Tough talking from GPC chairman leaves little room for laughs

The biggest laugh during the GPC chairman’s keynote speech
was for a joke about the Titanic – which doesn’t make it sound particularly

But Dr Laurence Buckman was not excited. Last year he had
been – and just a bit worried – with the potential of the White Paper due out a
few weeks after the 2010 conference.

This year he is very worried and not at all excited – in fact
he is ‘very concerned.’

Cue some of the tough-talking style that helped Dr Buckman
win the chairmanship in the first place.

The government’s reforms were cutting the legs off the NHS,
he said, and private companies would ‘show no mercy’. NHS structures were ‘already
collapsing’ before the legislation had even been passed.

He wondered whether the government was deaf or had ear-wax
problems. Either the way, the listening exercise could not be just a ‘re-spray

The quality premium idea ‘stinks’, he said, and was ‘an
appalling notion’.

And the plethora of changes running alongside the Health
Bill were given shortshrift in the colourful language we used to expect in his

The abolition of practice boundaries was a ‘barking idea’, and
also on ‘the torture horizon’ were the CQC’s registration plans for GP

Oh, and what about that Titanic joke? Talking about the large
number of GPs joining consortia, Dr Buckman said: ‘Getting into the lifeboats
is not the same as supporting the sinking of the Titanic.’

He ended, not surprisingly, with a standing ovation.




    The performance in any General Practice would be improved by “Payment for each Service” rendered.
    This was approved in 1946 by the British Medical Association representing the great majority of general Practitioners. But Aneurin Bevan then The Minister did not want that. He wanted “socialist” control. He set about coercing, bribing and “paying with gold” to change those majority views. Divide and rule and he won.

    Doctors became Salaried and “Nye” Bevan had them by the short hairs thereafter. If they did not behave then he could cut their salary, fine them, or dock their pensions.

    General Practitioners lost their once hallowed and respected status in the community and their salaries diminished by the year with devaluation of the currency and inflation. They did not notice until hard times began to bite.

    So much better to have held on to their individual professional status and just sent in their Bills to the NHS for payment. There would be general agreement on what was a fair charge and no more would be paid, and no less.

    More pay for more work. What is wrong with that? Patients would be free to take their custom to another practice if they so choose. But then they must stay there. No chopping and changing.

    The Consultants at hospital would be dependant upon the custom of the General Practitioner and so would be as obliging as they could be. The more efficient and skilful the Specialist so would his own practice grow, until perhaps he could take time off and practise part-time privately.

    If the new Minister of Health would like to make the change he would be very popular with the harder working G.P. Instant payment could be made with a small plastic “Medical Card” encrypted with all necessary and relevant computerised medical information.

    There would again be Home Visiting and calls out at night. Domiciliary Midwifery as occasion demanded and allowed, and the local chemist would have to make up prescriptions again as requested and save the NHS lots of money.

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