistence that the UK’s unlocking is “irreversible” is a risky one. → Read More

Why children and parents should understand schools cannot be completely “Covid-secure”

Measures such as testing, masks and social distancing cannot keep individuals “safe”; they simply dampen Covid-19 rates by interrupting some chains of transmission. → Read More

“Not tonight dear, I’ve got a headache” isn’t always an excuse. Sometimes it’s a real condition

Headaches provoked by sex affect about 1 per cent of people at some time. But, fortunately, the problem disappears as mysteriously as it arrives. → Read More

In the Covid-19 vaccine hub I see a dignified procession of elderly patients receiving their shot at life

None of us GPs and nurses have been thanked so often and so fulsomely. → Read More

How the mutant strain took hold

In July, scientific advisers warned of the potential for a significant Covid-19 variant to occur in the winter. But instead of preparing for the worst, the government created the ideal conditions for the virus to mutate – and thrive. → Read More

Journal of a plague year

The New Statesman’s medical columnist describes his experiences as a GP in the face of Covid-19, as a rumour grew to a distant threat and then to the remarkable challenge of a global pandemic → Read More

Repeated testing can catch prostate cancer – but it also creates a terrible dilemma

I groaned inwardly when the results of Jeremy's MRI scan came through: a couple of “indeterminate” areas. Not the definitive all clear I’d hoped for. → Read More

How life’s stresses can manifest themselves into physical symptoms

One of my patients came to realise the extent to which his emotional life was affecting his body. → Read More

How Covid-19 is still confounding doctors after six months

A study found around 100 symptoms the virus may cause, but only a dozen or so are widely recognised. At this stage, we're not ruling anything out. → Read More

Why the “low-risk population” could be the care homes scandal of the new Covid outbreak

Young people may be cavalier about coronavirus, but long Covid, a chronic, ongoing form of the disease, doesn't discriminate by age. → Read More

Calls for the "firm smack of government" show up No 10’s feeble and confused messaging

Why "the science" should not be blamed for U-turns and a woeful communications strategy. → Read More

Putin and Trump are fast-tracking vaccine trials – with potentially perilous consequences

Inflicting a defective vaccine on millions would damage the immunisation campaign, and gift ammunition to anti-vaxxers. → Read More