Contrary to what the government might like us to believe, and also contrary to what the Department of Health might think General Practitioners are not the only doctors working and living in England.
This quote from the DH follows the exceptional meeting of the British Medical Association (BMA) today:
We are disappointed the BMA has decided to take this step, including now opposing elements of the Bill they previously supported, rather than work constructively with us to improve services for patients. The BMA’s own survey shows their position is not representative of many of their members, who are keen to be involved in our proposals. The reality is over 5,000 GP practices, covering two-thirds of the country, have already signed up and have started to implement plans to give patients better care.
I have a few things to say about the comment – firstly, when was it the job of the DH to comment about policy that isn’t actually law yet? Secondly it suggests that all doctors are GPs and that the BMA leadership has had the support of their membership in agreeing to the policy change. My understanding (and I am sure someone will correct me if I am wrong) is that it is because the rank and file membership of the BMA did not actually agree with the stance of the leadership that today’s meeting was held.
But of course the Bill has been published and it is progressing through parliament. No doubt this and other criticism might lead to a few tweaks of the finer details (plus a few more major changes) but essentially the GPs of England are to be the commissioners of health services and no extraordinary BMA meeting will change that.
It is my belief that even if Andrew Lansley was to be told that this policy would result in half the doctors in England resigning and a catastrophic deterioration in health outcomes he would not change his mind and alter the Bill significantly. Bloody mindedness prevails and we are on a collision course for people to line their pockets, for people to set up their own little businesses and for the dismantling of the NHS as we know it.
What is clear is that none of the health unions in this country can make a blind bit of difference to this mess at this stage; the titanic is already approaching the iceberg and those on board can only hope for a safe trip in the lifeboat to shore!