One major element which this government through successive Secretaries
of State, has willfully squandered is goodwill and once it is lost it
cannot be replaced.
New Labour showed its true colours when Alan Milburn took over the job.
For his whole tenure it seemed as though he brought out one stick after
another with which to beat doctors. CLICK
Hardly an intelligent thing to do
when the service was, at that time, totally dependent on the goodwill of
those whom he was controlling so gleefully. Such intelligent
thoughts that people might actually work for nothing were far beyond the
conception of the ever belligerent and class conscious Alan Milburn, so
he blundered on remorselessly.
GP out of hours, for instance, was virtually free of charge to the
government. I, for one, in a country practice, worked alternate nights
and alternate weekends and had done so willingly for over 20
years. That was how general practice was and we were proud
to be able to do it.
Then I began to wonder why I should be loyal to an ingrate such as
Milburn and a control freak such as Blair. Blair who had an almost
psychotic urge to "reform" whether he knew what the outcome
and consequences of his reforms would be. Indeed, whether he
had even begun to think through to the end point, as with his Iraq
Services had been passed down from the hospitals to general practice for
decades and we had cheerfully cooperated without demanding extra pay. It
was done for the good of the service and patients. despite the freezing
of pay deals and intereference with Review Body Reports by successive
But, came new Labour and Milburn and his successive colleagues, all
somewhat lacking in man-management skills, who made it painfully obvious
that breaking the profession was what they were after, and we all began
to wonder why the Hell we should continue to prop up the NHS at our own
physical and financial cost.
Enough was enough.
A demand ran through the profession that we would no longer do anything
for nothing. The negotiators were instructed to cost everything and to
ensure that it was paid for.
They did, it was and that is why doctors' pay has risen so much under
the new contract. The government is now having to pay for what, under
goodwill, it got for nothing. It costs quite a lot, doesn't it?
Journalists might like to investigate that one before running idiotic
But, still the government goes blundering on under the scarcely more
intelligent Hewitt. Off they go, setting the spin revolving claiming
doctors are overpaid; their pension contract to be unilaterally reneged
upon and pensions cut; more and more work to be dumped on primary care
(without payment - see Dr Colon Thome's thoughtless suggestion of last
week); medical education in a shambles; dangerous, if not lethal,
dumbing down of medicine as flattered but inappropriate nurses and
chemists are let loose on patients (to save money); and control
continues as demands are made by more and more NHS groups for the power
to suspend non-line-toeing doctors at a whim.
Under the present regime and political climate there is not a cat in
Hell's chance of goodwill returning with the consequence that the NHS
will continue to founder. Maybe this is what Bliar is after. This, the
most incompetent and dangerous Prime Minister, has grievously damaged
other parts of British society, after all.
This is sad, to my mind, causing the profession in self-defence to seek
payment for every task has turned medicine into a trade. Just what the
government intended. I opposed the new GP contract for that reason and i
would oppose it again but the GP negotiators are not to blame. The blame
must be squarely placed on the shoulders of government.
GPs should enjoy things whilst they can because this government will
impose more and more controls. And more and more GPs will resign,
emigrate or retire and more and more patients total care will be by
untrained non-doctors such as nurses and chemists.
The petty and childish mindsets of the prime Minister and successive
Secretaries of State is seeing to the destruction of invaluable goodwill
within the NHS with consequent damage to patient care - and the nation's
finances. Not, of course, that Prudence has a clue what he's doing there
other than raising taxes remorselessly.
The NHS needs goodwill. It was there and Blair has killed it throughout