The Doctor won’t see you now

There is often a lot of misunderstanding in the public about exactly what GPs do. Who do they work for? Who do they report to? Who they are accountable to?

On top of that, there is no doubt that depending on the GP you have or indeed where you live, will depend on the quality of the care you receive. When you add into the mix cuts to the health budget, you have a potentially toxic mix which can do serious harm to the well-being of the NHS and its patients.

With this in mind, you may not be aware that Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary has ordered the Chief Inspector of General Practice to review GP services across the country and his report is due to be published soon.

This is very interesting but demonstrates the danger the Tory led government’s reforms are having on the NHS.

Why do I say this?

It’s been obvious for years that improvements have been needed in quality control from GP surgeries. In Coventry, you have some outstanding practices delivering modern state of the art care with space age equipment. But, you also have too many single handed GPs working out of turn of the last century premises who are fiercely independent and cynical about change.

So, what can be done about it?

It is a difficult issue because GPs are not employees of the NHS. They are businesses. What they actually do is merely run services on behalf of the NHS. Whilst I would love to see all GPs contracted centrally to the NHS, the system is virtually as it was (with some tweaks) when Aneurin Bevan set it up. The BMA were not happy about the whole arrangement at the time and so to quote Bevan, he ‘had to stuff their mouths with gold” to get them to cooperate. The lingering thought is that this attitude still exists in some quarters today.

That is not an argument to pay any amount again but it is an argument to say that with radical and fast paced change at a time of massive cuts in the service, this will lead to a diminution of service levels and leave patients vulnerable and at risk. With GPs in the form of Clinical Commissioning Groups controlling 60% of the overall NHS budget, they are in a very strong negotiating position to put it mildly. The patient will be in danger of losing out.

The answer?

I believe we need to make sure GPs are employees of the NHS. They would then be accountable to the tax payer and we would have some control.

Labour must continue our fight as a party to help support and if needs be, save the NHS again.


2 thoughts on “The Doctor won’t see you now

  1. I would support the idea of GP’s returning to being paid as employees of the state, but it will never happen now. Too many GP’s are making money out of their ‘ business’ and that is the problem, it is a business. However it is important to say only the Partners in a practice take profits, the salaried GP are just getting a wage and from the number I know they would love to work in a system where profit is not the main driver, then perhaps they could get more the 10 minutes to see a patient ( no wonder errors occur) Practice Managers now tell Doctors how and what to do to maximise profits. So, the majority of professional and caring GP’s out there would love some sanity back in the set up. The move to give GP consortiums control over funding was a good idea, poorly implemented. Finally let’s get some censures in place for time wasting and irresponsible patents who repeatedly DNA ( do not attend ) fine them as you would at a dentists. Restore control back to the GP so that patients do not turn up demanding treatment they have ‘ googled’ and then complaining if the Doctor has the audacity to suggest it may not be needed or appropriate. Let’s make sure Emergency appointments are used for emergencies and not as is frequently happening, patients turning up as emergency appointments for ear syringing and with a skin complaint they have had for months. Let’s stop patients ringing doctors in the middle of clinics and demanding to talk to the doctor. Doesn’t happen I hear you say. Oh yes it does and the list goes on. We need to have a regulatory and re validation process that works to weed out poor GP’s The hysteria following the Shipman case has meant a really daft and inadequate system of paper shuffling to produce a Portfolio of evidence to show competence ( much of which can be fabricated )
    The whole system needs looking at with fresh eyes. Sadly it will not happen,,successive governments will tinker and play with what was, with all it’s faults the best system of front line health care in the world,

  2. Pingback: FW: Your doctor – Rex [Jeremy Hunt has changed the rules again. He’s bringing in cuts that could see some local GP surgeries closing their doors for good.] |

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s