Snippets, July 2004
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20 August 2004
ARM jiggery pokery
GPs at this year's BMA Annual representative Meeting in Llandudno were astounded when the Meeting Chairman, Dr George Rae suddenly announced, without notice that the already short, 20 minute GP Section would be guillotined.
The Section was curtailed almost immediately after the Chairman of the GPs had given his "magic and mystery" speech in which he praised his teams' efforts over the new contract. One, non-contentious debate was allowed after the Chairman's address.
There are strong suspicions that the reason for the guillotine was to prevent any public rocking of the boat over the new GP Contract.
The suspicions were heightened because the only critical motion on the printed Agenda Paper had been sidelined before the meeting and the guillotine fell immediately before two other critical motions, from the LMC Conference, could be debated. It was also well known that this writer was down to speak very critically as, presumably, were those who placed the two motions. The critical motions were never debated.
The reason the Chairman gave me for the guillotine was that "it would have been discourteous to the chairman of two other crafts if their speeches had been delayed".
It did not seem to occur to the ARM Chairman or the Agenda committee that slashing the GP section was extremely insulting to GPs. Especially when the committee had not troubled to find or advertise another clear period for continuing the Section.
It is more than interesting, I believe, that the very person who would have been criticised most, the GPC Chairman, Dr Chisholm, was the one person who would have needed to have given permission for the action.
The word "gerrymandering" has been used and it may be right.
Whatever the reason was, it was both stupid and harmful to the reputation of the BMA.
Why should doctors go to the great effort of turning up to a meeting whose chairman can slash debates and Sections at will? Why should doctors attend a meeting where the debates are carefully stage managed by the Establishment?
I have pressed this matter extremely strongly with the ARM Chairman and got precisely nowhere other than to be told that I will receive a letter from the Agenda Committee after their Autumn meeting.
I have told Dr Rae that I will have an explanation before then. The matter will be raised at the next BMA Council Meeting, one way or another.
I have asked Dr Rae to apologise to General Practitioners for the meeting's treatment of their Craft. He has ignored my request.
The correspondence goes on.
20 July, 2004
CRAP was one of the last of the late, unlamented Secretary of State, Milburn's unnecessary QUANGOs specifically designed to increase the Blairite stranglehold on the professions. It will be recalled that CRAP flexed its muscles recently by intervening to reverse several GMC disciplinary decisions. The High Court, when approached, agreed with the GMC.
Not to his credit the late chairman of the GPC, Dr John Chisholm, expressed his surprise at CRAP's interventions. Surely, by now he should have realised that this government gives itself powers which it intends to use. The back-door ending of self-regulation by CRAP was one of those powers.
is also not surprising to the alert observer that even uncontrolled,
superfluous QUANGOs must seek some justification for their existence and
the large amounts of tax-payers' money they have been given to spend.
In saying this, Chairman Wesson emphasises the lack of government confidence in professional regulation and the regulatory bodies such as the GMC. She also indicates her complete ignorance of the multitude of other QUANGOs founded with the same intent by this government.
Indicating his own contempt for "the regulators", the director of CRAP, Mr S Forrest expected CRAP's appeals against GMC decisions on the grounds of their "undue leniency" to "calm down" as CRAP and the GMC "refined their disciplinary procedures" according to recent Court decisions..
Can anybody tell us how much CRAP costs the tax-payer?
Flexing whatever muscles it has left the General Medical Council has told that virtual QUANGO, the Shipman Enquiry, to mind its own business. They have noticed that Dame Janet Smith, its Chairman, apparently full of the self-importance of the QUANGO, had decided to change the remit of her Enquiry from one of investigating the misdeeds of a single murderous doctor into one of regulating the entire medical profession.
As the GMC says "The enquiry is not in a position to form an overall assessment of the GMC or the value of professionally led regulation".
The GMC must be getting somewhat fed up with Blairite QUANGOs getting on their backs.
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