Tuesday, February 5, 2008

To GP or not to GP?

... or do we Polyclinic at Asda?

I can imagine the four of us going down to Asda on Saturday morning and myself saying ¨You get the sprouts Nanda ... I´m just popping into get my blood pressure taken and then a new prescription for Adalat to keep it down¨.

Unlike the queues at Asda´s check-out, I face a queue at check-in.

20 minutes later I pass the ¨till¨ although unlike Asda, the NHS is free at the point-of-entry, free at the point-of-need etc etc.

I finally see a doctor. I have never seen him before. A locum is substituting for the normal salaried doctor who is off sick.

¨Ah Mr .... Good Morning. I see you have a history of high blood pressure and that you´ve been taking Adalat ...¨, he comments turning his head briefly from the computer screen.

Oh shit ... I imagined that last paragraph. Rewrite.

¨Doctor I was too lazy and inconvenienced by my GP´s opening hours to get down there at 6 pm yesterday and get a prescription for my high blood pressure¨.

¨Let´s look up your history ...¨

As per usual NHS IT is Spineless ... he cannot access my records ... in Asda on a Saturday morning ...

¨Hmm ... (as I cannot access your records and don´t want any litigation) I would like to run some tests. But there´s no nurse here this morning so I suggest you go and see your GP on Monday or you could, of course, trundle down to A & E ...¨

I am between the ages of 18 and 60, employed and one of the 4% (the Department of Health tells me) who would like to visit a GP on a Saturday morning (sure as hell beats the fuck out of traipsing round Asda with Nanda, Kezia and Jaime!).

Bypassing on-going negotiations (which will include a ballot of members) with the doctors trade organisation, the stuffy fuddy-duddy British Medical Association (BMA) who have in principle rejected the government´s proposal that GPs provide an extra 3 hours of Out of Hours (OOH) work per week for no compensation, our Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson, ¨personally¨, wrote to every GP in the country ... and put the boot in!

Reneging on a GP contract it negotiated, accepted and signed, thinking it would be able pick up OOH through the Primary Care Trusts without providing the PCTs with any extra money, in the face of its own abject failure to provide OOH primary care, and its increasing pressure on PCTs to cost-cut by closing local A & E services, it now wants to backtrack.

The spin to brainwash Joe and Jane Public, in spite of the evidence of the Department of Health´s own surveys, started with Patricia Hewitt - a new generation of spin and confrontation has begun.

Methinks this will go to the High Court.

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