Fans of socialized medicine: take note of the British system (link perishable) (here's a new link, thanks to TMLutas).

A TOP brain surgeon has been suspended from work in a dispute over a bowl of soup, London's DAILY MAIL is reporting on Monday.

Terence Hope is accused of taking an extra helping at the staff canteen without paying.

The GBP 80,000-a-year neurosurgeon has been sent home on full pay from the Queen's Medical Centre in Nottingham, a teaching hospital where he is a senior lecturer as well as a consultant.

Colleagues are furious at the decision. They say patients will suffer while the NHS is deprived of a highly-skilled expert at a time when there is already a critical shortage of neurosurgeons. ...

Patients' groups were also stunned. The Trigeminal Neuralgia Association said: 'This does seem extraordinary. Any patient would be astounded.'

The waiting time for brain operations in the Nottingham region is officially 39 days for outpatients.

Outpatient brain surgery? Uh....
A report last year revealed that hundreds of doctors are left kicking their heels at home for months or even years because of bosses' incompetence at settling disputes. The National Audit Office said many cases do not even involve patient safety but are the result of personality clashes with managers.

Between April 2001 and July 2002 - the last available figures - more than 1,000 NHS doctors, nurses and other clinical staff were suspended on full pay.



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