Weekends used to be a time for R&R. Even the Lord felt He’d earned a day off after putting in a six-day week. But such antiquated practices are on the way out in the latest NHS revamp. The Prime Minister has promised us seven-day access to our GPs for routine consultations, so seven-day access we shall have. Continue reading →
I know there’s a Lynton Crosby-decreed pre-election purdah on all matters NHS, but…
Dr Poulter: On long-term work force planning, the hon. Gentleman suggests that there is suddenly a crisis in GP recruitment—which I do not think is necessarily correct—but if the previous Government were serious about investing in general practice, they should have trained a lot more GPs than they did (Hansard, 5 Feb 2015: Column 442). Continue reading →
I saw my dear uncle recently – the only one I’ve got left.
Born in 1929, a former manager for Midland Bank (and no fan of HSBC), he proudly told me (again) about the letter he’d received from his excellent MP, Sir Richard Shepherd, congratulating him and my aunt on their diamond wedding anniversary (a family first). Continue reading →
I’ve had terminal cancer five or six times in my life, all cured by the same remedy – a swift visit to my GP. I scare myself quite easily, you see – a consequence of a very real life-threatening diagnosis I was given in my mid-20s which involved months of investigations and eight hours of major surgery. Continue reading →
If we’re all good boys and girls this Christmas, the Department of Health has some treats in store for us next year. Santa Hunt (Jeremy Claus?) is promising improved access to our GPs seven days a week, which is sure to put a smile on a lot of faces if not thousands of votes in the ballot box. That old fashioned, corner-shop style of Primary Care is just no longer fit for purpose, you see. We all now want 24/7 access to GPs like Tesco gives us to microwavable creamy carbonara. Continue reading →
Jeremy Hunt was answering Health Questions in Parliament last week, and on the matter of access to GPs he disclosed: “I took my own children to an A and E department at the weekend precisely because I did not want to wait until later on to take them to see a GP”.
Now, it may be that the Secretary of State was acting quite naturally in the best interests of his children. It would be quite wrong to pry into the personal circumstances of Mr Hunt’s visit to A&E, or to conjecture about the nature of the accident or emergency which had befallen one (or both) of his children. Continue reading →
Right across the political spectrum, there is now broad acceptance that there’s a real and truly worrying recruitment and retention crisis in General Practice. Not only are experienced GPs retiring in droves; new medical graduates are avoiding that branch of the profession like a bout of Ebola. Surgeries are starting to close because of their inability to find replacements for retiring partners, with the inevitable knock-on for surrounding surgeries who have to adopt the dispossessed and abandoned patients. Continue reading →
According to George Eaton, writing in the New Statesman, “Tories have stopped talking about the NHS” because “election strategist Lynton Crosby has warned them that it helps Labour, which has a double-digit lead on the issue”.
I’ve almost ceased caring which party “leads” on this issue: I’m now at an age when I just want a healthcare service that delivers tender mercy and dependable consistency. Continue reading →
“This week I set out new plans to improve services for patients, guaranteeing a same day GP appointment for anyone who needs one and within 48 hours or anyone who wants one. This will save hundreds of millions within the NHS by taking the pressure off hospital services and help ensure it there for the next generation as it was for ours.”
So writes Ed Miliband on this site during a local and European election campaign, when Primary Health Care has nothing to do with either, except, perhaps, the Working Time Directive, which MEPs are powerless to change. Unfortunately, Miliband makes the same silly mistakes as all the other politicians who prefer sound-bites to evidence-based policy and refuse to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors. Continue reading →
Question: “What is the Government doing to ensure there will be enough GPs in the future?”
Answer: “We’ve set up a quango.”
It’s not really an adequate response, is it? But that essentially is what Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Health, told the Bishop of Norwich last week in response to a parliamentary question. The Bishop was concerned about “the age profile of current practising GPs, their increasing role as commissioners, and the impact of the introduction of revalidation for all doctors”. The Minister played a straight bat, explaining that the Government has “set up Health Education England (HEE) to deliver a better health and healthcare workforce for England”. Continue reading →