Letters

The NHS: last act of a Greek tragedy?

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7260.572/b (Published 02 September 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:572

This article has a correction. Please see:

Government that puts money into redressing inequalities is worthy of support

  1. Ruth Brown, general practice principal
  1. Lisson Grove Health Centre, London NW8 8EG
  2. Hampton Wick, Kingston upon Thames KT1 4AS
  3. Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP33 2BN

    EDITOR—How sickeningly predictable is the editor's response to more funding for the NHS.1 Having spent decades demanding more money; the journal then rubbishes the government that finally comes up with it; predicting that the much loved British institution is going to sink.

    Primary care groups were formed only last year, and fundholding unravelled at the same time. Since then, in my primary care group, we have put in place “gold standard” care for diabetes, which will reduce morbidity and mortality, and reviewed funding at practice level to ensure it is led by workload and needs. Furthermore, we are set to launch a primary care group wide programme for the management of ischaemic heart disease and asthma, which should be up and running by Christmas. This was done with no expectation of the kind of funding announced recently and was about a desire to achieve high standards for its own sake.

    I would remind the editorial board of the BMJ that the only reason that there has been criticism of this government about mortality from heart disease and cancer is because clinical outcomes have been prioritised—for decades, it was only money which mattered.

    I also remind you of the fiasco of the Tomlinson report of 1994, which pushed down bed numbers in London relentlessly despite protest from general practitioners, hospital juniors, and patients, and in the face of a 300% rise in the use of the emergency bed service. Well paid researchers and managers, who did not bear the clinical responsibility for 95% …

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