We all know that this government uses all the public services to spin their own agenda.
They have used the teachers, the police and the health service, by issuing them with mindless targets, so they can claim that they are addressing the public concerns..
This has been a disaster in case of the GPs and the health service.
In 2004 they accepted the pay settlements, the doctors union were asking for, without thinking of the consequences. They forgot that if they allowed the family doctors to opt out of, what is known as the out of hours service, who and what will replace it?
Ad not only that, but they had awarded such a huge pay rise to the doctors, that there was not much left for other things.
“They got their sums massively wrong”. A practicing GP told me. No one was going to refuse it, but there were doctors who were writing to the newspapers of this miscalculation.
Once the GPs opted out, the health authorities were searching frantically for professionals to fill this gap. Huge rewards were offered. They could make as much as 1000, per night. But there were few takers. In a county like ours, nights there were only two doctors available to attend throughout the county. Parents with young children and the elderly were the ones, who suffered most. In some cases they have to wait up to six hours, while a doctor came , sometimes as far away as Liverpool or Leeds. Mostly doctors were flown over from European countries. One Polish doctor was filmed by the BBC, while he completed an almost thirty hours shift. And the irony is that the doctors hours were cut to avoid them being over tired and making mistakes.
The government got its brownie points, but the doctor patient relationship took a nose dive, never to recover. The public were angry that they were abandoned by their doctors, in favour of more money and fewer hours. Whereas the doctors have not asked for the whopping pay rise they were given.
The government now, now wants to get its moneys worth. So they keep bombarding the practices with new targets, and more forms to fill. Each condition has targets for tests, follow ups and reviews. Conditions like blood pressure, heart disease and asthma require many man hours to keep up with the targets. Before the GP had this time to talk to their patients. Now they have a computer as a barrier between them during consultations.
Targets measure the measureable. So the doctors spend their time now filling up forms to measure them. Frustrating all concerned and eroding the doctor patient trust further.
So if you were the health chief , what will get priority?
What changes will you make/ want to the present system?
And do you think that having spent billions, are you getting a better deal now from your doctors?